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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Coburn: Jarrin Jackson is a leader of virtue

Former U.S. Senator Tom Coburn recently spoke at an event in Muskogee for 2nd Congressional District candidate Jarrin Jackson, where he made the comments below in support of Jackson's challenge of incumbent Congressman Markwayne Mullin.


Coburn endorsed Jarrin Jackson's 2016 bid, and reacted strongly to Mullin's announcement that he would be breaking his term limits pledge. In radio interviews since then, he's reiterated his support for Jarrin Jackson.

Back in September, I referenced Mullin's actions as one of many examples in my post entitled The Death of Honor in the GOP. Coburn touched a similar strain of thought in the video above, when he said that "[T]he real problem with our country is virtue... The way we solve our problems is have men and women of virtue in leadership positions."

In addition to Jarrin Jackson, Mullin has drawn two other Republican opponents so far: NSU economics professor Brian Jackson (no relation to Jarrin) and cure-cancer-activist John McCarthy (has loaned his campaign $113k).

The 2018 2nd District GOP primary will be one to watch.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Richardson to air commercial during New Year's bowl games

GOP gubernatorial candidate Gary Richardson is running the following television ad during the New Year's Day college football bowl games on ESPN:

From a Richardson campaign email: "I wanted to send you a sneak peak of our television ad that will be airing statewide next week during the New Year's Day bowl games on ESPN.

It tells the story of District Attorney Vic Feazell, who was facing 84 years in jail for a crime he didn't commit because he was about to call a grand jury to indict eight powerful law enforcement officers and my efforts to fight that corruption and save him from life in prison."

Watch the ad below:



Cornett making campaign stop in Muskogee Friday


GOP gubernatorial candidate and Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett is making a campaign stop in Muskogee on Friday, according to a post by his campaign (seen above). Cornett joins fellow candidates Gary Jones, Todd Lamb, Gary Richardson, and Kevin Stitt in making campaign visits to Muskogee (if other candidates have made stops here, I'm unaware of them).

It recently came to light that the super PAC supporting Cornett is mainly funded by a major Clinton campaign bundler and donor.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Music Monday: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

This week's Music Monday is the old English Christmas carol God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, played by the Annie Moses Band.



Enjoy, and have a Merry Christmas!

See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.


December 4th, 2017: Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller)
November 27th, 2017: Joy to the World!
November 20th, 2017: We Gather Together
November 13th, 2017: Mansions of the Lord
November 6th, 2017: Träumerei
October 30th: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 23rd, 2017: In Christ Alone
October 16th, 2017: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass
October 9th, 2017: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
October 2nd, 2017: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major (Brahms)
September 25th, 2017: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')
September 11th, 2017: Have You Forgotten?
September 4th, 2017: Bach's Double Violin Concerto
August 28th, 2017: Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
August 21st, 2017: The Heavens Are Telling The Glory of God
August 14th, 2017: Beethoven's 5th Symphony
August 7th, 2017: 'Lift High The Name Of Jesus' medley
July 31st, 2017: Fanfare for the Common Man
July 24th, 2017: Variations on 'Happy Birthday'
July 10th, 2017: Summer (Presto) from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
July 3rd, 2017: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame
June 26th, 2017: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
June 19th, 2017: A Christian Home
June 12th, 2017: Ol' Man River
June 5th, 2017: Choctaw Cowboy
May 29th, 2017: Armed Forces Salute
May 22nd, 2017: Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor
May 15th, 2017: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major
May 8th, 2017: The Army Goes Rolling Along
April 17th, 2017: He Is Alive
April 10th, 2017: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep
April 3rd, 2017: Here Comes Carolina
March 27th, 2017: 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
March 20th, 2017: Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") Finale
March 13th, 2017: The Pigeon on the Gate
March 6th, 2017: Finlandia
February 27th, 2017: When I Can Read My Title Clear
February 20th, 2017: William Tell Overture - Finale
February 13th, 2017: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 6th, 2017: White Winter Hymnal
January 30th, 2017: Hail, Columbia
January 23rd, 2017: Hail to the Chief
January 16th, 2017: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
January 2nd, 2017: Auld Lang Syne
December 26th, 2016: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 19th, 2016: I Wonder as I Wander
December 12th, 2016: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 5th, 2016: A Christmas Festival
November 28th, 2016: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 21st: Beethoven's 'Hymn of Thanksgiving'
November 14th: Hymn to the Fallen
November 7th: This World Is Not My Home
October 31st, 2016: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 24th, 2016: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'
October 17th, 2016: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
October 10th, 2016: Spain
October 3rd, 2016: International Harvester
September 26th, 2016: 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars
September 19th, 2016: Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound
September 12th, 2016: Before the Throne of God Above
September 5th, 2016: The Hunt
August 29th, 2016: Liberty
August 22nd, 2016: Summon the Heroes
August 15th, 2016: Bugler's Dream
August 8th, 2016: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
August 1st, 2016: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur
July 25th, 2016: How The West Was Won
July 18th, 2016: Six Studies in English Folk Song
July 11th, 2016: From Everlasting To Everlasting
July 4th, 2016: The Stars and Stripes Forever
June 27th, 2016: Rule, Britannia!
June 20st, 2016: Bugler's Holiday
June 13th, 2016: Ride of the Valkyries
June 6th, 2016: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, Allegro Vivace
May 30th, 2016: Armed Forces Salute
May 23rd, 2016: Paid in Full (Through Jesus, Amen)
May 16th, 2016: Overture from 'Carmen'
May 9th, 2016: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - Prelude
May 2nd, 2016: My God Is a Rock
April 25th, 2016: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
April 18th, 2016: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor
April 11th, 2016: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune
April 4th, 2016: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born
March 28th, 2016: Rustle of Spring
March 21st, 2016: 'Ode to Joy' sung by a 10,000-voice choir
March 14th, 2016: Hard Times Come Again No More
March 7th, 2016: 'The Suite' from Downton Abbey
February 29th, 2016: Moonlight Sonata
February 22nd, 2016: Liebestraum No. 3
February 15th, 2016: Help Is On The Way
February 8th, 2016: God of Grace and God of Glory
February 1st, 2016: 'My Story'
January 25th, 2016: Israeli Concertino
January 18th, 2016: What Grace is Mine
January 11th, 2016: "Meditation" from Thaïs
January 4th, 2016: Praeludium and Allegro
December 28th, 2015: Appalachian Carol
December 21st, 2015: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 14th, 2015: O Holy Night
December 7th, 2015: Christmas Fantasy
November 23rd, 2015: Simple Gifts
November 16th, 2015: Preacher Tell Me Like It Is
November 9th, 2015: Armed Forces Salute
November 2nd, 2015: Amazing Grace
October 26th, 2015: The Harmonious Blacksmith
October 19th, 2015: Liberty Fanfare
October 12th, 2015: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
October 5th, 2015: Elgar's 'Enigma' Finale
September 28th, 2015: Stayed on Jesus
September 21st, 2015: Great Gate of Kiev
September 14th, 2015: Nearer, My God, To Thee

