Friday, April 29, 2016

"There, but for the grace of God, go I"

I read an article this morning about a U.S. Army sergeant who was on the brink of being discharged from the Army for interfering with an Afghan official who had been serially molesting young boys. Fortunately, military justice seems to have been prodded into good sense and the soldier will be allowed to stay in service.

I asked a veteran who served in Afghanistan how widespread this sort of behavior was there, and he said it was an everyday occurrence. Sometimes Afghan soldiers and police did it under the guise of interrogation. "Might makes right" is the norm over there.

America is an incredible place. Our founding fathers understood the nature of man as described in the Bible. They understood the depravity of man, and that man unrestrained follows the strongest impulses of his nature - pride, greed and lust.

For this reason our founders placed strict limits on the government, intended to restrain these excesses of man's nature. Yet even they understood that the form of government they gave us would only work with a moral people, a people who understood and followed the principles of the Bible.

The article reminded me of the old saying, "There, but for the grace of God, go I". Have you ever pondered how supremely fortunate you are to have been born in America? Why me? Why was I not born in some other land? Why was I not subjected to the same sort of experiences others endure?

Inscrutable are the ways of God. Romans 9:20-21 says "Nay but, oh man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?"  And in Romans 11:33 - "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"

The sovereignty of God in all things is a difficult thing to comprehend, but is a wonderful truth. We should be grateful every day for the mercy God showed in placing us where we were born and for the salvation He so freely gives, unworthy though we are.

God placed you where you are for a reason, and for reasons known only to Him. What are you doing about it?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Cruz announces Carly Fiorina as his VP pick

Cruz Chooses Carly Fiorina as Vice Presidential Running Mate

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz today announced that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina would be his Vice Presidential running mate. As a groundbreaking executive and the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 company, Fiorina brings a record of innovation and tremendous leadership to the Cruz campaign. An outsider to politics, Fiorina adds a fresh perspective to the difficult challenges America faces and has a solutions-oriented approach that is desperately needed in the federal government.

“In choosing the person I believe would honorably and faithfully serve in the office of the Vice President – the person who under our Constitution could ascend either temporarily or permanently to the presidency – there must be a higher criteria, and that criteria must be this: will that person keep the faith and trust of the American people?” Ted Cruz said. “For all the enormously impressive qualities I saw in others whom I considered for the office of the Vice Presidency of the United States, I found a clear choice:

“One who has never been afraid to stand up to the insider status quo. Who knows the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution because this leader has lived them – a life dedicated to the dignity of work, of our right to pursue our wildest aspirations – and to help others do the same. And a leader who understands that power never has and never will come from the government – here in the United States it comes from the people.

“Who respects the people, who has worked alongside them, and who will serve them with an unbreakable purpose of protecting every one of their rights – and making sure that the America we hand to our kids and grandkids is better than the one before us today.

“For the 13 months of this race, there has been a proven, consistent, courageous fighter. A fighter who terrifies Hillary. And who will do the same to our enemies. And that’s why I am proud to announce Carly Fiorina as my Vice Presidential running mate.”

“Ted Cruz is a constitutional conservative who has made enemies in both parties standing up to the bipartisan corruption in Washington,” said Carly Fiorina. “He has fought to change the system. He kept his word to the people of Texas, and I know, if elected, he will keep his word and bring back American jobs, defend our nation, and protect our constitutional freedoms.

“Make no mistake: this is a fight now. Ted and I can't do this without your help. And this is about all of us. It's about whether we want our kids to be able to get a good paying job when they get out of school. It's about whether we want to turn our backs on religious liberty and our second amendment. It's about whether we want to live in a nation that secures its borders and calls Islamic terrorism by its name. It is about whether we believe America must lead again in the world.

“This is why we fight. Join us. And let's elect Ted Cruz the next President of the United States.”

Monday, April 25, 2016

Muskogee DA Drops Forfeiture Case Against Christian Orphanage, Church, and Band

Muskogee, Okla.—This afternoon, Muskogee, Oklahoma, District Attorney Orvil Loge indicated that his office was officially dropping all charges against Eh Wah, a Burmese refugee he had charged with possession of drug proceeds [background stories from the Institute for Justice and the Washington Post]. He also indicated that he would drop the civil forfeiture and immediately return the money Muskogee law enforcement officials took from a group of Karen Christian refugees from Burma and Thailand. The announcement comes less than a day after the Institute for Justice announced that it was representing the innocent owners in the case.

