Saturday, October 31, 2020

Small: “Aha” moments affect party politics

“Aha” moments affect party politics
by Jonathan Small

This year’s presidential campaigns are causing many people to have “aha” moments that defy partisan stereotypes.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden says he will repeal the tax cuts enacted under President Trump and add many new taxes. When analysts reviewed the combined state-federal tax rates that would result under Biden’s proposals, they found top rates would surge to 62 percent in New York, for example. That prompted Rapper 50 Cent to declare, “I don’t want to be 20 Cent.”

Rapper Lil’ Wayne in a recent tweet praised Trump for his work on criminal justice reform and inclusion of Wayne’s proposals that empower ownership in black communities.

Rapper Ice Cube reached out to both political parties to discuss his proposals to help black Americans. The Trump administration included some of Ice Cube’s ideas in the campaign’s agenda. Ice Cube lamented that all Democrats did was pay lip service with constant references to “minorities” and “people of color”. 

In Ice Cube’s video discussing the two parties’ response, he looked somber. That’s a common reaction for those confronted with reality. Nationwide, there’s often a glaring gap between what people have been told about the two political parties and reality.

Here’s a few examples.

Lock her up: Oklahoma woman gets 10 life sentences for child sex abuse

Lincoln County Woman Receives 10 Life Sentences for Crimes Involving Child Sex Abuse 

CHANDLER (October 30th) – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced a Lincoln County woman will serve 10 life sentences in prison after a jury found her guilty of multiple sex crimes involving four children with her boyfriend, who was convicted and sentenced last year.

According to court documents, Crystal Bales, 35, and Johnathan Moran, 43, involved all of their biological children in the sex acts. Three of the children tested positive for meth and one tested positive for marijuana. The children’s ages ranged from nine months to 10 years old. 

Two of the children belonged to Bales and Moran. Each had one child with another partner.

Attorney General Hunter said crimes against children will never be tolerated by his office.   

“The children in this case suffered unimaginable horrors at the hands of monsters,” Attorney General Hunter said. “These individuals have no business being a part of our society, and we want to ensure they, and those who do unspeakable acts to children stay behind bars for as long as possible. I want to thank Senior Deputy Attorney General Joy Thorp for her work and dedication on this case. She and Lincoln County Assistant District Attorney Greg Wilson worked tirelessly to guarantee Bales won’t be able to hurt another child for the rest of her life.”

Moran was charged with seven counts of sexual abuse involving children under 12. He accepted a plea deal and was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The Lincoln County case number is: CF-2018-00010

Election Night: OKGOP watch party in Edmond, OK Dems in Tulsa

The Oklahoma Republican and Democratic parties will be holding election night watch parties on Tuesday, November 3rd, to observe election returns and celebrate their successes (or mourn their losses, depending on the situation).

The Republican event is free, while the Democratic party is $5. I find it interesting that the GOP event is in the OKC metro, in the hotly-contested 5th Congressional District, while the Democrats will be holding theirs in Tulsa.

OKGOP Red Wave Election Night Watch Party

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, October 30, 2020 -The Oklahoma Republican Party announced today its general election watch party will be held Tuesday, November 3 in Edmond. All GOP candidates, campaign supporters and volunteers are invited to attend. Media are encouraged to arrive early for set up.

The event is free, but for security measures, attendees need to register here.

  • What: Oklahoma Republican Party General Election Watch Party
  • When: Tuesday, November 3
  • Time: 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Edmond Conference Center at Hilton Garden Inn
  • Location: 2833 Conference Drive, Edmond, OK
  • Contact: David McLain, 918.557.0687,,

Masks are required in all public areas of the hotel before entering the ballroom. Sanitizing stations will be provided.

Oklahoma Democratic Party Election Night Watch Party

Join us on election night for a socially-distanced election watch party!

On Tuesday, November 3rd at 6:30 PM, we are hosting a watch party at Driller's Stadium in Tulsa! We will watch the election results roll in together and celebrate our victories!

All attendees will be required to wear a mask and comply with CDC guidelines.

Tickets are available for just $5 a person! Register here. Interested in a private suite? You can reserve one by clicking here.