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry CHRISTmas!


Have a very merry Christmas!

The account of the birth of Jesus Christ, from Luke 2:


And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.


And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.


And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.


And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.


And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.


And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.


But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.


And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

I hope that you have a very happy and safe holiday!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Cornett Super PAC being funded by Clinton bundler

A Super PAC supporting GOP gubernatorial candidate and OKC mayor Mick Cornett recently purchased $100k in television and digital ads in the Tulsa market, and a primary funder of the group was a bundler for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

Sue Ann Arnall, ex-wife of oil tycoon Harold Hamm, gave $200k to the 'Oklahoma Values' Super PAC that is supporting Cornett's campaign; only one other donor was listed on the last ethics report, and he gave $25k. She hosted a fundraiser at her home in September 2016 with Clinton's running-mate, Tim Kaine.

Arnall donated at least $169,500 to the Clinton campaign in 2015-2016, as well as $2,700 to Democrat Al McAffrey's 5th Congressional District bid.

The ad buy includes a commercial during the OU-Georgia Rose Bowl football game on January 1st. The commercial can be viewed below:

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lamb supports OPEA's call for Tourism Department investigation


LAMB WELCOMES PUBLIC EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION’S CALL FOR TOURISM DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATION

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, December 20, 2017 – Republican gubernatorial candidate Todd Lamb said today he welcomes an investigation into the Oklahoma Department of Tourism as called for by the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.

“As a member of the Tourism Commission, I welcome an investigation and support OPEA in their request,” Lamb said. “While a United States Secret Service agent, I regularly conducted thorough investigations, and believe they lead to greater clarity and transparency within the operations of public and/or private sector entities. Within the Tourism Department, information flows through the executive director and senior staff, and an investigation into that process is good public policy. OPEA’s request is one example of why I recently unveiled my Ethics in Government Reform Plan which contains the establishment of a state ombudsman within the office of the Oklahoma Attorney General. Any state employee could contact the ombudsman to bring forward concerns of waste, corruption or abuse without fear of repercussion.”


[More on the OPEA request here from FOX25 News]

Fallin: tax increases still needed despite revenue growth


Governor Mary Fallin Statement on Oklahoma Board of Equalization Findings

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued the following statement after the Board of Equalization meeting:

“I’m glad to see today’s estimate submitted to the Board of Equalization and acted on the board shows some revenue growth for the 2019 fiscal year. Even with that revenue growth, there still will be a need for additional revenue to address the combination of one-time funds currently in the budget, the current fiscal year shortfall from the loss of cigarette fee revenue of about $110 million, spending obligations as of today for the 2019 fiscal year of approximately $148 million, and money to give our teachers and state employees a much-needed pay raise. These items taken together will be hundreds of millions of dollars. While there is good news generally from this report, we still have a lot of hard work and tough decisions ahead of us.