Following the announcement, Institute for Justice (IJ) Attorney Dan Alban issued the following statement:
“We are thrilled that District Attorney Loge has dropped the criminal case against Eh Wah and offered to return the money to the band, the church and the orphanage. The intense public scrutiny generated by this outrageous case led to justice being served. Unfortunately, civil forfeiture laws allows property to be seized from innocent people every day in this country. The law allows this to occur and most people do not have the media or pro bono counsel to fight it. Absent the extraordinary circumstances of this case, that property is almost always forfeited and lost for good, even if no one is charged with or convicted of a crime.”

“Muskogee has no excuse for this gross miscarriage of justice. Based on next to no evidence, what started as an ordinary traffic stop turned into a nightmare. They turned a man’s entire life upside down. It should have never come to this. This is a clear-cut case of abuse of power.”

“Not every civil forfeiture victim is a Christian orphanage or a world-renowned Burmese Christian band, but when even their money isn’t safe, no one’s money is safe from forfeiture abuse. This case illustrates that civil forfeiture laws are fundamentally unjust.”
IJ Senior Attorney Matt Miller added:
“Earlier this year, Oklahoma rejected a bill that would have reformed the state’s civil forfeiture laws to better protect property owners after law enforcement claimed that there was no evidence the law was being abused. This case shows that no one’s property is safe from a forfeiture system that incentivizes police to take as much cash and property as possible while making it difficult for owners of that property to fight back. Civil forfeiture needs to end, or be radically reformed. It cannot come soon enough.”
Finally, Eh Wah added:
“This was an experience that no one should ever have to live through. It felt like something that would happen in a third-world country, but not in the United States. I’m just so happy that this is over and I hope that no one else will have to go through something like this.”
          *          *          *          *          *

It's amazing how quickly justice can move when enough attention is brought to bear. It certainly makes you wonder about similar situations where money is wrongly seized, but this type of ending doesn't occur. Kudos to the Washington Post and others for shining light on this, and bringing this outcome to pass.

Mike McCarville (the "elder statesman" of Oklahoma's conservative blogosphere) has been beating the drum for quite some time now on changing Oklahoma's civil asset forfeiture laws. It's a shame that powers-that-be in the state legislature stopped State Sen. Kyle Loveless' attempts to bring much-needed reform to this issue.

Music Monday: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor

This week's Music Monday is Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.


Here is another video of the song with an animated score, illustrating the complexity of the piece:

Click here to see previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Carly Fiorina to headline OKGOP Gala Dinner

Carly Fiorina to Headline Oklahoma Republican Party Gala Dinner

(Oklahoma City)—Business leader and former Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina will be the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Republican Party’s annual Gala dinner on May 13, 2016. The event precedes the Party’s state convention which will be held the next day.

“I’m extremely excited to have a conservative leader like Mrs. Fiorina headline this great event,” said Pam Pollard, Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party. “Mrs. Fiorina’s ideas about how to reform Washington and get our economy moving again are exactly what Oklahomans talk to me about every day. We’re really thrilled she’s going to be our keynote speaker.”

The Oklahoma Republican Party’s annual Gala Dinner will be held at the Skirvin Hilton on May 13th. A reception will begin at 5:30 PM, followed by a dinner beginning at 7:00 PM. Mrs. Fiorina will be attending the reception and will give remarks at the dinner.

Carly is a tested and proven leader. She has battled breast cancer and buried a child. Getting her start in the corporate world as a secretary for a small real estate business, Fiorina quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the country’s most respected CEOs in technology.

In 1999, Carly was recruited to HP to save a struggling company that had become a bloated, inept bureaucracy that had failed to meet expectations for 9 quarters. As CEO of HP, she was the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 business and the first outsider to lead HP. During the worst technology recession in 25 years, she focused on innovation and leading again. While lots of other tech companies went out of business altogether, Carly saved 80,000 jobs and would grow the company to 160,000 jobs.

Carly is now a leader in the conservative movement standing alongside all Americans who refuse to settle for the way things are and a status quo that no longer works for them. She believes we must end crony capitalism by fighting the policies that allow it to flourish. She believes we must fix our festering problems by holding our bloated, inept government bureaucracy accountable. And she believes Republicans must stand for conservative principles that lift people up and recognize all Americans have the right to fulfill their God-given potential.

