Friday, April 30, 2010

House Passes Puerto Rico Resolution

Fallin co-sponsors, Cole votes 'aye'

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2499 - the "Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010" - by a
vote of 223-169. 184 Democrats and 39 Republicans voted aye, while 129 Republicans and 40 Democrats voted nay. One Democrat voted present, and 39 representatives (28 Democrats and 9 Republicans) were not present to vote.

Congressmen Dan Boren (D, OK-2), Frank Lucas (R, OK-3) and John Sullivan (R, OK-1) voted against the measure, while only Rep. Tom Cole (R, OK-4) voted in favor. Rep. Mary Fallin was a co-sponsor of the resolution, but missed the vote due to an emergency dental surgery in Oklahoma.

Her campaign issued the following statement upon request:
"Mary Fallin does not support Puerto Rican statehood and neither do the people of Puerto Rico. The bill Mary co-sponsored (HR 2499) gives the people of Puerto Rico another chance to affirm their desire NOT to be a state, rather than allowing Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the Democrat Congress to dictate to them their political future.

Here's why liberty-minded conservatives in Congress, including members like Dr. Ron Paul and GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence, are supporting this bill:

The Enabling Clause of the Constitution empowers Congress to grant statehood with a super majority, which Speaker Pelosi already has in the House and the Senate is one vote shy of. So if Speaker Pelosi woke up tomorrow and wanted to make Puerto Rico a state, she could write a bill and pass it through the House with no problem -- handing over, in all likelihood, more Democrat seats in the House and Senate. What HR 2499 does is to add an extra step that could help prevent a Democrat supermajority from doing this against the will of Americans and Puerto Ricans. Under this bill, Puerto Ricans would first have to vote on their own to become a state before Congress could grant them statehood. With the passage of HR 2499, Congress could not force Puerto Rico into statehood until it held a vote to become a state -- an outcome that is very unlikely, given that past votes on statehood have all overwhelmingly failed."

You can view the specific language of the resolution here (pdf).

The measure authorizes Puerto Rico to conduct a vote on their political status, to take place in a two-step process.

Step one would have two options:
  • "Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of political status. If you agree, mark here XX."
  • Puerto Rico should have a different political status. If you agree, mark here XX.'.
If Option 1 received a majority, the Puerto Rican Government would be authorized to conduct similar votes every eight years. If Option 2 passed, the second step of the process would ensue.

Step two would include the following voting options:
  • Independence: Puerto Rico should become fully independent from the United States. If you agree, mark here XX.
  • Sovereignty in Association with the United States: Puerto Rico and the United States should form a political association between sovereign nations that will not be subject to the Territorial Clause of the United States Constitution. If you agree, mark here XX.
  • Statehood: Puerto Rico should be admitted as a State of the Union. If you agree, mark here XX.
  • Commonwealth: Puerto Rico should continue to have its present form of political status. If you agree, mark here XX.
If Statehood won, Congress would still have to admit Puerto Rico into the Union before the Commonwealth could become our 51st State.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Gov 2.0a Conference in OKC

This is an upcoming event that I would like to recommend for anyone involved in government here in Oklahoma.

Technology Applied to Improving Government

OKLAHOMA CITY – A government of the people, by the people should be for the people, but these days government has lost the personal touch. Now government and community leaders can learn how to better serve the people by getting personal.

The 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.

The Gov 2.0a conference will feature state and local leaders who are using technology to better communicate with communities. Speakers will include Alex Pettit, Oklahoma’s first Chief Information Officer; Lt. Governor Jari Askins; Zach Nash, Oklahoma City’s Creative Director; Stephen Nolen, Shawnee Chief Information Officer; and many others.

WHO: Gov 2.0a Conference
WHAT: Bringing government and community leaders together to learn how to use technology to communicate with communities.
WHEN: May 6-7
WHERE: Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City.

For more information or to schedule interviews contact Sid at (405) 585-6060 or

Again, if you are involved in government at any level (city, county, state, or federal), or do anything with technology, or just want to be on the cutting edge of government transparency and user-friendliness, this conference is for you!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fallin Campaign Clarifies Henry "Contribution"

I asked the Mary Fallin for Governor campaign for a clarification on what Follow The Money reported as a campaign transfer from her Lt. Gov. campaign account to Gov. Brad Henry's re-election campaign.

Here is the statement from the Fallin campaign:
This is a misunderstanding. Follow the Money has mislabeled the Inaugural Ball fundraising committee as "Brad Henry." If you click on "Brad Henry" on their site (notice that it's not Henry for Governor, it's just strangely his name), you can see the top contributors are corporations (Boeing, OG & E) and they are all contributing well over the legal maximum for a candidate running for office and doing so just prior to the inaugural ball. I can assure you that Mary Fallin is not a contributor to any of Brad Henry's political campaigns. Furthermore, Mary Fallin's campaign could not legally contribute to Brad Henry's campaign.

I'm not sure why Follow The Money reported the contribution the way they did. I thought it odd that Fallin would (seemingly) contribute to Henry, and am relieved to have the clarification.