“I believe we still have a great opportunity to accomplish something historic. We are operating in a very volatile political environment nationally as well as in our own state. It would be an incredible statement to the public that Republicans and Democrats can work together to solve problems.”

Calvey: Increased Revenue Sign of Recovering Economy



Calvey: Increased Revenue Sign of Recovering Economy

OKLAHOMA CITY –State Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City, today issued a statement following the State Board of Equalization’s announcement that state revenues are expected to increase by $425.3 million, significantly reducing the state’s budget deficit.

“These increased revenues are proof that Oklahoma’s economy is recovering.  Growth in the economy happens when we have a stable economic environment and a stable, low-rate tax structure. Lawmakers should not harm this recovery with tax increases. 

The majority of the state’s elected officials were put in place because Oklahomans want their elected officials to make state government more efficient, rather than to raise taxes.  The scandals at the Health Department and other agencies show we have much work to do to ensure Oklahoma’s state agencies are using tax dollars efficiently and effectively. 

“Today is good news for the Oklahoma economy. Let's keep the good news coming by avoiding job-killing tax increases."

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Two-Faced Fallin: calls for federal tax cuts while pushing state tax hikes


As she comes to her final year in office, Governor Mary Fallin is setting a "legacy" of pushing for the largest tax hikes in Oklahoma history. In an ironic twist, she is simultaneously supporting the largest federal tax cut in decades.

Back in February, Fallin proposed a massive expansion of the state sales tax, amounting to over $1,703,879,742.00 ($1.7 Billion). Additional taxes she proposed brought the total to nearly $2.6 Billion. I've posted extensively on the Fallin Tax Hikes, which have shifted and morphed over the past ten months. The state legislature went along with her on some of her ideas, while discarding many of the worst parts of her proposed tax hike packages.

While Governor Fallin was doing her best to increase taxes on Oklahomans, our seven Republican members of Congress were working to pass a package at the federal level that would dramatically cut taxes. Today, the U.S. House voted on final passage of the Tax Cuts And Jobs Act, with the U.S. Senate expected to pass it later tonight and send it to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature.

To help with that effort, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker organized a letter of support, sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, and signed by 21 Republican governors.


In further comments on the letter, posted on WhiteHouse.gov, Governor Fallin said, "Our nation’s tax code, on the other hand, is outdated and in desperate need of reform. Due to incomprehensible regulations and untold pages of forms and instructions, nearly 90% of taxpayers need external help to simply pay their taxes."

In the Governors' letter, Fallin put her stamp of approval on this statement, and others: "We need to simplify the tax code and reduce the burden on hard-working people all across the United States."

Which is it, Governor Fallin? Do you want to reduce the tax burden on hard-working Oklahomans or do you want to increase the tax burden on hard-working Oklahomans? You can't have it both ways.

To quote James 1:8, "A double minded man [or woman, in this case] is unstable in all his ways."

Muskogee Phoenix Editorial Board: Doerflinger's actions disgraceful

The Muskogee Phoenix has historically been a fairly liberal newspaper, but on occasion, they get things dead right. Today's editorial is one example.


A Facebook feud initiated by the governor’s finance secretary demonstrates the depth to which leadership at the Capitol seem willing to sink themselves and the state.

Secretary Preston Doerflinger accused the state auditor of falling “asleep at the wheel” in a Facebook post attempting to assign blame for the fiscal mismanagement of the Oklahoma Health Department. Gov. Mary Fallin’s appointee said Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones had “been derelict in his duties” and urged him to abandon his bid for the Republican Party’s nomination in the 2018 governor’s race.

Jones attributed the dispute to a discrepancy in the testimony presented by the two men during hearings convened by lawmakers investigating Health Department expenditures. The state auditor said Doerflinger “got his feelings hurt” because their recollections differed about when financial problems at the agency first surfaced.

Doerflinger’s accusations against Jones appear petty considering the scope of the fiscal calamity at a state agency that provides core services to thousands of Oklahomans. His conduct, on the other hand, is quite alarming and further bruises the state’s image — an image tarnished by those who place politics and above the best interest of their constituents.

Fallin’s finance secretary was responsible for overseeing the state’s finances as director of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. He now serves as interim director of the beleaguered agency that must lay off scores of workers across the state due to alleged misfeasance.

From this vantage point, it appears Doerflinger should focus more attention on the serious issues that jeopardize the public health in Oklahoma and threatens its residents. His Facebook feud appears to be little more than a charade — perhaps an attempt to deflect attention from himself or a ploy to influence the outcome of party politics.

AG Hunter: FBI and HHS joining Dept. of Health investigation


Attorney General Hunter Announces FBI and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to Investigate Oklahoma Health Department

OKLAHOMA CITY - Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced that the FBI and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will partner with his office to investigate issues relating to the use of federal funds at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

Attorney General Hunter said attorneys and investigators with his office will work with federal authorities and the state auditor’s office to scrutinize movement and management of both state and federal monies at the OSDH.