Note: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker had previously been scheduled for the Gala, but OKGOP Chair Pam Pollard said that "[Walker] had to cancel because of official business."

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Election Results Maps: Dem/Ind Presidential Primary turnout

I finally got the information from the state election board for the March 1st presidential primary, so here are some more Election Results Maps. It was a bit of a challenge, as their software could break the Democratic primary results down by-party/by-precinct but not by-party/by-county, so it was a bit of a process on my end to get these results.

In this post, we'll examine the turnout on the Democratic side of things. This was the first election that the Oklahoma Democratic Party allowed Independent voters to participate in. What impact did that have?

Not much, it turns out.

This graphic shows the turnout percentage of registered Democrats, Statewide, Democrat turnout was about 36.53% (based off of the January 2016 voter registration numbers). Highest Democrat turnout was in Major County with 47.02%, and the lowest came in Choctaw County at 21.72%.

In contrast, the Republican turnout (no map yet) was about 52.26%.

Generally speaking, turnout was very low in the heavily-Democratic south and southeast, and higher northwest of the Oklahoma City and Tulsa metros.

Here we have the turnout for registered Independents. Statewide turnout was 13.36% of registered Independents. The highest turnout for Independent voters was in Cleveland County at 18.99%, and the lowest was in Harmon County with 4.46%.

Generally speaking, turnout was extremely light all across the state, except around Oklahoma City, Stillwater and Tulsa, where it was upgraded to very light.

This shows the percentage of primary votes cast in each county by Democrat voters. In all but four counties, registered Democrats cast over 85% of the vote. The lowest percentage came in Texas County, where it dipped to 79.92%. The highest percentage was in Harmon County, with 98.48% of the votes being made by Democrats. In all, 89.51% of votes cast were by Democrats.

This graphic shows the percentage of primary votes cast in each county by Independent voters. Independents cast 10.49% of all votes in the primary. Texas County had the highest percentage of Independent votes at 20.08%, and Harmon County had the lowest with 1.52%.

OK's Stuart Jolly resigns as Trump's nat'l field director

From Stuart Jolly:
It's true. I've stepped down from my position with the Trump campaign. I'm sure my resignation will be spun by the press, but I left on top and on my own terms. Corey Lewandowski gave me a wonderful opportunity and working with Corey and Michael Glassner was a dream come true. Winning NH, SC and 20 other races is something that can't be taken away from us, but it was time to leave. On to bigger and better things!

In a shakeup that’s roiling Donald Trump's presidential campaign, the GOP front-runner told senior staffers at a Saturday meeting that he wants his recent hires Paul Manafort and Rick Wiley to take the reins in upcoming states, giving them a $20-million budget for key contests in May and June, according to three sources with knowledge of the meeting.
But sources inside the Trump campaign said the moves are increasingly alienating staff loyal to the original team headed by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, which had guided Trump from the political fringe to the precipice of the GOP presidential nomination with relatively little campaign infrastructure or spending.

One key Lewandowski loyalist, national field director Stuart Jolly, on Monday submitted a letter of resignation, according to the sources, who characterized Jolly as displeased with the reorganization. Under the new structure, Jolly would have reported to Wiley, who was hired last week by Manafort as political director. In turn, Wiley, who previously ran Scott Walker's disappointing presidential campaign, will report to Manafort, who was hired late last month and quickly boasted “I work directly for the boss.”

One operative who has worked with the campaign and was briefed on the changes said “Stuart will not work with Rick Wiley. It just wasn’t going to happen.” The operative added that the change had sparked particular concern among the campaign’s field staff, many of whom were hired by Jolly and maintained close contact with him — a rarity on a campaign with a reputation for top-down communication.

“Stuart is the only guy who has worked with the field staff, and they are loyal to him,” said the operative. “He is the only guy who understands how this works. It is going to be a huge shock when he leaves."
In Jolly’s resignation letter, which was addressed to "Mr. Trump" and was reviewed by POLITICO, the Oklahoma operative expressed his “deepest gratitude” to the candidate, declaring "I will never forget your encouragement and loyalty.” But he said he decided “it is time for me to leave the campaign and pursue education reform issues.” He praised Lewandowski, calling him “one of my best friends” and explaining he was “initially the reason I joined this campaign.”

A retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq, Jolly worked with Lewandowski at the Koch brothers-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity mostly on policy fights, and did not have any previous national campaign experience. Jolly was initially hired by Lewandowski to focus on Southern States that voted March 1. But he was shifted to New Hampshire ahead of that state’s critical first-in-the-nation primary after Trump’s disappointing loss to Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses.

Trump’s lopsided primary wins in New Hampshire on Feb. 9 and South Carolina 11 days later shocked the political establishment and put him on a trajectory to win the nomination. Those early victories “were magical and I will never forget them,” Jolly wrote to Trump.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Music Monday: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor

This week's Music Monday is Caprice No. 24 in A Minor by Niccolo Paganini, played by Jascha Heifetz.

I ran across this because Elizabeth Otten, a fellow member of Lindsey Chapel Baptist Church, posted it as part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge" she is participating in. The theme she chose this year is classical music -- if you're a classical fan, head on over to her blog and check out what she's been posting.


Click here to see previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at

Pruitt keynoting Muskogee GOP Dinner on Thursday

AG Scott Pruitt Featured at GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt will be speaking in Muskogee on Thursday, April 21st, at the Lincoln-Reagan Dinner hosted by the Muskogee County Republican Party. During the event, six $500 college scholarships will be awarded to area students. Republican candidates who recently filed for office will also address the crowd.

The dinner will begin at 6:30pm, at the Indian Capital Technology Center. Advance dinner tickets are $30 if purchased by Monday, April 18th, while tickets at the door will be $40.

The annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner is the main fundraiser of the year for the Muskogee County GOP, and proceeds are used to help local candidates, grow the Republican Party, and to give college scholarships to qualified area students.

The public is invited to attend. For more information or to purchase advance discount tickets, visit

Friday, April 15, 2016

417 candidates filed for state and federal offices

(Oklahoma City) – More candidates filed for state, federal and legislative offices in the three-day 2016 candidate filing period that ended Friday than in any presidential year in recent history, Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said.

A total of 417 candidates filed for office this week, a significant increase from the 275 candidates who filed in 2012 and the 296 who filed in 2008. The highest number of candidates to file in a presidential year in recent history was in 2004, when 412 candidates filed. That was also the first year legislators were subject to term limits, which resulted in an unusually high number of offices with no incumbent candidate.

“We had record turnout in the Presidential Preferential Primary last month and a record number of candidate filings this month,” Ziriax said. “It’s exciting to see so much interest and enthusiasm in this election cycle.”

Interest was especially high in State Senate races, with 99 candidates filing for the 25 State Senate seats on the ballot. All 101 State House of Representative seats are on the ballot, with 285 candidates filing for those offices. Seven candidates filed for the U.S. Senate seat up for election this year. The state’s five U.S. House of Representative seats attracted 24 candidates. Two candidates filed for the single Corporation Commission seat on this year’s ballot.

Candidate withdrawals and contests of candidacy must be filed by 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 19. The Oklahoma State Election Board will hear contests of candidacy April 25.

With the filing period over, Oklahoma State Election Board staff members will begin preparing, testing and printing up to 2.5 million ballots for the June 28 Primary Election.

Important dates to remember for the June 28 Primary include:
-          June 3, the deadline to register to vote.
-          June 22, the last day to request an absentee ballot.
-          Early voting will be June 23-25.

For more information about 2016 elections, or to see a full list of the candidates who filed for office, visit:

[Blogger's note: it looks like 17 candidates filed with the newly-formed Oklahoma Libertarian Party, 20 were Independents, 157 were Democrats, and 223 were Republicans]

Another out: Rep. Justin Wood not seeking reelection

Wood Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election

OKLAHOMA CITY –State Rep. Justin Wood announced today that he will not be seeking a second term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

“This was an emotional decision for my family, and I will truly miss representing the people of my hometown,” said Wood, R-Shawnee. “I am missing so much of my wife and our three children. It is time for me to refocus on my family. I do not believe that my time in public service is over. This privilege of service has never been about me, and I don’t want my decision to not file to be about me. Shawnee is my home, and I look forward to continuing to serve in any role needed.

“I will miss my fellow legislators, and I wish them nothing but the best as we finish this session and head into campaign season.”

Wood serves as Vice Chair of the House Higher Education & Career Tech Committee and is an Assistant Majority Whip. He serves as the director of the Shawnee office of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma.

