Thursday, March 31, 2011

Romney wins '2012 GOP Primary Madness' Championship

Our 2012 GOP Primary Madness has now come to a close, and the champion 'chosen by the people' is Mitt Romney. After racking up wins (some of them very close) all the way through five rounds, Romney defeated Mike Huckabee in the final matchup with a vote of 499 (59%) to 350 (41%).

Congratulations to the victor of our 'March Madness' style contest - Mitt Romney!

Former Democrat OK Senate Leader Mike Morgan indicted for bribery, extortion, mail fraud

Late-breaking news from the Oklahoman:
Mike Morgan, a former leader of the Oklahoma Senate, has been accused in a 63-count federal indictment of accepting more than $400,000 in illegal payments from three companies while a legislator.

His attorney, David Ogle, said the indictment is politically motivated and Morgan, a Democrat, will be exonerated. The indictment became public late Wednesday.

The federal grand jury alleged Morgan conspired with Edmond lobbyist William Andrew Skeith and Oklahoma City attorney N. Martin Stringer to influence legislation on behalf of two of the companies.

Morgan, 56, is a Stillwater attorney. The illegal payments were disguised as legal fees mailed to Morgan, grand jurors alleged. Grand jurors said he was not paid further after he left the Legislature at the end of 2008.

Morgan, Skeith and Stringer are charged together with two counts of conspiracy, one count of extortion and 59 counts of mail fraud. Morgan faces an additional count of bribery.
Read more here.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2012 GOP Primary Madness Championship

Now that the Final 4 round of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness series is over, we're on to the Championship! Voting will be open through Thursday - cast your vote below.

Huckabee vs. Romney

2012 GOP Primary Madness: Final 4 Results

The Final 4 round of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness has come to a close, and here are the results (with links for more details on the voting):
After an early scare, Mitt Romney came back to defeat Michele Bachmann with 63% of the vote, to move on to the championship. Mike Huckabee staved off a late surge by Bobby Jindal, setting up a Romney versus Huckabee championship matchup. Needless to say, that will be interesting.

Voting will now begin for the Championship, and will continue through Thursday.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Jim Bridenstine forms exploratory committee to challenge John Sullivan

U.S. Congressman John Sullivan (R-Tulsa) may have already drawn his first 2012 challenger - Tulsa Republican Jim Bridenstine. After what is essentially a draft-someone-to-run-against-Sullivan campaign by a group called "True Leadership for Oklahoma", Bridenstine has announced the formation of an exploratory committee.

TULSA, Okla. - Navy pilot and former executive director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, Jim Bridenstine, has formed an exploratory committee to assess his prospects of running for the U.S. Congress in the First District of Oklahoma.  As a Republican, he would be challenging John Sullivan in the July 2012 Republican primary. “I think there is a thirst for new representation in Washington D.C.  I believe congressional service should be a temporary honor and followed by work in the private sector, the military, or some other non-elected position.  After 18 years in public office, Congressman Sullivan obviously believes differently.  My committee will help me find out what the constituents of the First District believe.”

To learn more about the Jim Bridenstine Congressional Exploratory Committee visit

About Jim Bridenstine

A triple major from Rice University and an MBA from Cornell University, Jim Bridenstine has made a career serving his country.  From flying combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan to flying with TOPGUN, Jim Bridenstine has sacrificed for our nation.  He is currently a pilot in the U.S. Navy Reserve where he flies the E-2C Hawkeye in worldwide counter-narcotics operations.  Early in his active duty career, Jim Bridenstine flew E-2C Hawkeyes off the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.  It was there that he flew combat missions and gathered most of his 1,600 flight hours and 333 carrier arrested landings.  Jim participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, Operation Southern Watch in Iraq, and Operation Shock and Awe in Iraq.  While on active duty, Jim Bridenstine transitioned to the F-18 Hornet, became a tactics instructor, and had the opportunity to fly with America's elite TOPGUN pilots.

After leaving active duty, Jim Bridenstine earned an MBA from Cornell University and returned to Tulsa to be the Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium.  He was responsible for the museum's air shows, special events, human resources, and financial management.  He created the QuikTrip Air and Rocket Racing Show and launched Tulsa's campaign to acquire one of three retiring space shuttles.  Because of his efforts, Tulsa is one of 21 locations being considered for a shuttle.