“I appreciate the collaboration of the FBI and HHS in insuring that we can conduct a thorough and exacting review of the situation at OSDH,” Attorney General Hunter said. “We will get to the bottom of what happened there.”

This week's schedule for the Second Special Session


Here is the [current] schedule this week for the Second, Very Special, Extra-Extraordinary Session the Legislature is currently in.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Music Monday: I Saw Three Ships (The Piano Guys)

This week's Music Monday is the old English Christmas carol I Saw Three Ships, arranged and played by Jon Schmidt of The Piano Guys.



Enjoy!

See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.


December 4th, 2017: Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller)
November 27th, 2017: Joy to the World!
November 20th, 2017: We Gather Together
November 13th, 2017: Mansions of the Lord
November 6th, 2017: Träumerei
October 30th: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 23rd, 2017: In Christ Alone
October 16th, 2017: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass
October 9th, 2017: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
October 2nd, 2017: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major (Brahms)
September 25th, 2017: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')
September 11th, 2017: Have You Forgotten?
September 4th, 2017: Bach's Double Violin Concerto
August 28th, 2017: Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
August 21st, 2017: The Heavens Are Telling The Glory of God
August 14th, 2017: Beethoven's 5th Symphony
August 7th, 2017: 'Lift High The Name Of Jesus' medley
July 31st, 2017: Fanfare for the Common Man
July 24th, 2017: Variations on 'Happy Birthday'
July 10th, 2017: Summer (Presto) from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
July 3rd, 2017: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame
June 26th, 2017: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
June 19th, 2017: A Christian Home
June 12th, 2017: Ol' Man River
June 5th, 2017: Choctaw Cowboy
May 29th, 2017: Armed Forces Salute
May 22nd, 2017: Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor
May 15th, 2017: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major
May 8th, 2017: The Army Goes Rolling Along
April 17th, 2017: He Is Alive
April 10th, 2017: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep
April 3rd, 2017: Here Comes Carolina
March 27th, 2017: 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
March 20th, 2017: Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") Finale
March 13th, 2017: The Pigeon on the Gate
March 6th, 2017: Finlandia
February 27th, 2017: When I Can Read My Title Clear
February 20th, 2017: William Tell Overture - Finale
February 13th, 2017: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 6th, 2017: White Winter Hymnal
January 30th, 2017: Hail, Columbia
January 23rd, 2017: Hail to the Chief
January 16th, 2017: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
January 2nd, 2017: Auld Lang Syne
December 26th, 2016: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 19th, 2016: I Wonder as I Wander
December 12th, 2016: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 5th, 2016: A Christmas Festival
November 28th, 2016: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 21st: Beethoven's 'Hymn of Thanksgiving'
November 14th: Hymn to the Fallen
November 7th: This World Is Not My Home
October 31st, 2016: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 24th, 2016: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'
October 17th, 2016: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
October 10th, 2016: Spain
October 3rd, 2016: International Harvester
September 26th, 2016: 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars
September 19th, 2016: Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound
September 12th, 2016: Before the Throne of God Above
September 5th, 2016: The Hunt
August 29th, 2016: Liberty
August 22nd, 2016: Summon the Heroes
August 15th, 2016: Bugler's Dream
August 8th, 2016: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
August 1st, 2016: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur
July 25th, 2016: How The West Was Won
July 18th, 2016: Six Studies in English Folk Song
July 11th, 2016: From Everlasting To Everlasting
July 4th, 2016: The Stars and Stripes Forever
June 27th, 2016: Rule, Britannia!
June 20st, 2016: Bugler's Holiday
June 13th, 2016: Ride of the Valkyries
June 6th, 2016: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, Allegro Vivace
May 30th, 2016: Armed Forces Salute
May 23rd, 2016: Paid in Full (Through Jesus, Amen)
May 16th, 2016: Overture from 'Carmen'
May 9th, 2016: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - Prelude
May 2nd, 2016: My God Is a Rock
April 25th, 2016: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
April 18th, 2016: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor
April 11th, 2016: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune
April 4th, 2016: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born
March 28th, 2016: Rustle of Spring
March 21st, 2016: 'Ode to Joy' sung by a 10,000-voice choir
March 14th, 2016: Hard Times Come Again No More
March 7th, 2016: 'The Suite' from Downton Abbey
February 29th, 2016: Moonlight Sonata
February 22nd, 2016: Liebestraum No. 3
February 15th, 2016: Help Is On The Way
February 8th, 2016: God of Grace and God of Glory
February 1st, 2016: 'My Story'
January 25th, 2016: Israeli Concertino
January 18th, 2016: What Grace is Mine
January 11th, 2016: "Meditation" from Thaïs
January 4th, 2016: Praeludium and Allegro
December 28th, 2015: Appalachian Carol
December 21st, 2015: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 14th, 2015: O Holy Night
December 7th, 2015: Christmas Fantasy
November 23rd, 2015: Simple Gifts
November 16th, 2015: Preacher Tell Me Like It Is
November 9th, 2015: Armed Forces Salute
November 2nd, 2015: Amazing Grace
October 26th, 2015: The Harmonious Blacksmith
October 19th, 2015: Liberty Fanfare
October 12th, 2015: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
October 5th, 2015: Elgar's 'Enigma' Finale
September 28th, 2015: Stayed on Jesus
September 21st, 2015: Great Gate of Kiev
September 14th, 2015: Nearer, My God, To Thee