Another out: Grau not running for reelection

Republican State Representative Randy Grau has decided that he will not be seeking reelection. He joins fellow Republicans Representatives Jason Nelson and David Derby in making late announcements about not filing for another term.

From Rep. Grau:

Grau Announces He Will Not Seek Re-Election

OKLAHOMA CITY –State Rep. Randy Grau announced today that he will not be seeking a fourth term in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

“Serving my hometown is one of the greatest honors of my life,” said Grau (R-Edmond), who represents the House district in which he grew up. “I have the deepest respect for the people I represent. They are my friends and neighbors, and I feel blessed just to know them.

“Therefore, this was a very difficult decision. However, I determined in recent days that it was necessary to take a break from public service to concentrate on other priorities. I am going to focus on helping my grandfather who has been hospitalized since December due to an injury. I also look forward to spending more time with my two growing sons, as well as focusing on a growing, successful law practice.” 

Grau serves as Chairman of the House Judiciary and Civil Procedure Committee. He is also part of House leadership, serving as an Assistant Majority Whip, and previously held a leadership position as Assistant Majority Floor Leader. Grau is an attorney with the Oklahoma City firm of Cheek and Falcone. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bridenstine to file for third and final term

Congressman Jim Bridenstine Files for Re-election

Statement from Congressman Jim Bridenstine regarding his re-election:

"Four years ago I filed to run for Congress for the first time, promising the people of the First District that I would work every day to restore Constitutional integrity, fiscal responsibility, and national security. Today, I filed as a candidate for a third and final term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and my promise to the people of Oklahoma remains unchanged."

Jarrin Jackson files for Congress

Constitutional Conservative Jarrin Jackson, Former Army Ranger and Combat Veteran, Files for OK Congressional District 2

April 14, 2016 (Claremore, OK) – Jarrin Jackson, a combat veteran with two Bronze Stars for service in Afghanistan, announces he is filing for candidacy to serve as United States Congressman, District 2. Jackson will be on the Republican primary ballot to unseat incumbent Congressman Markwayne Mullin. During Mullin’s career as a politician, he has regularly voted to grow the debt and expand government, including signing off on a 19 trillion dollar omnibus bill to fund Obama’s bloated spending and far-left agenda. Recently, Mullin announced that he praying for God’s direction as he considers breaking a signed pledge to serve three terms in Congress before coming home to live under the laws he has helped create.

Jarrin Jackson said, “When I served in Afghanistan, I saw first hand the effects of decisions made by Washington bureaucrats, who made political decisions without recognizing that they were having devastating consequences on real people, including stopping us from engaging ISIS in their infancy before they grew into the threat they are today. In Washington, politicians like Mr. Mullin are just as culpable. They make decisions through the political lens of how it affects them personally, with complete disregard that their vote and backroom dealings have devastating effects on our economy, and our national security. This also limits the ability of each American to realize their true potential whether they are building a successful business, educating their children, or strengthening our nation’s infrastructure. When I took the oath of duty to the US Army, I swore to uphold our Constitution, and that is what I will do as your Representative. No matter the mission ahead, I will fight every day for a stronger, more secure America, and won’t quit until our children have the ability to forge a better future than the one that we are currently fighting to save.”

A graduate in the top 15% of his West Point class, Jackson served honorably as a Captain in the US Infantry where he was deployed to Afghanistan. Jarrin Jackson led over 300 American soldiers in combat, managed budgets of $350 million, and excelled in organizational leadership and geopolitical issues management. As 2nd District Congressman, he is committed to restore constitutional order, strengthen national defense, secure the borders, demand fiscal discipline, and strengthen services to veterans and ensure free market capitalism for the American Dream to once again become a viable goal. 

Jarrin Jackson and his wife Katie live in Claremore, Oklahoma with their two sons, Lloyd and Dale. Jackson is a 5th generation Oklahoman and was raised in Oologah, Oklahoma. Please visit for more information, or on Facebook at JarrinJackson1

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Candidate filing starts Wednesday

(Oklahoma City) – The 2016 candidate filing period for state and federal offices is scheduled for April 13-15 at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City, State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax said Monday.

Filing will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday in the north hall of the Capitol’s second floor outside Room 230. Races on the ballot include all five of Oklahoma’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats, a Corporation Commission seat, and dozens of legislative offices.

All 101 State House of Representatives seats are on the ballot, along with 24 odd-numbered State Senate seats and the unexpired term for State Senator, District 12.