UPDATE: Follow The Money has since corrected the error. They said in a statement I obtained, that "It appears that the error happened because the paper report [that they had ordered, since the state Ethics Committee doesn't have that information online] had the cover page for his reelection committee on top of the contributions for the inaugural committee. Regardless of the cause, we will correct the error."

Did Mary Fallin Contribute to Brad Henry?

UPDATE - see this post for the clarification from the Fallin campaign

After I looked up Janet Barresi and Shawn Hime's
campaign contributions, I decided to take a look at some of the other state-wide candidates' donations. One of the things I found surprised me.

(Click for larger image)

That appears to be a transfer of $800 from then Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin's campaign account to Democrat Gov. Brad Henry's re-election campaign. *

FollowTheMoney shows the transfer as taking place in January of 2003. However, I have been unable to confirm that through the State Ethics Commission website, which does not have records from back that far still online.

* UPDATE - see this post for the clarification from the Fallin campaign - was not a contribution to Henry

UPDATE 2: Follow The Money has since corrected the error. They said in a statement I obtained, that "It appears that the error happened because the paper report [that they had ordered, since the state Ethics Committee doesn't have that information online] had the cover page for his reelection committee on top of the contributions for the inaugural committee. Regardless of the cause, we will correct the error."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Legislature Overrides Henry's Vetoes of Pro-Life Legislation

The Oklahoma Legislature has overridden Gov. Brad Henry's veto on two pieces of pro-life legislation.

The bills that were vetoed:
  • House Bill 2780, by state Rep. Lisa Billy, requires that doctors provide women information obtained from an ultrasound prior to performing an abortion.
  • House Bill 2656, by state Rep. Dan Sullivan, makes it illegal to sue a doctor claiming "wrongful birth" because the doctor failed to convince the mother to abort a child.
The House voted yesterday to override; the tally was 81-14 (HB2790) and 84-12 (HB 2656) in favor. The Senate voted this morning, with both bills receiving a vote of 36-12.
House voted 81-14 to override the governor’s veto, which was above the three-fourths vote required.

Here is how the Muskogee-area legislators voted (click for larger view).

Rep. Jerry McPeak was the ONLY local legislator to vote against the veto override. Kudos to State Reps. Mike Brown, Ed Cannaday, George Faught, Wade Rousselot and State Sen. Earl Garrison for standing up for LIFE.

A Closer Examination of Barresi's and Hime's Contributions

Yesterday, Shawn Hime blasted his opponent, Janet Barresi, for contributing to Democrat candidates. Barresi responded with a statement explaining the contributions, and her record on education issues.

Hime specifically attacked Barresi for donating to Democrats Scott Meacham, Jeff McMahan, and Sandy Garrett. A reader commented on my post, saying that Hime neglected to mention his own campaign contribution to Sandy Garrett.

In order to lay both sides' record on the table, allow me to show who gave how much to who, according to searches on the State Ethics Commission, and Democrat candidates will be underlined.