OCPA's Small: Learning from the Health Department


Learning from the Health Department
By OCPA President Jonathan Small

Tens of millions of dollars are missing; criminal investigations are underway. Officials at the State Department of Health, it seems, misspent funds and misled the public about it for at least six years. Some of the money came from the federal government meaning those involved could face federal charges, and state taxpayers might have to pay that money back.

What happened? Only by answering that question can we make such scandals less likely in the future. The multiple investigations are in their initial stages, but three lessons already stand out.

First, executive leadership matters in state government. Even in positions of power, the easy path is often “go along to get along” or “keep your head down.” Self-serving politicians want to protect their political capital, but leaders know such capital is only worth having – and only grows – if you use it.

The governor and her top advisers claim they knew nothing about problems at the Department of Health until six years of mismanagement put the agency on the brink of collapse. This may be true, but then where were they? No doubt it was easier to let agency leaders do their thing, and no feathers got ruffled by taking their word for it year after year.

The problem isn’t just weak leadership. The second lesson is that Oklahoma’s executive branch structure actually produces weakness and confusion. The governor and her staff point to the nine-member Board of Health as the department’s direct governing authority. None of them are elected, and almost none of them are even known to the public. This structure makes it easy to pass the buck.

Oklahoma needs constitutional reform that makes the buck stop with the governor. The state’s top elected official should appoint agency directors who report to her and can be fired by her. That way, management (or mismanagement) would be unambiguously the governor’s responsibility.

The final lesson relates to the danger of federal funds flowing through state agencies and the need for greater transparency. The money looks deceptively free, inviting abuses. After all, the Legislature doesn’t have to raise it through taxes. For that matter, about a quarter of all federal funds are borrowed (something that would be illegal for state government to do on its own). The Legislature passed a bill to increase transparency for these funds, but it was vetoed by Gov. Fallin.

When these scandals come to light, it damages the people’s trust in government. It’s time to restructure our state government for more accountability instead of passing the buck.

Jonathan Small serves as president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (www.ocpathink.org).

Friday, December 15, 2017

Fallin [finally] officially calls limited 2nd Special Session for Monday

After a long delay causing some to question whether she would actually call the Legislature in on Monday, Governor Fallin has issued the executive order officially setting the second special session date.




Governor Mary Fallin Calls Special Session to Provide Oklahoma Health Care Authority Funding to Avoid Provider Rate Cuts, Address Long-term Budget Solutions

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today issued an executive order formally calling for a special session of the Oklahoma Legislature for lawmakers to address immediate budget issues facing the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, while continuing negotiations on long-term budget solutions.

The governor recommended lawmakers address funding the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to avoid provider rate cuts for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.

The governor called for the second extraordinary session of the 56th Legislature to convene Monday, Dec. 18.

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority lost $70 million when the state Supreme Court struck down the proposed $1.50-per-pack cigarette cessation fee.  A budget bill at the end of the special session in November restored $22.8 million for the authority, which oversees Oklahoma's Medicaid program, called SoonerCare. The governor vetoed parts of the budget bill, leaving the critical health care funding intact, with the intent to call lawmakers back for a second special session to approve long-term funding issues.

“This week’s discussions with a bipartisan group of legislative leaders along with community leaders’ input, it was determined we need more time to work toward a long-term, predictable solution to fix our budget problems,” said Fallin. “For next week, immediate attention must be given to the funding situation at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. It’s difficult to restore cuts in provider rates once they are made.”

In the meantime, the governor and lawmakers will continue to work on an Oklahoma plan during the special session for a long-term solution to budget deficits experienced by the state the past few years.

“We must find sustainable, predictable recurring revenue to fund our core services and get us out of the constant crisis,” she said.

Fallin also said she will continue to push for a pay raise for teachers and state employees.

“I’m encouraged by the good-faith pledge to me from legislative leaders of both parties that they will work on tackling these problems,” the governor said.


Of note, her executive order limits the special session to specifically deal with FY18 funding for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority. Her November 7th order for the first special session had eight different topics set for the agenda.

Health Dep't so bloated 200-employee layoff won't affect services?


The House Special Investigative Committee is digging into the scandal that is the fiscal mismanagement at the Oklahoma Department of Health. For more on the meetings the committee held this week, read these links: NewsOKNewsOKKFOR, and KOCO.

News9 reported this stunner of a statement by Secretary of Finance and interim Health Department head Preston Doerflinger:
Last week, the agency announced almost 200-layoffs. Doerflinger said the agency is so bloated those layoffs won’t have an impact on services. [emphasis mine]

To put that in perspective, the constitutional office of the State Auditor & Inspector has 109 employees, slightly more than half the number cut at the Department of Health.