County voters will elect clerks, court clerks, sheriffs and district 2 commissioners in 2016. Candidates for those offices will file at their respective county election boards.

To download a candidate filing packet or get other information about the 2016 candidate filing period, visit the State Election Board’s website:

Monday, April 11, 2016

OK Mozart announces 2016 events

The OK Mozart International Festival brings classical and crossover concerts each summer to Bartlesville. This 32nd season, June 11-18, presents Oklahoma artists along with favorites Catherine Russell, Anne-Marie McDermott and the Miro String Quartet. OK Mozart recently released the schedule for upcoming events and concerts.

April 2016
Burchfield Brothers
Sunday, April 24 - 4 p.m.
Concert begins at 4 p.m. (please be seated by 3:45 p.m.) in Ambler Hall, 415 S. Dewey
Dove Award winners.  Visit to learn more about this popular duo out of Nashville!
Tickets $17.50
Call 918-336-9800 or

Kierston White, Singer-songwriter and founder of the Tequila Songbirds
Saturday, April 30 - 8 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m.
Concert begins at 8 p.m. (please be seated at least 15 minutes prior) in Ambler Hall, 415 S. Dewey
The songwriter Kierston White, of Norman, will play original folk songs to benefit OK Mozart on Saturday, April 30. The founding member of the wildly popular Tequila Songbirds takes flight at 8 PM, singing poems and stories accompanied by flawless guitar under the warm light of the Ambler Hall chandelier. Find out more about Ms. White and listen to her songs at Beer and wine will be served.
Tickets $17.50
Call 918-336-9800 or

May 2016
Dr. Rob Conway, Pianist
Sunday, May 22 - 2 p.m.
Concert begins at 2 p.m. (please be seated by 1:45 p.m.) in Ambler Hall, 415 S. Dewey
Join us at Ambler Hall for an afternoon of great piano by Dr. Rob Conway. Tickets $17.50 available at or
Tickets $17.50
Call 918-336-9800 or

June 2016
2016 OK Mozart Festival
June 11 – 18, 2016
90+ events including concerts, crossover artists, chamber music and children’s programs
for adults and children of all ages. Ticket prices vary – many FREE concerts!  Visit for schedules and details. Call 918-336-9800 or

Festival Week Highlights - June 11-18, 2016 "Mozart and His Musical Heirs"
Saturday, June 11, beginning at 7:30 a.m. opening day events at Prairie Song Pioneer Village in Dewey include a 1 mile and 5K fun run; Corky Davis & Cowboy Swing; Ad Lib Singers; trick roping, falconry, and sheep dog demos; a magician, and more! In addition, Adam & Kizzie – a favorite duo out of Oklahoma City – will perform at 6 p.m. at the Bartlesville Community Center.

Sunday, June 12 features Tulsa's Signature Symphony, with conductor Andrés Franco, performing "A Musical Voyage from the Americas to Europe" including music of Peru from the "Coleccion de musica virreinal," Mozart's "Six German Dances," Strauss's overture to "The Gypsy Baron" and Brahms's "Symphony No. 4." The OK Mozart College All-State Orchestra will also be featured.

Monday, June 13 features the Signature Symphony Dance Band at "A Gala Ballroom Dance" a formal fundraising event at Hillcrest Country Club, honoring the champions of the festival, the John Mihm family. Gala tickets are $150 per person.

Tuesday, June 14 features the genre-hopping Simply Three comprised of Glen McDaniel, violin; Zack Clark, cello; and Nicholas Villalobos, bass. Simply Three has been captivating audiences worldwide playing a variety of music from Puccini, Gershwin, Adele, Coldplay and Michael Jackson.

Wednesday, June 15 features The Tulsa Symphony with conductor Daniel Hege performing "Classical Gold -- Visionary Masterpieces" with guest clarinetist David Carter playing Mozart's Clarinet Concerto and Beethoven's "Egmont" Overture and "Pastoral" Symphony No. 6.

Thursday, June 16 features Grammy Award-winning Catherine Russell. Born to pioneering jazz parents and with legendary influences such as Louis Armstrong and David Bowie, Catherine Russell is music royalty. The Wall Street Journal describes her as "one of the outstanding singers of our time." Reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James, Russell is sure to be a festival favorite.