Janet Barresi's campaign contributions

11/22/1999 - $250 to State Rep. Odilia Dank (R)
8/17/2000 - $500 to U.S. Senate candidate Rick Lazio (R-New York)
1/23/2001 - $250 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
2/01/2002 - $250 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
4/29/2002 - $250 to State Treasurer candidate Robert Butkin (D)
6/27/2002 - $285 to Corp. Commission candidate Jeff Cloud (R)
7/19/2002 - $120 to Labor Commissioner candidate Brenda Reneau Wynn (R)
7/30/2002 - $250 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
6/13/2003 - $250 to U.S. Sen. Don Nickles (R)
12/09/2003 - $500 to U.S. Sen. candidate Kirk Humphreys (R)
2004 - $250 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
2004 - $250 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
1/22/2004 - $250 to U.S. Sen. candidate Kirk Humphreys (R)
9/14/2004 - $5,000 to Oklahoma State Republican Senatorial Committee (R)
12/13/2004 - $250 to Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin (R)
8/05/2005 - $2,000 to Republican State House Committee of Oklahoma (R)
2006 - $1,000 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
1/19/2006 - $1,000 to Republican Senate Victory PAC (R)
2/10/2006 - $1,000 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
2/17/2006 - $1,000 to State Rep. Susan Winchester (R)
2/21/2006 - $250 to State Treasurer candidate Scott Meacham (D)
2/28/2006 - $1,000 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
3/29/2006 - $500 to State Sen. Cliff Branan (R)
4/25/2006 - $250 to State Auditor Jeff McMahan (D)
10/06/2006 - $2,000 to Lt. Gov. candidate Todd Hiett (R)
11/01/2006 - $1,000 to State Sen. Anthony Sykes (R)
11/01/2006 - $1,000 to State Sen. candidate Mark Wofford (R)
11/06/2006 - $2,000 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
2/03/2007 - $500 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
3/31/2007 - $500 to Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani (R)
4/30/2007 - $250 to State Senate candidate Jim Reynolds (R)
4/27/2007 - $300 to National Republican Congressional Committee (R)
2/21/2007 - $500 to State Treasurer Scott Meacham (D)
8/24/2007 - $1,000 to State Rep. Lisa Billy (R)
10/25/2007 - $1,000 to State Sen. Clark Jolley (R)
12/10/2007 - $1,000 to Congressional candidate Mary Fallin (R)
1/20/2008 - $1,000 to State Rep. Lance Cargill (R)
1/30/2008 - $1,000 to State Rep. Gus Blackwell (R)
2/07/2008 - $1,000 to Republican Senate Victory PAC (R)
3/27/2008 - $1,000 to State Sen. Clark Jolley (R)
4/08/2008 - $1,000 to Republican State House Committee of Oklahoma (R)
5/16/2008 - $1,500 to State Rep. Jabar Shumate (D)*
6/06/2008 - $1,000 to Oklahoma State Republican Senatorial Committee (R)
6/13/2008 - $1,000 to Congressional candidate Mary Fallin (R)
8/14/2008 - $2,000 to Republican State House Committee of Oklahoma (R)
8/26/2008 - $1,000 to Oklahoma On The Move (R)
9/23/2008 - $1,000 to Corp. Commissioner Jeff Cloud (R)
9/23/2008 - $1,000 to State Sen. candidate Jim Halligan (R)
9/30/2008 - $5,000 to Republican National Committee
10/02/2008 - $500 to State House candidate Mike Christian (R)
10/06/2008 - $500 to State House candidate Eddie Fields (R)
10/06/2008 - $500 to State House candidate Corey Holland (R)
10/06/2008 - $500 to State House candidate Harold Wright (R)
10/08/2008 - $2,000 to Oklahoma State Republican Senatorial Committee (R)
10/26/2008 - $2,000 to Oklahoma Leadership Council (R)
11/11/2008 - $250 to National Republican Trust PAC (R)
11/17/2008 - $500 to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
7/15/2009 - $25,000 to her own campaign (R)
8/22/2009 - $195 to Cleveland County Republican Women's Club (R)
8/25/2009 - $1,000 to Oklahoma Leadership Council (R)
9/16/2009 - $500 to U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC)
9/26/2009 - $100 to Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women (R)
10/09/2009 - $2,000 to State House candidate Todd Russ (R)
10/30/2009 - $50 to Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women (R)
11/03/2009 - $1,000 to Oklahoma Leadership Council (R)
12/23/2009 - $100,000 to her own campaign (R)
2/12/2010 - $475 to Payne County Republican Party (R)
3/08/2010 - $100 to Muskogee County Republican Party (R)

* Shumate is a Democrat proponent of charter schools.

Total: $183,625 contributed

She gave $125,000 to her own campaign. Of the $58,625 left over, $8,750 was given to Democrats, and $49,875 was given to Republicans.

Shawn Hime's campaign contributions

9/09/2002 - $200 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
3/29/2004 - $100 to State Rep. Greg Piatt (R)
2/02/2006 - $100 to DA candidate Greg Mashburn (R)
3/02/2006 - $100 to DA candidate Greg Mashburn (R)
4/04/2006 - $100 to DA candidate Greg Mashburn (R)
5/02/2006 - $100 to DA candidate Greg Mashburn (R)
6/02/2006 - $100 to DA candidate Greg Mashburn (R)
7/04/2006 - $100 to DA candidate Greg Mashburn (R)
10/26/2006 - $95 to State Superintendent Sandy Garrett (D)
8/01/2007 - $100 to DA candidate Greg Mashburn (R)
2/12/2010 - $150 to Payne County Republican Party (R)

Total: $1,245

Hime gave $295 to a Democrat candidate, and $950 to Republicans.

Although Hime slammed Barresi for contributing to Sandy Garrett, he failed to mention his own contributions to Garrett. Both candidates have donated to Democrats in the past.

As you can well see, Barresi is a prolific campaign donor, and largely to Republican candidates.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Barresi Responds to Hime Letter

Janet Barresi, candidate for State Superintendent, issued the following statement after her opponent, Shawn Hime, attacked her for past donations to Democrat candidates:
Barresi Comments on Hime’s Latest Mudslinging

Janet Barresi, a charter school founder and conservative Republican running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, issued the following statement in response to a recent attack piece issued by her primary opponent, Shawn Hime.

Since the first day I announced I was running for State Superintendent, my campaign has been about one thing: improving our schools and giving all Oklahoma children a quality education.

Unfortunately, it appears my primary opponent’s only focus is on issuing negative attacks instead of explaining his vision for our schools. So far, Shawn Hime has issued two negative attacks in the past month, a sign of desperation, not leadership.

Contrary to his mudslinging, I am a lifelong conservative Republican and have been a staunch supporter of pro-life organizations and conservative Republicans – 86 percent of all my political contributions have been to Republicans and GOP organizations.

I have contributed to a handful of Democrats who (at least at the time) were supportive of education reform, particularly school choice. I have always been upfront about those contributions because I wanted to work within the system. When I saw that wasn’t possible, I announced that I was running against Sandy Garrett – before she dropped out.

During college, my late husband played football for OU and developed many lifelong friends. In 2006, one of those friends hosted a fundraiser and asked us for a contribution, so we gave $250. Frankly, like most people at that time, we knew little about Jeff McMahan and the contribution was provided solely out of personal loyalty to a longtime friend.