Steve Fair has a great post entitled "Unchain the Watchdog!" where he points out that if the State Auditor's office wasn't handcuffed (Fallin's 2013 veto of expanded auditing authorities was brought up at the House committee meeting), this might have been uncovered sooner.

One interesting thing to note about Doerflinger is his changing story of when he became aware of the Health Department problems. His sworn testimony to the House committee was that he didn't find out until late October when it became public, but State Auditor Jones (who Doerflinger has clashed with repeatedly over the years, including trying to kick the Auditor's office from the Capitol building) produced text messages and phone call reports showing that Jones told Doerflinger in early September about the issues.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Did Fallin botch her veto?

During yesterday's meeting of the House Special Investigative Committee, looking into the Oklahoma Department of Health scandal, State Rep. Josh Cockroft (R-Wanette) turned up an interesting question: did Governor Fallin botch her veto of the special session budget bill to the point that no agency is currently operating with a legal budget?

Fallin's veto of the measure left off a crucial word that Cockroft, chairman of the committee, is concerned might have had the effect of vetoing the entire budget, which would create a massive legal crisis if it's the case.

More on this from OKC's FOX25 (if the video fails to work here, visit the link):



 Here's a tweet from FOX25's Phil Cross on the issue (more tweets here):




Murdock wins SD27 GOP Primary



State Rep. Casey Murdock (R-Felt) emerged victorious in the field of six Republican candidates seeking the nomination in the Senate District 27 special election primary held today.

Preliminary results from the Oklahoma Election Board:

  1. Casey Murdock - 33.17%
  2. Travis Templin - 28.23%
  3. Carolyn McLarty - 23.12%
  4. Jeff Hall - 12.81%
  5. Tommy Nicholson - 1.78%
  6. Michael Medill - 0.9%


Murdock will face Democrat Amber Jensen in the February 13, 2018 general election. If Murdock defeats Jensen, no special election will be held for the HD61 seat he currently holds, and the seat will remain vacant until the winner of the November 2018 election is sworn in.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Music Monday: Who Is He In Yonder Stall

This week's Music Monday is Who Is He In Yonder Stall, sung by the Collingsworth Family (a Southern gospel group).



Enjoy!

See below for all previous Music Monday posts. Do you have a song you'd like to suggest for a future Music Monday? Email me at JamisonFaught@MuskogeePolitico.com.