The traditional Woolaroc concert will be held on Friday, June 17 at dusk at Clyde Lake at Woolaroc Wildlife Preserve and will feature the Bartlesville Symphony Orchestra and Lauren Green, conductor. Guest artists include Caitlyn Caughell and Kennedy Caughell. $25 for adults, children 14 and under are free.

Saturday, June 18 features the Grand Finale Concert "A Return Voyage from Europe to the Americas" performed by the Tulsa Symphony. Selections include Mozart's Overture to "La clemenza di Tito," Mendelssohn's "Reformation" Symphony No. 5, Arturo Marquez' "Danzon" No. 2 and Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," featuring Anne-Marie McDermott, pianist.

Throughout the week, chamber music fans will appreciate double the chamber music offering compared to last year's festival. OK Mozart is also pleased to announce the chamber music will be held in Ambler Hall, Bartlesville's newest acoustic venue which was constructed as a traditional, intimate chamber music hall. Festival favorites Miró Quartet and members of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and Brightmusic will be featured.

In addition to the main events and chamber music series, 90+ showcase and cultural events as well as "Especially for Kids" events will be offered throughout the week.

At the Launch Party, OK Mozart's Marketing & Public Relations Director Lizabeth Rolfson announced additional new collaborations for 2016 with Oklahoma Educational Television Association (OETA) and the Tulsa Girls Art School, who will have artwork available for sale in the Lyon Gallery at the Bartlesville Community Center throughout the week-long event.

Season tickets go on sale to the public on Feb. 8 with pricing ranging from $75 to $195. Single tickets and showcase event tickets go on sale to the public on Feb. 15. For more information on ticket pricing and event details, please visit or call 918-336-9800.

Music Monday: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune

This week's Music Monday is Fantasia on a 17th-Century Tune arranged by Richard Stephan and based on the tune to Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.


Click here to see previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at

Lyrics to Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence (drawn from Habakkuk 2:20, Isaiah chapter 6, and Revelation chapter 5):

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descending
Comes our homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
Comes the powers of hell to vanquish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

Friday, April 08, 2016

Steve Curry to run for OKGOP Nat'l Committeeman

Steve Curry announces candidacy for National Committeeman

Fellow Oklahoma Republicans: I am honored to announce my candidacy for OKGOP National Committeeman to fill the void left by Steve Fair who has decided not to seek reelection. It is my intention to carry on his great representation of Oklahoma Republicans for the next 4 years. The election will be held at the Oklahoma GOP State Convention on Saturday, May 14, 2016, at First Moore Baptist Church, 301 NE 27th Street, Moore, Oklahoma 73160.

I am seeking election as the OKGOP National Committeeman to be a strong advocate for our principles as Oklahoma Republicans. As a lifelong Republican, I view this opportunity to give back to the Great State of Oklahoma and the OKGOP, both of which I dearly love.

My experience, background, temperament and passion for the OKGOP uniquely qualify me to fill this important role. As the OKGOP National Committeeman, along with the OKGOP National Committeewoman and State Chair, it will be my responsibility to convey the thoughts, concerns and visions of Oklahoma Republicans to the Republican National Committee. To achieve this, it is incumbent on me to come to your area meetings to hear you.

I recognize and appreciate the valuable role that each you have made, and continue to make, in building the OKGOP and I value your support.

I am asking for your vote at the convention and your support with your Republican colleagues. Together we can do this!

Feel free to reach me at or 405-414-4842.

Richard Engle to run for OKGOP Nat't Committeeman

Richard Engle Seeks to Serve as Oklahoma's Republican National Committeeman

Oklahoma City, OK- Long term Republican activist and author, Richard Engle, is seeking the position of National Committeeman being vacated by Steve Fair.  The election will be held at the Oklahoma Republican convention on May 14th in Moore.

The Republican National Committee consists of three persons from each state and territory and it is the governing body of the national Republican Party between conventions.  Two National Committee members (one male and one female) are chosen in each state prior to the national convention, but their four year term begins on the day after the convention.  The third member is the State Chair who is chosen according to each state party's rules.  National Committee members become automatic Delegates to the National Convention at the end of their term. The National Committee members serve without pay and at their own expense.

Engle commented, "My overwhelming passion is to build the Republican Party on a solid conservative foundation. I will continue to be ever vigilant to empower the grassroots of our party. I have over thirty years of Republican activism, spent a decade as a statewide appointee of our governor, two terms in elective office, co-founder of my state's largest membership PAC supporting Republican candidates, two terms as President of the nation's largest and oldest Republican support organization, and knocked tens of thousands of doors for candidates, among other volunteer activities which have prepared me for this level of service."