In comparison, Shawn Hime worked for years – on two different occasions – for the current state superintendent, Democrat Sandy Garrett. His record on education is Democrat Sandy Garrett’s record, which is probably why he prefers to issue attacks instead of talking about issues.

Unlike Hime, I am proud to campaign on my record in education. I have helped launch two charter schools in Oklahoma City, and both have been hugely successful.

One of those schools, Harding Charter Preparatory High School, was named to Newsweek magazine’s list of the best high schools in the country after only six years of operation. Last year Harding saw its first National Merit Finalist, another student named to the Academic All-State team and Harding students received $1.65 million in college scholarships. One hundred percent of our students graduated last year and 96 percent went on to college.

Their accomplishments came in spite of the fact that the majority of Harding students are from poverty level backgrounds. Twenty two percent of last year’s class were the first in their family to graduate high school, and 65 percent were the first in their families to go to college.

As you can see, I don’t believe in excuses. I achieve results. And I have no problem putting my record on education against the Garrett/Hime record anytime, anywhere.

You can view the original Hime letter here. Stay tuned, because I will be posting more information tomorrow.

Hime Slams Barresi for Donating to Democrats

A fundraising letter from Shawn Hime, Republican candidate for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, that hit mailboxes today is sure to spark a firestorm. The letter slammed his opponent, Janet Barresi, for donating to Democrat campaigns.

The text of the letter is as follows:

Do you want our party to nominate a candidate for state school superintendent with no classroom teaching experience? A candidate with no experience hiring and firing teachers?

Or -- in the case of my "Republican" opponent, Janet Barresi -- a candidate in our primary who supports convicted criminal Democrats with her own checkbook?

That's right.

My opponent, Janet Barresi, donated thousands of dollars to the Gene Stipe political machine.

These contributions are public record, available for anyone to see. But to save you the trouble of looking it up at, I'll give you a brief summary right here:
  • Donated to convicted former Auditor Jeff McMahan
  • Donated to Treasurer Scott Meacham, promoter of Oklahoma's lottery law
  • Donated to Sandy Garrett, current Superintendent of Schools
As you can see, Ms. Barresi likes to support liberal Democrats.

And we're not talking small contributions. Barresi's contributions to liberal Democrats total thousands of dollars.

The most disturbing contribution is the one she gave to Gene Stipe's lackey, Jeff McMahan, the disgraced former State Auditor who is now serving jail time for his criminal activities.

Now, after all of her support for liberal Democrats -- even one who is a convicted felon! -- Janet Barresi is running for statewide office as a Republican.

You read that correctly. Janet Barresi is actually running as a Republican, even though she's supported liberal Democrats to the tune of thousands of dollars in personal campaign contributions. If you're sick of "fake" Republicans like Janet Barresi trying to win office as conservatives, then I need your help.

As you can see, Ms. Barresi has plenty of money to throw around. In addition to giving thousands to liberal Democrats, she has given over $100,000 to her own campaign. That's $100,000 she'll spend, no doubt, trying to sell the lie that she's a real conservative who deserves to be elected.

Ms. Barresi, a dentist for the last 24 years, also will be selling the lie that she's qualified to run our schools. As the current Superintendent of Enid public schools, I have the practical experience from the classroom to the principal and superintendent's office. I've made the tough choices to balance a school district's budget. Janet Barresi has none of this experience but still claims to be our party's best choice.

I think you know better.

I don't have vast personal wealth to donate to my campaign. I'm running a grassroots campaign that relies on the support of real conservatives -- that's why I need your help.

I'm asking you to support me with a $500 contribution. Your contribution will help me fight Janet Barresi's money machine and get my message out to real conservatives.

You may not be able to give $500 right now. If you could contribute $250, $100, or even $50 it would still be a great help.

We can't afford to have any more "fake" Republicans elected to office. A Republican who donates thousands to liberal Democrats is not the kind of leader we need.

If you agree with me, then please send me your most generous contribution right away.

Than you for your support of conservative candidates. I hope I can count on that same support as well.

Shawn Hime

P.S. I need your support to get the truth out about Janet Barresi. Ms. Barresi is running for school superintendent as a Republican despite lacking education experience and despite the fact she has contributed thousands of dollars to liberal Democrats.

I'm asking you to support me with a $500 contribution.

If you can't give $500 right now, please consider contributing $250, $100, or even $50. Every dollar you contribute will help me spread my conservative message and the truth about liberal Janet Barresi.

I pulled up the State Ethics Commission website, and Hime is absolutely correct about Barresi's contributions.

Barresi gave $250 to Democrat Scott Meacham (State Treasurer) in 2006, and $500 in 2007, for a total of $750. She gave $250 to Democrat Jeff McMahan (State Auditor) in 2006. To ironically cap things off, she gave $4000 to Sandy Garrett (State Superintendent) in 2006, and another $500 in 2007 to Garrett's 2010 campaign, for a total of $4500.

Garrett opted not to run for a sixth term, and Barresi announced her candidacy to replace Garrett [correction - Barresi got in before Garrett opted for retirement]. Hime got into the race several months after Barresi.