In addition to flying counter drug missions in the U.S. Navy Reserve, Jim Bridenstine is a consultant with Deloitte Consulting, LLP where he works on network centric war fighting capabilities for the Department of Defense.

Jim Bridenstine is married to Michelle (Ivory) Bridenstine.  They have two children, Walker (4), and Sarah (2).  Jim Bridenstine and his family are members of South Tulsa Baptist Church.

About the Jim Bridenstine Congressional Exploratory Committee
The Jim Bridenstine Congressional Exploratory Committee is a diverse group of citizens who believe it is time for Oklahoma's First District to have serious, responsible, conservative leadership.  As someone who has served our community and country, we believe that Jim Bridenstine has the values, discipline, and unwavering courage to be our candidate and stand up to Washington D.C.  Committee members include:

  • Committee Chairman, Gabe Sherman, VP of Marketing, Whistler Outdoor Advertising
  • Milton Hendricks, Member of the Transport Workers Union Local 514
  • Commander John Herrington, U.S. Astronaut
  • Patrick Haworth, Navy Reservist and former candidate for U.S. Congress
  • Sandy Minardi, Marketing Consultant
  • Bob Archer, Director of the Tulsa Praise Orchestra
  • Dr. Mark Cremer, Radiologist
  • Dr. Wes Black, Doctor of Dental Surgery
  • Bob Ferguson, Test Pilot for Autopilots Central Inc.
  • Randy McGlothlin, Owner of McGlothlin Accounting Services, Inc.

You can learn more about Bridenstine and his exploratory committee by visiting his website here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2012 GOP Primary Madness: Final 4

Now that the Elite 8 round of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness series is over, we're on to the ! Voting will be open through Sunday - cast your vote below.

Bachmann vs. Romney

Huckabee vs. Jindal

2012 GOP Primary Madness: Elite 8 Results

The Elite 8 round of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness has come to a close, and here are the results (with links for more details on the voting):

The most votes, by far, were cast in this round - and in the Romney/Thune matchup in particular. There were 958 votes cast in the "Minnesota Matchup" of Bachmann/Pawlenty, 3323 votes in the Romney/Thune poll, 2303 in the Huckabee/West race, and 828 in the Jindal/DeMint duel. Only five states had no votes cast in this round of Primary Madness.

Voting will now begin in the Final 4 round, and will continue through Sunday.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tim Pawlenty Forms Presidential Exploratory Committee

In a Facebook announcement this afternoon, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced that he has formed a presidential exploratory committee - the first step to announcing his candidacy for President.

'T-Paw' joins Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Buddy Roemer, Fred Karger, and Jimmy McMillan as individuals who have publicly stated their intent to run for President, or who have formed (or are in the process of forming) a presidential exploratory committee. The first presidential primary debates will begin in May.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

2012 GOP Primary Madness: Elite 8

Now that the Sweet 16 round of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness series is over, we're on to the Elite 8! Voting will be open through Wednesday - cast your vote below.

Division 'A'

Division 'B'

Division 'C'

Division 'D'

2012 GOP Primary Madness: Sweet 16 Results

The Sweet 16 round of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness has come to a close, and here are the results (with links for more details on the voting):

The number-one seed candidates all had tough races this round; Sarah Palin lost to Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney squeezed ahead of Marco Rubio to win his race, and Mike Huckabee help off Herman Cain just long enough to outlast him.

Voting will now begin in the Elite 8 round, and will continue through Wednesday.

Friday, March 18, 2011

State House passes ObamaCare implementation measure amid false claims

The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted 51-34 to pass a bill that begins the implementation of a key portion of ObamaCare - an Oklahoma health insurance exchange. HB2130 is authored by House Speaker Kris Steele (R-Shawnee) and Senate President Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa), but was run on the House floor by freshman Rep. Glen Mulready (R-Tulsa). You can listen to the entire bill presentation and debate at this link.

The measure is funded using a $54 million grant from the federal government (HHS) given as part of the implementation of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) passed by Congress almost one year ago.

Keep in mind that Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly passed SQ756 last November, which was aimed at opposing ObamaCare, and that Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state against the federal health care law.

Proponents have said over the past few months, and on the floor of the House, that this legislation was supported by the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs, and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn.