December 4th, 2017: Carol of the Bells (Mannheim Steamroller)
November 27th, 2017: Joy to the World!
November 20th, 2017: We Gather Together
November 13th, 2017: Mansions of the Lord
November 6th, 2017: Träumerei
October 30th: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 23rd, 2017: In Christ Alone
October 16th, 2017: When I'm Knee Deep In Bluegrass
October 9th, 2017: I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb
October 2nd, 2017: Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major (Brahms)
September 25th, 2017: Beethoven's Sonata No. 8 in C minor ('Pathétique')
September 11th, 2017: Have You Forgotten?
September 4th, 2017: Bach's Double Violin Concerto
August 28th, 2017: Noah Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
August 21st, 2017: The Heavens Are Telling The Glory of God
August 14th, 2017: Beethoven's 5th Symphony
August 7th, 2017: 'Lift High The Name Of Jesus' medley
July 31st, 2017: Fanfare for the Common Man
July 24th, 2017: Variations on 'Happy Birthday'
July 10th, 2017: Summer (Presto) from Vivaldi's Four Seasons
July 3rd, 2017: Freelance Fireworks Hall of Fame
June 26th, 2017: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
June 19th, 2017: A Christian Home
June 12th, 2017: Ol' Man River
June 5th, 2017: Choctaw Cowboy
May 29th, 2017: Armed Forces Salute
May 22nd, 2017: Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor
May 15th, 2017: Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 in D major
May 8th, 2017: The Army Goes Rolling Along
April 17th, 2017: He Is Alive
April 10th, 2017: Surely He Hath Borne/And With His Stripes/All We Like Sheep
April 3rd, 2017: Here Comes Carolina
March 27th, 2017: 'Spring' from Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons'
March 20th, 2017: Symphony No. 5 ("Reformation") Finale
March 13th, 2017: The Pigeon on the Gate
March 6th, 2017: Finlandia
February 27th, 2017: When I Can Read My Title Clear
February 20th, 2017: William Tell Overture - Finale
February 13th, 2017: 'Romance' from 'The Gadfly'
February 6th, 2017: White Winter Hymnal
January 30th, 2017: Hail, Columbia
January 23rd, 2017: Hail to the Chief
January 16th, 2017: Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy
January 2nd, 2017: Auld Lang Syne
December 26th, 2016: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
December 19th, 2016: I Wonder as I Wander
December 12th, 2016: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
December 5th, 2016: A Christmas Festival
November 28th, 2016: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
November 21st: Beethoven's 'Hymn of Thanksgiving'
November 14th: Hymn to the Fallen
November 7th: This World Is Not My Home
October 31st, 2016: A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
October 24th, 2016: 'Mars', from 'The Planets'
October 17th, 2016: My Shepherd Will Supply My Need
October 10th, 2016: Spain
October 3rd, 2016: International Harvester
September 26th, 2016: 'The Imperial March' from Star Wars
September 19th, 2016: Awake the Trumpet's Lofty Sound
September 12th, 2016: Before the Throne of God Above
September 5th, 2016: The Hunt
August 29th, 2016: Liberty
August 22nd, 2016: Summon the Heroes
August 15th, 2016: Bugler's Dream
August 8th, 2016: Olympic Fanfare and Theme
August 1st, 2016: 'Prelude' and 'Parade of the Charioteers' from Ben-Hur
July 25th, 2016: How The West Was Won
July 18th, 2016: Six Studies in English Folk Song
July 11th, 2016: From Everlasting To Everlasting
July 4th, 2016: The Stars and Stripes Forever
June 27th, 2016: Rule, Britannia!
June 20st, 2016: Bugler's Holiday
June 13th, 2016: Ride of the Valkyries
June 6th, 2016: Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 54, Allegro Vivace
May 30th, 2016: Armed Forces Salute
May 23rd, 2016: Paid in Full (Through Jesus, Amen)
May 16th, 2016: Overture from 'Carmen'
May 9th, 2016: L'Arlesienne Suite No. 1 - Prelude
May 2nd, 2016: My God Is a Rock
April 25th, 2016: Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
April 18th, 2016: Paganini's Caprice No. 24 in A Minor
April 11th, 2016: Fantasia on a 17th Century Tune
April 4th, 2016: Hark The Sound/I'm a Tarheel Born
March 28th, 2016: Rustle of Spring
March 21st, 2016: 'Ode to Joy' sung by a 10,000-voice choir
March 14th, 2016: Hard Times Come Again No More
March 7th, 2016: 'The Suite' from Downton Abbey
February 29th, 2016: Moonlight Sonata
February 22nd, 2016: Liebestraum No. 3
February 15th, 2016: Help Is On The Way
February 8th, 2016: God of Grace and God of Glory
February 1st, 2016: 'My Story'
January 25th, 2016: Israeli Concertino
January 18th, 2016: What Grace is Mine
January 11th, 2016: "Meditation" from Thaïs
January 4th, 2016: Praeludium and Allegro
December 28th, 2015: Appalachian Carol
December 21st, 2015: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen
December 14th, 2015: O Holy Night
December 7th, 2015: Christmas Fantasy
November 23rd, 2015: Simple Gifts
November 16th, 2015: Preacher Tell Me Like It Is
November 9th, 2015: Armed Forces Salute
November 2nd, 2015: Amazing Grace
October 26th, 2015: The Harmonious Blacksmith
October 19th, 2015: Liberty Fanfare
October 12th, 2015: The Majesty and Glory of Your Name
October 5th, 2015: Elgar's 'Enigma' Finale
September 28th, 2015: Stayed on Jesus
September 21st, 2015: Great Gate of Kiev
September 14th, 2015: Nearer, My God, To Thee

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Stitt hits Lamb on Tourism Dep't problems, crashed campaign call

In recent days, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Stitt has been hitting fellow GOP candidate and incumbent Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb on two different fronts.

The first issue is over the "crashing" of a Stitt campaign conference call by Lamb's campaign manager, Keith Beall. Joining the call after receiving a text message informing him that he was missing a campaign call, Beall believes he was "snookered" into falling for a political trick.

Stitt is pressing Lamb's campaign for information on who informed Beall of the call, while on their part the Lamb campaign told FOX 25 that they will "spend no more time on the subject", and instead "focus... on substantive issues".

The second topic Stitt has launched an attack from (similar to another GOP candidate, Gary Richardson) is tying Lamb to problems at the Oklahoma Department of Tourism. See the press release below:


GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE KEVIN STITT ASKS WHY LT. GOVERNOR FAILED TO ADDRESS TOURISM AGENCY IN ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT GOVERNMENT REFORM

TULSA, Oklahoma (Nov. 30, 2017) – Kevin Stitt, a Tulsa businessman and Republican gubernatorial candidate, released the following statement today in response to Todd Lamb’s gubernatorial campaign ethics proposal at the State Capitol:

“It is concerning that in response to a federal government investigation into Oklahoma’s Department of Tourism, the chair of the agency would fail to address this latest state government scandal. The Tourism Department is without an internal auditor and the agency is potentially engaged in illegal activity, and the Lt. Governor’s response is wholly inadequate and insufficient.

“State government has been racked in recent months with repeated instances of misconduct and mismanagement. We need a culture change at the State Capitol while also acknowledging very egregious – and potentially illegal – activity at our state agencies. It is time for wholesale change of Oklahoma’s state government.

“Only a conservative political outsider leading a group of concerned citizens can deliver real, needed change.”