Granted, Barresi has not solely donated to Democrats. She has contributed $29,670 to Republican candidates since 2006, as opposed to $5500 to Democrat candidates. Although it may have been a much smaller percentage, as a Republican office-seeker, it doesn't look good to have donated to Democrats (in particularly, to the incumbent that you as a candidate are bad-mouthing).

Hime's political donations are much smaller. In 2006, he contributed $600 to a Republican District Attorney candidate, and in 2007 he donated another $100 to the same candidate. Then, in February of this year, he gave $150 to the Payne County GOP.

This race has been heating up, with Hime beginning to campaign more publicly, and Barresi supporters passing around rumors about Hime. With this letter from the Hime campaign, things are sure to heat up even more.

UPDATE: More information to come tomorrow...

J.C. Watts on James Lankford

Here is text of J. C. Watts' endorsement of James Lankford, candidate for the 5th Congressional District seat being vacated by Mary Fallin.
“I personally believe this is the moment we must send someone to Congress who will represent the ideals and values of Oklahomans. James Lankford shares my Christian principles and my commitment and passion for reform in Congress. I am convinced James Lankford is cut from the same cloth as men like Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint. I trust James to go to Washington and work hard to restore wisdom, values and common sense to our government. His experience in the private sector as the director of Falls Creek (the largest Christian youth camp in America) proves he has the business leadership skills, work ethic and moral commitment needed for the task. He is uniquely qualified to lead during this critical season in our nation’s history. I am honored to endorse James Lankford in the 5th Congressional District. Please join me in supporting a fresh voice in a year when we desperately need fresh convictions concerning conservative perspectives.

Lankford is a newcomer to the political scene, but he has already created quite stir. Back in November, he stunned Oklahoma political pundits when he announced that he had over 10,000 fans on Facebook, which at the time was more than the next three Oklahoma politicians or candidates combined.

If you would like to learn more about James Lankford's candidacy, visit

James Lankford Endorsed by J.C. Watts

From the McCarville Report:
Former Congressman J. C. Watts today endorsed James Lankford in the 5th District congressional Republican primary and was named a campaign co-chairman.

Watts, now a Washington lobbyist, said Lankford is "cut from the same cloth" as Senator Tom Coburn, known as "Dr. No" for his opposition to wasteful government spending and liberal social programs.

Watts' endorsement will be viewed by many as a significant boost for political newcomer Lankford; Watts remains popular with many rank and file GOP activists likely to vote in a primary election.

Other candidates include Rep. Shane Jett, former Rep. Kevin Calvey, Rep. Mike Thompson, Dr. Johnny Roy of Edmond and Rick Flanigan of Bethany.

Mike is right - this is a huge boost for Lankford. J.C. Watts made an excellent choice for his endorsement.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Conservative View: Nausea and Political Correctness

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

Nausea and Political Correctness

I have never played the stock market because it is a place that can land you in the poor house before you know it. Those that make a lot of money in the market often do a lot of research before they invest. I have heard of people that learned of an innovative invention that some company developed, then invested in that company and made a hefty return. I guess that everything that we do in life is a gamble. We gamble on the profession that we choose to make a living or the choice we make in choosing a husband or wife. From the news headlines that I have seen over the past year or so, I think a sure fire investment would be to invest in Pepto Bismol.

It is very evident that the politically correct crowd is so afraid that the Christian religion will offend someone or some group that they must remove this vile set of beliefs from any public view. I have written about the people in Haskell County in Oklahoma who were forced to remove a monument from their courthouse lawn that had the Mayflower Compact and the Ten Commandments inscribed on it.

We Americans may have become a victim of our own success. Have we grown so arrogant that we believe that all of the greatness of this nation was a result of us being more intelligent than the rest of the world or maybe the way we parted our hair? Our founders realized for our country to prosper we needed the help of a higher power. The U.S. leaders have called for a day of prayer during times of crisis since 1775 but the tradition is under attack. Many Americans are familiar with the name Billy Graham and his organization and his work to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have spent many hours listening to Mr. Graham and I never once heard him call for violence against anyone who did not prescribe to his belief system. His message was that it is the choice of the individual to accept or reject his beliefs. Recently his son Franklin Graham was invited to speak at a Pentagon prayer service, but that invitation has been rescinded because some groups disagree with his comments about Islam. I have never heard the Grahams call someone (who didn’t believe as they do) an infidel and suggest that they be killed because of their non-belief. Can the Muslims say the same thing? For now I will just buy an extra bottle of Pepto.

If you wish to contact Russell Turner, or want to subscribe to his email loop, email him at

2nd District Candidate Ranking: 3rd Edition

The Muskogee Politico's 2nd District Candidate Ranking
Post-1st Quarter FEC Reports

With the close of the 2010 1st Quarter FEC reports, it's once again time for the Muskogee Politico 2nd District Candidate Ranking.
This is the third in the GOP candidate ranking series. The original ranking can be viewed here, with the second located here. This is not to be construed as an endorsement of a specific candidate by this blog - merely my view of the race as it currently stands.

And now, without further ado, I present the latest installment of the 2nd District Candidate Ranking from the Muskogee Politico.