Here's what you need to know about the State Questions on the ballot

Earlier in the week, I published What you need to know about the judges on the ballot. In this post, I'll focus in on the two state questions that are on the ballot. This information is largely derived from a brief presentation I gave at my church. 

I got some of my material from these helpful articles (SQ805, SQ814) at Ballotpedia, in addition to information from supporting and opposing organizations, and this excellent post on SQ805 at BatesLine.

Maps: see where the GOP and Dems are overperforming in Oklahoma Early Voting

The Oklahoma State Election Board has been releasing data on the early voting turnout by day, with Saturday set to be the final day for early voting to take place. I took a look at the statistics, and put together these two maps to show what's currently going on.

This first map compares the voter registration leader in each county to the proportion of voters by party who have voted early thus far. A blue county means a higher percentage of Democrats have voted than are registered in that county, and vice-versa for red counties. 

Example A: as of January 2020, Adair County had 47.46% Democratic and 40.26% Republican. As of 5pm Friday, 46.38% of Adair County early voters were Republicans and 41.85% were Democrats. Adair County goes on the map as red due to a higher proportion of Republicans casting early votes than are registered.  

Example B: as of January 2020, Caddo County was 47.52% Democratic and 38.47% Republican. As of 5pm Friday, 53.16% of Adair County early voters were Democrats and 40.36% were Republicans. Adair County goes on the map as blue due to a higher proportion of Democrats casting early votes than are registered. 

Now for the map:

This next map looks at which counties have "flipped" so far in early voting.

Example A: as of January 2020, Johnson County was 51.13% Democratic and 35.95% Republican. As of 5pm Friday, 37.18% of Johnson County early voters were Democrats and 54.4% were Republicans. Atoka County is a registered Democrat-majority county with more Republicans voting early thus far than Democrats.

Example B: as of January 2020, Cleveland County was 47.9% Republican and 33.18% Democratic. As of 5pm Friday, 44.03% of Cleveland County early voters were Democrats and 41.79% were Republicans. Cleveland County is a registered Republican-plurality county with more Democrats voting early thus far than Republicans.

The map:

Stitt names Ryan Leonard as Special Counsel for Native American Affairs


OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 30, 2020) -- Governor Kevin Stitt announced today the hiring of attorney Ryan Leonard to serve as Special Counsel for Native American Affairs. 

In this role, Leonard will assist the Governor and his administration on issues arising from the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, through which the Court ruled the Creek Nation reservation still exists within the State of Oklahoma.

The jurisdictional and other legal issues raised by the McGirt decision are unprecedented, and will require close cooperation with the Congressional delegation, other state officials and tribal leaders to resolve.

Friday, October 30, 2020

State Sen. Weaver, State Rep. Roe: SQ805 would endanger Oklahoma healthcare workers

The following press release is from Oklahomans United Against 805:

Safety of Oklahoma Healthcare Workers Threatened by SQ 805 
Oklahoma hospitals report between 5 to 10 assaults on workers every day
Oklahoma City — SQ 805, the effort to reduce incarceration by lessening penalties on habitual offenders, has come under fire from those who have worked to protect Oklahoma’s front-line health care workers. 

“It is unconscionable, especially during this time of Covid, that any group would seek to lessen punishment for those who attack our healthcare workers,” stated Darrell Weaver, the state senator who authored SB 1290 to increase the range of punishment for those assaulting medical professionals in the line of duty.  

SQ 805 would restrict the ability of judges and juries to extend harsher penalties on habitual criminals, such as those who attack health care workers.  SQ 805 uses Title 57, Section 571 as it existed on January 1, 2020, to define the difference between violent and non-violent felonies.  Assault on a medical professional is not on that list.  

“We have worked for years to extend the protections to our nurses,” Weaver continued.  “SQ 805 is a substantial step backwards.  It will prohibit the use of prior felony convictions to extend the punishment of those attacking the very folks we depend on.  SQ 805 will forever enshrine in our constitution that such attacks are quote, non-violent, un-quote,” Weaver added.  

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

OCPAC posts "Charlie's Picks" for the 2020 election

Historically one of the highly anticipated "picks" of each election cycle, former Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee chairman Charlie Meadows has posted his thoughts on the 2020 election.