Engle is the President of BellWest America, Oklahoma's largest independent directory publisher.  He is also a regular columnist for the Oklahoma Constitution newspaper and author of the popular novel, The Last American President.  His wife, Denise Engle, has been Deputy Insurance Commissioner for the state and served as Workers' Compensation Commissioner before returning to her private sector career.
The Engle's also host an annual benefit on behalf of the Angel Tree program of Prison Fellowship.  Last year Oklahoma Lt. Governor Todd Lamb co-hosted the event with the Engle's. Additionally, Engle is a volunteer part time teacher at Edmond Christian Academy and an Elder at Faith Church in Oklahoma City.

Recently, Engle launched the Oklahoma Republican party's Red to the Roots effort. Engle commented, "I have driven throughout our state and worked diligently to support Republican candidates for county office where currently only 35% of elected officials are Republicans while 78% of elected officials above the county level are Republicans. This is a disparity that does not reflect the conservative inclinations of Oklahoma voters.  I am committed to the premise that conservative governance works everywhere it is tried, and I will continue this effort as National Committeeman."

Engle also expressed his goals for the Republican National Committee. "Much has been said this year about the rules of our party.  It seems some people may have tried to use the rules to manipulate results or to 'fix' problems of a prior election.  Now they find themselves bitten by their own dog. What we need is a process which is fair, honest and open.  With my experience, added to that of the other members from Oklahoma, we can secure our party's future as the conservative choice of the American voter."

For more information, contact Richard Engle at 405-640-9219.

Is Markwayne Mullin waffling on his term limits pledge?

When first Markwayne Mullin ran for the 2nd Congressional District in 2012, he joined several of his primary opponents in publicly pledging to serve only three terms (six years) as Congressman. Since then, there's been rumblings that he had been backing off of that stance.

Last week, Chris Casteel of the Daily Oklahoman asked Mullin if his 2016 re-election campaign would be his last run for office, and his answer "opened the door a crack... to serving longer than the six-year limit he put on himself in 2012 when he first won the eastern Oklahoma congressional seat."

Meanwhile, asked the same thing about his own term limits pledge, 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine's spokesperson unequivocally said "He keeps his word."

Read the full article at NewsOK here. US Term Limits, the main organization pushing term limits, slammed Mullin in a blog post here.

Former Army captain, West Point graduate and Afghanistan vet Jarrin Jackson -- someone very familiar with taking and keeping pledges and oaths -- is running against Mullin in the Republican primary.

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Hofmeister robocall: Common Core "completely rejected" in Oklahoma

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister recently made a recorded call touting the death of Common Core in Oklahoma and the creation of new replacement standards, contradicting some in the legislature that have expressed concern.

Listen to the call here:

The robocall was paid for by "The Education Reform Coalition", an organization that is not registered with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, as far as I can tell.

[voice: Joy Hofmeister] Hello, this is Oklahoma Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister. It is a challenging time right now for our public schools, but I want to share a bit of good news with you. One of the top priorities we have had is to end Common Core in Oklahoma. Today, that is finally a reality. We have completely rejected Common Core, and in it's place we have new standards that were designed right here in Oklahoma, by Oklahoma educators and experts. This move restores local control and rejects interference from Washington, D.C. I'm proud of this good news for Oklahoma students and families, and I hope that you will be, too. If you have any questions, please give me a call at 405-256-8707. Thank you, and have a blessed day.
[voice: unknown] Paid for by The Education Reform Coalition.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Barton wins Muskogee School Board runoff by ONE vote

Incumbent Muskogee School Board member John Barton appears to have won reelection (barring a recount that finds otherwise) by JUST ONE VOTE.

Your vote matters.

UPDATE: There is one provisional ballot that will be opened and counted on Friday. If the result is a tie, under Oklahoma Statute §26-8-105 the election board secretary will draw the winner by lot.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Music Monday: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born

Since my wife is from North Carolina, and the UNC men's basketball team is playing in the national championship this evening, this week's Music Monday is the University of North Carolina's alma mater (Hark the Sound) and fight song (I'm a Tarheel Born).


Click here to see previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to submit for a future Music Monday? Email me at