1. Daniel Edmonds (prev. 2nd)

I see Daniel Edmonds as having taken the top spot this past quarter.

Public Policy Polling conducted a poll of the 2nd District race, and Edmonds came out as the best Republican when compared to incumbent Congressman Dan Boren (D). He was 16 points down to Boren, as opposed to 20 points (Thompson), 22 points (Houchen), and 27 points (Arnett). You can see more information on that poll here.

Edmonds still seems to be the candidate that can have the broadest appeal to conservative Democrats - a must for winning in this heavily Democratic district.

If this ranking was based solely on raising money, Edmonds would not be ranked first. His fundraising has been poor, a factor that has affected all candidates in this race (except Boren).

However, Edmonds looks to be getting the most bang for his buck; his campaign appears to be the most frugal and effective. He set the standard among his competitors for campaign literature, sparking the rest to get much more professional materials.

In my discussions with Republicans across the district, Edmonds gets the broadest support. That wasn't the case earlier in the campaign, but it seems to be growing steadily now, as activists and voters get to know the candidates.

Edmonds still needs to find a way to raise funds. If he can be in the lead with what little he has now, he could do much better with a good war-chest.

2. Howard Houchen (prev. 1st)

Howard Houchen, after a quick start, has seemed to cool among the Republican electorate.

The latest FEC reports show that Houchen raised slightly over $20,000 in the last quarter - a modest, but respectable sum for a challenger in circumstances like these. His showing was the highest of the Republican challengers to this point. He currently has $9,309 cash on hand - $4,000 more than the nearest Republican competitor.

Houchen is a very aggressive candidate, which will give some voters hesitation, while appealing to others. The Ron Paul/libertarian community seems to be rallying around Houchen in particular, which again, may alienate some people.

He has shown what I find to be a fairly minor lapse in judgment by joining any and every group out there that asks him to (such as Bring Home the Politicians, which aims to hold Congress from every state capitol via teleconference, as opposed to physically meeting in Washington at the Capitol). I find the group's idea to be a bad one, for many reasons.

He's also doing a bit of negative campaigning (in relation to Dan Boren) that I don't care for. It's one thing to attack a person's record, but outlandish caricatures are out of taste, in my opinion. One of the things I hear regularly about Howard is that he
consistently goes over the time allotted to him to speak at meetings - something that several other candidates also do.

On the other hand, Houchen is having the most success of the GOP candidates in raising money, even though he does seem to be burning through it pretty fast. He has run some radio ads, as well as some recent cable TV ads. It's still probably too early for any of that to be effective, and the actual ads themselves aren't the best, design-wise. But, he is the only candidate to have done either at this point.

Houchen needs to appeal to a broader group of voters, and find a way to not alienate potential supporters. He is still very much in the running for the lead. This race will remain fluid until someone emerges as the clear leader.

3. Charles Thompson
(prev. 3rd)

Charles Thompson continues to make moves, although he does not advance in this ranking. Thompson put his toe in the water back in June, dropped out a week later, and decided to get back in sometime in early September.

He filed a report with the FEC this past quarter, reporting about $15,000 raised (although almost $10,000 was in-kind donations). I do have questions about his report - some items may not follow FEC rules.

Thompson does seem to be having the most success at generating volunteers. His military background is attractive to many voters.

However, Thompson has a tendency to trot out ideas that are... ill-advised. For instance, this one on constituent contact.
He has called for, in campaign emails, the banning of Islam in the United States, as well as mandating that former Representatives live in their district for the same amount of time they represented the district - in order to live under the laws they passed. As with Houchen, Charles has a hard time keeping to time limits while speaking.

If Thompson can start to raise funds, as well as keep from making more of these mistakes, he can really start to make some waves in this race.

4. Dan Arnett
(prev. 4th)

Although Dan Arnett had some influence on this race at the very beginning (I see him as one of the reasons that Congressman Boren actually held town halls), I see his impact dwindling.

Arnett has transferred from law school in Pennsylvania to the University of Tulsa, which has helped him to be more visible across the district. However, folks that I have talked with aren't sold on supporting him with the three aforementioned candidates in the race. I don't see his support base growing in the way it is for the other candidates.

Of the Republican candidates at the time, he performed the worst in the PPP poll that took place at the end of February. As with Houchen and Thompson, Arnett has trouble staying within time limits while speaking, sometimes even speaking for twice as long as he was given.

Arnett is going to have a difficult time convincing voters to join his camp, especially since he isn't raising money or generating as much interest as the other candidates. With some 40 days left until the filing period begins, Arnett has to either make some moves, or make some tough decisions.

5. Miki Booth
(prev. not on list)

Miki Booth originally entered the race as an Independent, but decided to switch to Republican in early April. The fact that she took 7-8% of the vote as an Independent in the PPP poll probably had an impact on her decision.

Booth is most well-known for her "Birther" stance. Her position on other issues always takes second place to talking about President Obama's birth certificate, or lack thereof.

She will not be an impact on this race, and will only take single digits of the vote in July.

And that is the 3rd edition of the Muskogee Politico 2nd District Candidate Ranking. Keep an eye here for the latest news and developments for this race.