Those statements, however, were misleading, at best. State Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee) told his colleagues that he had spoken with Sen. Coburn's office, and Dr. Coburn said that he "thinks this is a bad idea to use federal dollars to implement health exchanges" -- a point that Faught and Rep. Mike Ritze (R-Broken Arrow) reiterated during debate.

On OCPA's InterAlia blog, Jason Sutton had this to say:
Following Gov. Mary Fallin’s announcement a few weeks ago that Oklahoma would accept more than $54 million in federal funds to begin implementation of a health insurance exchange, I blogged about the “concept” of health insurance exchanges as a useful idea (absent Congressional effort to change the federal tax code) in a patient-centered, free-market health system.

It is important to add, however, that OCPA has never advocated acceptance of federal funds – especially federal funds that have to be printed or borrowed − to accomplish state goals that are not a “core” function of state government.

To be clear, OCPA believes the state should not use federal dollars to implement a health insurance exchange. [...]

Health insurance exchanges are not a bad idea, but Oklahoma should not be using federal dollars to implement such an exchange − particularly when the state could build an exchange for far less with no federal strings attached.

In a Facebook discussion, Sutton also said, "I have also had discussions with Dr. Coburn's staff (and have been in ongoing discussions with the health policy experts at both Cato and Heritage for the last two months) and Coburn's position is essentially ours (and Heritage's)......that is, he thinks OK should explore all options that could lead us to a more patient centered, free-market health system ( including exchanges), but should not be using federal funds to do so."

Supporters of HB2130 cherry-picked the positions of the prominent individuals and organizations in an effort to convince enough of their colleagues to support this bill. Evidently, it worked.

It did come out during the presentation that a "secondary" reason for this measure was to comply with the PPACA legislation. In fact, Rep. Mark McCullough (R-Sapulpa) said, "It could be considered pretty darn aggressive or clever for Oklahoma to take federal money to build an exchange built in opposition to the PPACA, while simultaneously suing the feds, telling them 'we don't want this.'"  That certainly is a creative, albeit flawed, method of action.

During debate, State Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-OKC) said, "This is a clever method to deceive the voters; a way to disguise what you stand for."

Rep. Faught closed debate in opposition to the bill. "I can't believe I heard this. 'Take their money... let's sue them over it... then say we really don't want it.' Sounds like a word we ought to say: hypocrisy! Hypocrisy. [...] This money comes with strings attached." Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore) asked Faught if he agreed that Oklahoma should send the $54 million back to the federal government, and Faught replied, "I think we should throw it back in their face."

Speaker Steele said, "There's not a boogeyman in this bill."  Unfortunately, that is not the case, and enough Republican legislators were deceived into supporting HB2130. I was particularly disappointed that eleven freshmen Republicans voted for the bill, while only three voted against it.

I'll conclude with a quote from Rep. Faught's debate: "I would suggest, that this money comes with strings attached, and they may wind up and be the noose around our necks, and ultimately the future of our children."

Let's hope that the Republican members of the State Senate will put a stop to this misguided legislation.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lawmakers Vote to Ban Destructive Research on Embryos

State Rep. George Faught (R-Muskogee)

Lawmakers Vote to Ban Destructive Research on Embryos

OKLAHOMA CITY – A bipartisan majority of House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly today to make it illegal to create human embryos for destruction in experiments, and prohibit their use for research purposes.

"We value life here in Oklahoma. And it is for that very reason that I am happy to run this Americans United for Life request bill banning the destructive research on embryonic stem cells," said state Rep. George Faught, R-Muskogee. "While we in no way dispute the fact that the ability to treat or heal suffering persons is a great good, we also recognize that not all methods of achieving a desired good are morally or legally justifiable."

House Bill 1442, by Faught, creates the "Destructive Human Embryo Research Act." The proposed law would make it illegal to "intentionally or knowingly conduct destructive research on a human embryo" or to "buy, sell, receive, or otherwise transfer a human embryo with the knowledge that such embryo shall be subjected to destructive research."

The legislation states that the destruction of human embryos to obtain embryonic stem cells "raises grave moral, ethical, scientific, and medical issues that must be addressed," and that the moral justification for medical or scientific research "cannot be based upon the dehumanizing and utilitarian premise that the end justifies any means."

Faught noted that the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity has declared that "the destruction of human embryonic life is unnecessary for medical progress, as alternative methods of obtaining human stem cells and of repairing and regenerating human tissue exist and continue to be developed."