On Wednesday evening, KOKH-TV’s Phil Cross broke a news story that the U.S. Department of Labor is investigating the Oklahoma Tourism Department.

This election cycle is just beginning, and it's going to get interesting.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Admiral Greg Slavonic (Ret) endorses Hern for Congress


Greg Slavonic Endorses Kevin Hern For Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional Seat

Tulsa, OK – Retired Navy Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic has endorsed Kevin Hern for Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional Seat being vacated by Representative Jim Bridenstine after he was nominated by President Trump to head NASA.

“Kevin Hern is the best candidate to keep our military and navy well equipped and always vigilant to defend against any enemy. He will take care of our veterans who have kept us free and secure," stated Slavonic. "He knows what needs to be fixed so we can get back to a robust economy. Kevin Hern is the only candidate with the demonstrated leadership ability to finish the job.”

Serving the Navy through several additional combat tours, including but not limited to Operation Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom II, Rear Adm. Slavonic served as the U.S. Navy’s Deputy to the Chief of Information in Washington, D.C. and Director of Public Affairs (Reserve) from June 2001 to 2005. In this role, he served as deputy to the Chief of Information responsible for all aspects of the Navy’s Public Affairs Program and adviser on Strategic Communications issues.

“It seemed fitting to announce this endorsement from fellow Oklahoman and a renowned Navy Admiral on the day that we remember our fallen Navy heroes at Pearl Harbor," said Hern. "This day reminds us that we must always remain strong and vigilant. We need to rebuild and revitalize our armed forces to keep our nation secure. This requires an economy that is postured for steady and sustained growth, year over year. Admiral Slavonic knows that I am the only candidate in the race with firsthand experience in dealing with so many regulations that shackle our small businesses and ultimately our entire free-market economy. I am proud to have Admiral Slavonic’s endorsement.”

As the owner of KTAK Corporation, Kevin leads the operations that own ten McDonald’s restaurants that employ over 400 people in the Tulsa area. Kevin has served in various regional and national leadership positions within the McDonald’s Franchise System. Most recently, he served 5 years as the Chairman of the Systems Economic Team for over 3,000 franchisees that own all 15,000 restaurants across the entire country.

Fallin Sets 2nd Special Session Date for December 18th

Looks like Governor Fallin was dead-serious about putting the Legislature in session on Christmas. In order to pass any tax increases the Legislature would need to be in session for at least ten legislative days; even if the legislature met on Saturday and Sunday, the quickest they could be done would be the 27th of December.



Governor Mary Fallin Sets Second Special Session Date

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today set the date for lawmakers to return in special session to address the shortfall in the current fiscal year budget.

The governor set the beginning date of the second extraordinary session of the 56th Legislature to convene Monday, Dec. 18.

Fallin did not file an executive order, or an official call, for the special session. She will do that at a later date.

“Discussions are continuing with legislators and Oklahomans in all types of professions from across the state on a long-term, predictable solution to fix our budget and fund core services,” said Fallin. “Budget plan estimates are being developed on various revenue proposals. Instead of waiting for final details, I wanted to give legislators enough notice as possible about when they should return to the Capitol.

“This will also give us time to get the latest revenue estimates for the upcoming 2019 fiscal year. A preliminary estimate of available funds for legislative appropriation will be available that week for the Dec. 20 meeting of the Board of Equalization. I am hopeful the estimate will show revenue growth for the 2019 fiscal year. But even if it does, there will be a need for additional revenue to address the combination of one-time funds currently in the budget, the current fiscal year shortfall from the loss of cigarette fee revenue, spending obligations for 2019, and money to give our teachers and state employees a much-needed pay raise. These items taken together will approach close to $800 million.

“As I travel across the state I see signs of positive economic activity, and I believe the future looks bright for the state,” the governor said. “However, I expect any additional growth in revenue coming to the state treasury will not be enough to put us on the stable foundation we want to see and give teachers a raise. In recent years, we have patched over our problems by using one-time money that, in effect, borrows from Peter to pay Paul. We know we still have a budget hole for this fiscal year of about $111 million from the loss of cigarette fee revenue that will result in cuts that the Health Care Authority will need to make starting January 1 and the Department of Human Services by February 1 if we don’t identify more funding.

“Before the session begins, I intend to make specific recommendations on how we can balance the budget and meet our immediate needs. I’ll be working with legislative leaders and others with the goal of having at least the outline of an agreement ready for legislators later this month.”

The governor last month vetoed most of the revised budget bill approved by legislators in the special session. She kept intact parts of the bill that temporarily preserved funding for key health and human services until lawmakers return in another special session to approve long-term funding solutions.

She vetoed all but five of the 170 sections contained in the budget measure, saying it did not provide a long-term solution to the re-occurring budget deficits experienced by the state the past three years. The current 2018 fiscal year budget includes $509 million of one-time funds and future obligations of at least $180 million not included in the 2018 fiscal year budget, which combined results in a starting deficit of almost $700 million for the 2019 fiscal year.