Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oklahoma Energy Secretary resigns, takes job with GE

Oklahoma Energy Secretary Michael Ming has resigned to take a job with General Electric's planned Oil and Gas Technology Center here in Oklahoma. Governor Mary Fallin appointed Ming to her cabinet in January 2011. The news comes a month after GE was given $3,000,000 from the governor's Quick Action Closing Fund to bring the company's project to Oklahoma. This is the first time Governor Fallin has used the fund.

Maybe I'm wrong, but when a large corporation is given millions of taxpayer dollars by the governor, and one of the governor's cabinet members resigns to head up the project for the company, it just doesn't sit well with me.

What do you think? Is it just me?

Oklahoma leads nation in 2000-2010 per capita state spending growth

I ran across this graphic recently, and found it to be very interesting, especially considering that the Oklahoma Legislature is in the middle of passing a $7.1 billion state budget that increases almost a quarter billion over last year's budget. As Patrick McGuigan of points out, this "will be the third straight increase in state spending since Republicans took over every part of state government in 2010."

According to Tax Foundation, "these percentages show the growth in direct spending between 2000 and 2010, in real dollars per capita (to eliminate the effects of population growth and inflation). Oklahoma leads the pack with a 74% increase in state government spending over ten years; Alaska, whose state government only grew 17% faster than its population, is at the bottom."

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Public Insight Network seeks input on immigration terminology

Which term best describes immigrants living in the U.S. illegally?

The Associated Press Stylebook and several newsrooms have dropped the term "illegal immigrant." On the AP website, a top editor clarified, "The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term 'illegal immigrant' or the use of 'illegal' to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that 'illegal' should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally."

The decision has been applauded by Latino and immigration advocates. For years, many protested the AP and other journalism organizations, including The New York Times, over usage of what they believed to be an offensive term. But journalists are left wondering, what is the proper terminology for an immigrant in the country illegally?

Do you use a specific term to describe someone with a certain immigration status? What do you think of the AP's new stance?

Public Insight Network journalists have launched a collaboration to see which terms people across the United States prefer to use. Everything you share will be read by journalists only, and your responses are confidential unless you tell us we may publish them.

Thanks to Ben Allen of KOSU for making me aware of this project.

Submit your take at this link, and view a map of responses from across the country.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

GOP State Rep. Cox given award -- by Planned Parenthood

In rather under-the-radar news, Oklahoma State Rep. Doug Cox (R-Grove) was recently given Planned Parenthood's 2013 Barry Goldwater Award*, which is given to Republican elected officials who have supported Planned Parenthood and abortion.

Dr. Cox is generally considered to be the most liberal Republican member in the State House or State Senate, and is one of the few reliable pro-abortion votes in the legislature. In fact, Cox votes against more pro-life bills than even most of the Democratic caucus. How he got elected in House District 5 (portions of Delaware and Mayes counties), I'll never know.

Fortunately, Cox is term-limited, and will thus be replaced in the 2014 election. Cox has two more years of eligibility left, and will "term out" in 2016. Let's hope that Republicans in HD5 can find a pro-life Republican to run.

Hat-tip to OK-SAFE for first posting this.

* Barry Goldwater, especially later in life, was a vocal supporter of abortion, and his wife played a key role in the early days of Planned Parenthood.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Senate Conservatives Fund picks Bridenstine for first House endorsement

In one of his most invaluable actions as a U.S. Senator, Jim DeMint, now president of the Heritage Foundation, started the Senate Conservatives Fund. While he led SCF, the Fund played extremely crucial roles in electing Senators Ted Cruz (TX), Mike Lee (UT), Rand Paul (KY), and Marco Rubio (FL). SCF is one of the top conservative PACs currently out there, and has had tremendous success at changing the dialogue in Washington through members who would not have been elected without their help.

Today, SCF stepped into new territory by branching out into U.S. House races with an endorsement of Oklahoma's own standout freshman Rep. Jim Bridenstine. Here's what SCF said on their website about Bridenstine:

SCF endorses Jim Bridenstine for U.S. House

"Today, we are endorsing U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) for the U.S. House in the 1st District of Oklahoma. This is our first endorsement for a House candidate and we hope you will help make it a success.

Please take action to promote bold leadership in Washington by making a contribution to Jim Bridenstine's campaign today.

Congressman Bridenstine has a remarkable story that every conservative in America should know.
  • Jim Bridenstine is a Navy pilot and combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and lives with his wife and their three children in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  • Jim Bridenstine defeated an establishment RINO in the Republican primary last year with no name recognition and very little money. He ran a grassroots campaign, meeting with small groups of voters in their homes to build the support he needed to win.
  • After the election, Jim Bridenstine cast his first vote against John Boehner for Speaker of the House. He knows the GOP needs stronger leadership and he had the courage to vote his conscience even though it could have cost him an important committee assignment.
  • Later, Jim Bridenstine led the fight in the House against the FY2013 "continuing resolution" — a spending bill written by Republican leaders that included funding for the implementation of Obamacare. He circulated a letter among his colleagues to build opposition to the bill and he voted against the procedural rule that brought it to the floor.
  • Now Jim Bridenstine is leading the fight against a new Internet tax, which would hurt online consumers by giving states the power to force out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes for them. It's a grossly unfair law that subjects entrepreneurs to over 9,600 different tax jurisdictions. It's being pushed by the lobbyists of large corporations to eliminate competition from small, online businesses.
Congressman Bridenstine doesn't just talk the talk. He walks the walk.

Please make a contribution to Jim Bridenstine's campaign today. Your support will help him continue to fight for conservative principles in Congress.

Supporting Jim Bridenstine is important for two primary reasons.
  • First, we need to protect him from the establishment. The Republican leadership in the House has significant power to hurt the fundraising efforts of members like Bridenstine who buck them. We can't let John Boehner (R-OH), Eric Cantor (R-VA), and Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) punish this principled leader.
  • Second, we need to elevate more conservative champions to lead the fight to save this country. Congressman Bridenstine is one of these champions. Not only has he stood strong in the House, but he also has the potential to become an outstanding candidate for the U.S. Senate when Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) retires in 2016.
SCF has fully vetted Congressman Bridenstine and he's the real deal. He supports all of our policy goals and has a record of fulfilling his campaign promises, even when it requires him to stand up to the leaders in his own party.

I recently met with Congressman Bridenstine and was extremely impressed. In many ways, he reminds me of Jim DeMint when he was first elected to the House in 1998. Bridenstine is authentic, sincere, and humble — qualities that are very hard to find in Washington these days.

Please help us reach our goal of raising $50,000 for Jim Bridenstine's campaign by making a contribution of $25, $50, $100, or more today.

When you contribute to Jim Bridenstine's campaign through SCF, he will receive 100% of your donation. That is our guarantee to our supporters and it's one the things that makes SCF unique from other political organizations.

Thank you for your support. We will keep fighting.

Matt Hoskins, SCF Executive Director"

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Steve Kern, husband of Rep. Sally Kern, to run for State Senate

Pastor Steve Kern has announced his intent to run for State Senate District 40 in next year's election, according to an article posted by the Oklahoman and confirmed by his wife, State Rep. Sally Kern (R-OKC). SD40 is currently held by Sen. Cliff Branan, who is term-limited.

As the Oklahoman article points out, if both Kern's are win their respective races next year, they would be only the second married couple to serve in the state legislature simultaneously. Dr. Kern has pastored at Olivet Baptist Church in Oklahoma City for 17 years.