These picks are a combination of my opinions based on information I have as well as OCPAC endorsements. I am also using information from iVoter Guide, OK2A, the Parental Rights organization, and other personal resources.

With a recent and expanded knowledge of the aggressive and well-funded Marxist movement in Oklahoma, OCPAC will support some candidates we might not have supported in the past.

This Marxist movement must be squashed. Hopefully, in two years, we will be in a position to expose it at every level. We hope that in the future, it will be a liability to be known as a Marxist/socialist.

I didn't vote for him in 2016, but will do so with joy in 2020. His gross exaggerations and arrogant attitude bother me greatly. His policies make him the best president in my lifetime. He has been able to accomplish remarkable achievements in the face of the greatest opposition of any President in modern times.

There has not been a reason put forth which would remotely suggest a need to replace Commissioner HIETT.

Jim’s seniority allows him to chair 2 really important committees. One dealing with environmental issues where Jim is a knowledgeable voice of reason. The second involves military affairs. Under Obama/Biden our military degraded rapidly. Under Trump/Pence and Inhofe we are making great progress toward a place of needed readiness. The well-funded Abby Broyles is one of the new radical leftists that deserves to be sent back to the dust heap of poor ideas.

In 2018 the American public almost "politically assassinated" President Trump when they flipped the majority in the house from Republicans to Democrats. This allowed Nancy Pelosi to become Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and in turn support all sorts of evil and oppose all kinds of good. The only contested race in Oklahoma is Congressional District 5 where the well-financed Kendra Horn upset the half-asleep Steve Russell in 2018. It is imperative this seat be recaptured by Stephanie Bice to move control of the House one seat closer to the Republicans.


An incredibly busy fellow that took out the incumbent Republican Wayne Shaw who bottled up an important second amendment bill sponsored by OK2A. We were not able to meet during our interview time. However, we have agreed to meet once he is in OKC for session.

I believe Mr. Burns beat the better Republican candidate in the primary runoff election by a mere 22 votes. I have had a couple of phone conversations with him and believe him to be better than the Democrat.

Bob and I found Mr. Hamilton to be a thoughtful man of convictions. This was a very hard fought primary where Mr. Hamilton eventually defeated Senator Larry BOGGS in the primary run off.

I would have no problem with Senator BOGGS publicly saying he could not vote for Mr. Hamilton. However, for BOGGS to come out and endorse the Democrat is a step too far as he has shown himself to be a bitter loser.

By the way, Mr. Hamilton far more aligns with the Republican Party platform than Senator BOGGS ever thought of.

GOP Senator Larry Boggs, who lost in runoff, endorses Democrat over Republican

State Senator Larry Boggs (R-Wilburton) lost his re-election bid in the State Senate District 7 GOP runoff to upstart challenger Warren Hamilton. Hamilton was supported by Oklahoma abortion abolitionist community, and won in a hard-fought contest.

It's not unusual for there to be hard feelings after a rough primary season. What is unusual is for incumbent Republicans to follow that up by endorsing liberal Democrats. That's what Larry Boggs has now done.

Oklahoma officials react to Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation

 The U.S. Senate voted to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the U.S. Supreme Court's newest associate Justice yesterday evening, by a vote of 52 to 48. Following her confirmation, she was sworn in at a special ceremony at the White House by Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, with President Donald Trump and Barrett's husband looking on.

Here are statements from both of Oklahoma's U.S. Senators, all 4 Republican U.S. House members, and Attorney General Mike Hunter:

Deadline to request an Absentee Ballot is TODAY


Deadline to Request an Absentee Ballot is TODAY

(Oklahoma City) - The deadline to request an absentee ballot for the November 3 election is 5 p.m. Tuesday, October 27, 2020.

The fastest, easiest way to request an absentee ballot is online using the OK Voter Portal. Voters can also download an Absentee Ballot Request Form from the State Election Board website and fax, email or hand-deliver their request to their County Election Board.

Absentee ballot requests must be received no later than 5 p.m. on October 27. Voters who are incapacitated after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, may request an “emergency incapacitated” absentee ballot with proper documentation. Voters will need to contact their County Election Board for more information.