Friday, April 23, 2010

2nd District GOP To Meet Tomorrow

The 2nd Congressional District Republican Party is holding their quarterly meeting tomorrow afternoon in McAlester. Featured speakers every candidate running for statewide office, with the exception of one.

Governor: Randy Brogdon, Mary Fallin, Robert Hubbard, Roger Jackson

Lt. Gov: Todd Lamb, John Wright

Attorney General: Ryan Leonard, Scott Pruitt

Labor Commissioner: Mark Costello, Jason Reese

Treasurer: Owen Laughlin, Ken Miller

School Superintendent: Janet Barresi (will not be there), Shawn Hime

Corporation Commissioner: Dana Murphy (substitute speaking for her)

Insurance Commissioner: John Doak

The meeting will be held at the Kiamichi Technology Center, at 301 Kiamichi Drive in McAlester, from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the Republican candidates for statewide office - the GOP primary is on July 27th (94 days).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

OU Goes 1, 3, 4 and 21 in 1st Round of NFL Draft

Former OU Sooners players were hot items in the first round of the NFL Draft, which took place this evening.

Quarterback Sam Bradford was the first pick, going to the St. Louis Rams. He became the first quarterback from the Big 12 to be the first draft choice.

Number two went to Ndamukong Suh of Nebraska.

Number three was defensive tackle Gerald McCoy of OU, who went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Number four was offensive lineman Trent Williams of OU, who was chosen by the Washington Redskins.

Also picked in the first round were Russell Okung of Oklahoma State (number 6), Jermaine Gresham of OU (pick number 21), Dez Bryant of OSU (number 24), and Tim Tebow of Florida (number 25).

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Union Pacific No. 844

On April 8th, Union Pacific's last steam locomotive on the tracks, No. 844, chugged into Muskogee, and carried close to 50 passengers to Eufaula, before heading further south. State Rep. George Faught's office helped to coordinate the event.

Here are some pictures from the stop and ride.

(The conductor, my mom [Becky Faught], and UP's Clint Schelbitzki)

I was given the opportunity to ride in the locomotive on the way down to Eufaula. I took a few pictures, and some video, with my phone.

These videos were taken with my BlackBerry, and I didn't have the settings right, hence the poor quality...

I'd like to thank Clint Schelbitzki for giving me the opportunity to ride in the locomotive. It was an unforgetable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. It's so wonderful that Union Pacific has kept this historical gem on the tracks.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Independence Day, Israel

Today is the 62nd anniversary of Israel's birth as a nation, according to the Hebrew calendar (May 14th is the Gregorian/western date).

For those of you who follow me on
Twitter, you will know that I have been reading A Place Among the Nations: Israel and the World, by current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Even though the book was written in 1993, it is a fascinating read on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Reading this book has reinforced my support for the nation of Israel.

I hope you will join me in wishing Israel a happy birthday.

15 Years Later

I don't remember much from that day, since I was only five years old, but I do remember seeing pictures on television of the gaping hole left in the Murrah Building by the explosion. I also remember seeing the ruined structure with my family shortly before it was imploded in May of 1995.

If you have never been able to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial, you really ought to go see it. We recently went through it again with some friends from out-of-state, and it really is a wonderful museum.

May we never forget.

Legislators Respond To Milita Allegations

Two state legislators who have been drawn into controversy over creating a state milita. An AP story stated that "Frustrated by recent political setbacks, tea party leaders and some conservative members of the Oklahoma Legislature say they would like to create a new volunteer militia to help defend against what they believe are improper federal infringements on state sovereignty."

The article went on to further state, "Tea party movement leaders say they've discussed the idea with several supportive lawmakers and hope to get legislation next year to recognize a new volunteer force. They say the unit would not resemble militia groups that have been raided for allegedly plotting attacks on law enforcement officers."

The legislators referred to, State Rep. Charles Key (R-OKC) and State Sen. Randy Brgdon (R-Owasso) - a candidate for governor - have both issued statements regarding the article.

State Sen. Randy Brogdon:

There Already is an Oklahoma Militia
Brogdon says historical context represented as personal opinion in news reports

Recent statements of mine regarding an Oklahoma militia have been misrepresented, taken out of context and are badly misunderstood. I have stated that the formation of and participation in, an Oklahoma militia is legal based on both federal and state law.

However, remarks I made in historical context were inaccurately reported as my personal opinion. Specifically, historical speculation about the frame of mind of the Founding Fathers as they wrote the Constitution was reported as if it were my deeply held belief. Then these misrepresentations were used to distort my true beliefs, while implying that I have violent intentions.

So let me set the facts straight about my beliefs on dealing with the federal government, the role of a militia in Oklahoma, and how best to effect change in government.

Both the First and Second Amendments of the U.S. Constitution protect individual participation in a militia. Membership in such a group is a form of self-expression, so our right to free speech comes into focus. The Second Amendment states, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Our Founding Fathers were suspicious of big, centralized government. However, nobody can mistake this statement as some sort of right to insurrection.

The fact is that Oklahoma state law already establishes and provides for, an "unorganized militia" as an officially recognized part of Oklahoma military forces.