In addition to avoiding moral issues, Faught said the proposed law would prevent the unnecessary diversion of financial resources from effective alternatives.

"The embryonic stem cell fervor has blinded people to what else is available in the medical research field,” Faught said. "The focus as well as the financial resources are being diverted from the very promising field of adult stem cell research, which to date has yielded at least 73 cures or treatments, to the extremely controversial and to date unsuccessful research field of embryonic stem cells, which has generated zero results."

He noted Oklahoma has dedicated millions to adult stem cell research. In 2009, the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust committed $500,000 for a year-long planning phase for adult stem cell research funding, followed by $1 million per year funding for the following five-year implementation phase, for a total of $5.5 million.

"This issue must not be reduced to one of economics – we are proud of our medical research institutions and the medical advances that have been made," Faught said. "This bill does not take away any of those studies currently being done. Not one research dollar that is currently being spent in Oklahoma is affected by this legislation. But the devaluation of one group of human beings for the alleged benefit of others is a price we simply cannot afford to pay."

"In simple terms – this bill prohibits the destruction of a human embryo – a fertilized egg, the very earliest stage of life for the purposes of research."

House Bill 1442 passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives on an 86-8 vote. It now goes to the state Senate.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Leading Oklahoma Tea Party group leaves Gerhart's OCA

Al Gerhart, co-founder of the Oklahoma City-based Sooner Tea Party group and founder of the (formerly) state-wide Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance, is a controversial figure, even within Tea Party circles. Now it appears that his own actions have come back to bite him -- again.

Gerhart formed the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance last year, to coordinate legislative lobbying efforts among the many Tea Party groups in the state of Oklahoma. At its height, over 35 groups made up the Alliance. That's when Gerhart started a media firestorm by suggesting that Oklahoma needed to form a new state militia, and mentioned that he had talked to state legislators about it. His statements and the ensuing negative attention prompted many groups in the OCA to leave, including organizations such as the Muskogee Tea Party, and the Oklahoma chapters of Americans for Prosperity and American Majority.

Bereft of the respectability lent to the Alliance by the large groups that had left, the OCA lost a lot of steam and publicity. However, Gerhart still remained in charge, and the coalition continued to remain active throughout the 2010 election cycle (and claims sole responsibility for freshman Republican State Rep. John Bennett's defeat of Glen Bud Smithson (D-Sallisaw) - which is an absurd claim, but aside from the topic at hand).

In recent months, Gerhart has attacked members of the Oklahoma Legislature, and the State House in particular. He sent out robocalls into districts of members who voted at the beginning of session against House Rules changes that the OCA supported, and has threatened to use his coalition to take out members that oppose the OCA's legislative agenda.

On Tuesday, Gerhart and the OCA was dealt yet another big blow when Tulsa metro-based OKforTea, perhaps Oklahoma's largest and most active Tea Party group, notified Gerhart of their immediate withdrawal from the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance. Their email, signed by each of OKforTea's organizers, stated "Though OKforTEA has enjoyed being a member of the OCA and though we understand and appreciate its mission, we must withdraw from membership as of March 15, 2011. Please remove the name of our organization from the list of members and any printed materials or websites, immediately."

This action relegates the Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance to a largely Central Oklahoma organization, and one increasingly alienated by the Tea Party movement here in Oklahoma.

As evidenced by the mass exodus from Gerhart's coalition, many Tea Party leaders and conservative activists across the state view Gerhart as a liability, a loose cannon, and a radical who is hurting the Tea Party's standing in Oklahoma.

As a Tea Party organizer and former OCA member myself, let me conclude with this note: as Gerhart and his shrinking group continue to implode and lash out, please remember that they are on the extreme fringe, and do not represent the Tea Party movement, here in Oklahoma or nationally.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2012 GOP Primary Madness: Sweet 16

Now that Round 1 of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness series is over, we're on to the Sweet 16! Voting will be open through Saturday - cast your vote below.

Update: there were some issues with posting this. Hopefully, they should be fixed now!