§44-41. Composition of Militia - Classes.

The Militia of the State of Oklahoma shall be divided into three (3) classes: The National Guard, the Oklahoma State Guard, and the Unorganized Militia.

23. "State military forces" means the National Guard of the state, as defined in Title 32, United States Code, the organized naval militia of the state, and any other military force organized under the Constitution and laws of the state to include the unorganized militia (the state defense force when not in a status subjecting them to exclusive jurisdiction under Chapter 47 of Title 10, United States Code).

These statutes are not part of overlooked or arcane law. The legislature has rewritten this section numerous times over decades, most recently in 2007.

So undeniably, a militia in Oklahoma is not only legal – it already exists as a matter of fact.

No, Oklahoma does not need to activate the unorganized militia. If we ever do, it certainly won't be to invade Washington, D.C. In fact, Oklahoma's unorganized militia is prohibited from operating outside the state.

I do plan to fight what I consider to be an over-reaching federal government, but I will do it with the Constitutional tools provided by the framers. For years, I have advocated adherence to the 10 th Amendment as a weapon against big government.

As a legislator for much of the last decade I have routinely proposed new law. When enough of my Senate colleagues agree with me laws are changed or enacted, peacefully. Yet, this week, some people seem convinced that I would abandon the democratic process to wage actual war on the federal government which is simply bizarre.

I was saddened that some in the anti-militia crowd can be as irrational and violent as those they condemn. As this story developed over the week, I received as many as a half-dozen death threats, not only directed at me but at my family as well. One unpleasant person said they would only be satisfied when I am swinging from a tree. Hopefully, the thought was fleeting. The threats were forwarded to the OSBI for investigation.

State Rep. Charles Key:

April 15, 2010

On Thursday April 8, 2010, Sean Murphy of the Associated Press came to my office and asked to speak about some rumors “they” had heard about militias. He said “they” had heard that there were some legislators who were considering filing legislation about ‘the militia’. He was very persistent about trying to get comments from me about militias and asked if I knew anything about that or heard anything about that. I told him unequivocally that I knew nothing about that and had not heard anyone talk about or request a legislator address this issue in any way. We then talked about state sovereignty issues and the liberal interpretation of the “Commerce Clause” in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

I was surprised to learn of the article that appeared in The Oklahoman and other media outlets on Monday, April 12, 2010 that attributed to me a statement I never made. The statement attributed to me was not in quotation marks and the interview of April 8 was not recorded to my knowledge. My office has been inundated with inquiries about this false statement.

Tuesday, April 13, Sean Murphy came by my office and asked to speak with me. He said he wanted to apologize if the article had caused me or my legislative assistant any problems. I told him that he got it terribly wrong and reminded him that I didn’t know anything about an interest and never said I was considering filing legislation related to militia. He then made a statement that stories are sometimes edited and that can alter the intent of the interviewee. He then said he wanted to get it right and asked if he could record our conversation. I agreed and we did another interview. I expected to see a corrected article to follow.

I am demanding a retraction and that the recording from the second interview be released.

Charles Key

The issue appears to have started when Al Gerhart, co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party and founder of the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, made statements to the press expressing support for starting a state-run militia, as mentioned in state statutes.

The media ran with it, and now the issue has blown into a huge brouhaha. Gerhart continues to make idiotic statements, and his Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, once a loose affiliation of more than 30 groups across the state, is now shrinking.

Gerhart does not speak for the Tea Party movement in Oklahoma, and I certainly hope that his stupid actions don't hurt the movement as a whole.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Conservative View: Who Serves Who?

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

Who Serves Who?

Over several years our elected officials have created so many agencies and departments that they are collapsing under their own weight. Like a person that has a credit card and lacks the ability to control his spending, our government has a never-ending appetite for more and more of the money that we work hard for. Over the past few years I have noticed many agencies having budget problems, often times they were created for some specific purpose to serve the people; sadly they are turning their priorities into being a fundraising organization. Often the legislature creates boards and commissions and they allow the un-elected bureaucrats too much authority to raise fees and licenses upon the people that they were supposed to help in the first place.

In the Oklahoma legislature, House Joint Resolution 1086 filed by State Representative George Faught would have protected the people of Oklahoma from a new groundwater permit fee recently adopted by the Oklahoma Water Recourses Board. The new agency rule would force rural Oklahomans to pay nearly a half million dollars in new fees. The rule would require a $50 fee for all groundwater permits, including those used for agriculture irrigation. This $50 fee would be per permit up to $500 per person and would be paid annually with an additional $50 late fee. Faught was quoted as saying, “We’ve seen a growing tendency among state agencies to do an end-run around the Legislature and fill budget holes by enacting fee increases on working Oklahomans without legislative approval. HJR 1086 would have prevented that taxation without representation during this challenging economic climate. The Legislature should not cede budget authority to unelected bureaucrats.” HJR 1086 passed the Oklahoma House, but was denied a hearing in the State Senate. The Oklahoma Farm Bureau was among those opposing the fee hike and supporting Faught’s legislation.

If you wish to contact Russell Turner, or want to subscribe to his email loop, email him at