Division 'A', Sweet 16

Division 'B', Sweet 16

Division 'C', Sweet 16

Division 'D', Sweet 16

2012 GOP Primary Madness: Round 1 Results

Round 1 of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness has come to a close, and here are the results (with links for more details on the voting):
Division 'A'
1. Sarah Palin (72%) vs. 8. Jimmy McMillan (28%)
4. Michele Bachmann (54%) vs. 5. Eric Cantor (46%)
3. Rick Perry (65%) vs. 6. Jan Brewer (35%)
2. Tim Pawlenty (58%) vs. 7. Scott Walker (42%)

Division 'B'
1. Mitt Romney (57%) vs. 8. Fred Karger (43%)
4. Donald Trump (16%) vs. 5. Marco Rubio (84%)
3. John Thune (80%) vs. 6. George Pataki (20%)
2. Mitch Daniels (53%) vs. 7. Rick Santorum (47%)

Division 'C'
1. Mike Huckabee (70%) vs. 8. Buddy Roemer (30%)
4. Herman Cain (51%) vs. 5. Paul Ryan (49%)
3. Chris Christie (67%) vs. 6. Bob McDonnell (33%)
2. Haley Barbour (33%) vs. 7. Allen West (67%)

Division 'D'
1. Newt Gingrich (43%) vs. 8. Steve King (57%)
4. Bobby Jindal (77%) vs. 5. Jon Huntsman (23%)
3. Jim DeMint (82%) vs. 6. Gary Johnson (18%)
2. Rudy Giuliani (33%) vs. 7. John Bolton (67%)

The closest race was Herman Cain vs. Paul Ryan, and was decided by merely three votes. The biggest upset was number-eight seed Steve King's defeat of number-one seeded Newt Gingrich, 57% to 43%. The largest margin of victory was Jim DeMint's 82% over Gary Johnson's 18%.

Voting in the Sweet 16 round will begin at noon today, and continue through Saturday.

Monday, March 14, 2011

House Censures Reps. Reynolds and Terrill

The Oklahoma House of Representatives voted this afternoon to publicly reprimand two members for separate incidents that took place last week.

The body voted 67-18 (7 members abstained, taking 'Constitutional privilege') to censure Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-OKC) for interrupting the Pastor of the Day on last Thursday, and 34-30 (with 30 members taking 'Constitutional privilege') to censure Rep. Randy Terrill (R-Moore) for saying very strong obscenities (FCC-fine kind of words, coupled with physical threats against the Speaker) to a staff member in the Majority Floor Leader's office.

Peter Rudy of Oklahoma Watchdog has more here.

[Reminder: the first round of our 2012 GOP Primary Madness closes tomorrow - make sure you have voted in it!]

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Weekend Roundup

Voting continues in our 2012 GOP Primary Madness - Round 1. Round 1 will continue through Tuesday, so if you haven't made your picks yet, go here. The results thus far are fairly interesting.

Pam Pollard, longtime conservative activist, announced her candidacy for OKGOP Vice-Chair yesterday. Read her official press release here.

I've added some redistricting files to Do you want to do some redistricting of your own? There are files for congressional districts, state house districts, and state senate districts. Go here to take a look.

Take a look at the blog lists on the right sidebar. I continue to update and add new Oklahoma conservative blogs. I've recently added a list of blogs authored by Oklahoma legislators.

Friday, March 11, 2011

2012 GOP Primary Madness: Round 1

(click to enlarge)'s 2012 GOP Primary Madness has officially begun! Ladies and gentlemen, voting is now open!

The polls will be open until Tuesday, March 15th. If there are any problems with the voting, please leave a comment, or email me at

Division 'A', Round 1

Division 'B', Round 1

Division 'C', Round 1

Division 'D', Round 1

Thursday, March 10, 2011

'A Day in the Life of a Government Regulated Citizen'

My FCC regulated alarm clock goes off and I reluctantly roll off of my FTC and state gov't regulated mattress. I stumble to the bathroom and turn on the DOE regulated showerhead which is what really wakes me up. In the shower, I wash my hair with my FDA regulated shampoo which conveniently has a "Drug Facts" label on the back so I know what I am putting on my head. 

After the shower I get dressed and pickup my FCC regulated cellphone and head to my DOT regulated truck. On the way to work I stop and fill the truck up with DOE regulated gasoline, which I hope doesn't contain ethanol as I really like my truck.

For the rest of A Day in the Life of a Government Regulated Citizen, written by Fort Gibson resident Steven Hill, click here.