Absentee ballot requests are processed daily. However, voters should remember to allow plenty of time to vote and return their ballots.

Absentee ballots can be returned using the U.S. postal service or any private delivery service that provides delivery documentation. Ballots returned by mail or private delivery service must be received by the voter’s County Election Board no later than 7 p.m. on election night.

“Standard” absentee ballots may be hand-delivered to the voter’s County Election Board, provided ballots are returned no later than the end of business day, the Monday prior to the Election (November 2). “Physically incapacitated” absentee ballots can only be returned by mail or private delivery service.

Voters with questions should contact their County Election Board for more information.

Monday, October 26, 2020

No on 805 campaign releases hard-hitting new ad

NEW TV AD: Oklahomans United against 805 Release New TV Spot Highlighting a Serial Domestic Violence Offender Who Would Be Released if 805 Passes
Oklahoma City — Oklahomans United against 805 launched a new TV ad today, and top District Attorneys have a warning today for their fellow Oklahomans: If State Question 805 passes, hardened criminals like the perpetrator featured in the new TV spot will be let out of jail to re-offend.
In their remarks at a press conference today, Oklahoma’s District Attorneys debunked S.Q. 805’s central theme that “non-violent” offenders were nearly “first-time”’ offenders.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Through their new TV ad, Oklahomans United against 805 have identified yet another repeat offender who would benefit greatly from the leniency provided to career criminals if S.Q. 805 is passed.
The new features Randall A. Cornelius, a repeat offender who has been arrested 25 times and who is listed as a suspect in at least 36 police reports. His list of offenses is long: kidnapping; strangulation; robbery of a disabled senior citizen; DUI (twice); drug possession and distribution (8 times); domestic violence; felon in possession of firearms; stolen vehicle; destruction of property; and more.
However, perhaps his worst offense is the reported stabbing spree he went on against a girlfriend. KOCO 5 TV reported at the time that Cornelius, who has a “long, violent criminal history,” went on to commit a “brutal and bloody attack on his girlfriend” in front of a convenience store. Even after she ran for help into the store and sought to take cover behind the cashier stand, Cornelius continued stabbing her. The Midwest City police chief stated that if an officer hadn’t been nearby to help within seconds, the event would have been a homicide.  Cornelius was arrested for the attack, in what was his 36th police investigation since 1998.
The repeat offender is now serving time in prison in Holdenville, but— under S.Q. 805, his sentence would be lessened due to the sentence enhancements for his prior crimes. If 805 passes, Cornelius would be back out into the community to surely commit further crimes.
Simply put, Cornelius’s 25 prior arrests would be hidden if S.Q. 805 passes.
“If we respect women and we respect victim’s rights, we must vote no on 805,” said Kim Garrett, founder and CEO of Palomar domestic violence center. “If State Question 805 passes, it would let perpetrators like Cornelius back into the community to commit further crimes, and perhaps even return to kill his prior victim. In a civil society, we must protect women from repeat offenders such as this.”
Further details of his stabbing spree: KOCO 5: “Police: Man Arrested in Midwest City Stabbing Has Long Violent Criminal History and OKC FOX: Police: Woman Stabbed Multiple Times outside Oklahoma City OnCue.
PLUS: In addition to speaking about the new ad featuring a repeat violent offender, District Attorneys today answered Q&A specifically about the fact that if S.Q. 805 passes, it will:
  1. Be retroactive — therefore, breaking promises to many Domestic Violence victims and their children;
  2. Change the Oklahoma Constitution — thus, harder to change in the future;
  3. Redefine FOREVER what is classified as “non-violent,” tragically including:
    a.    Domestic Violence
    b.    Crimes against Children
    c.     Home Burglaries
    d.    Arson — even with bodily injuries
    e.    DUI
View the new TV ad below:
<center><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></center>

Here's what you need to know about the judges on the ballot

It's voting time, and you're here because you don't want to be surprised when you see eight judges and justices on your ballot that you know nothing about. Thanks for dropping by!

If you've ever done the frustrating task of searching for information on these courts and judges, I feel your pain. As I mentioned in a previous post, finding information on the justices and judges on the retention ballot can be a difficult task, and basic information such as their ages can be anywhere from difficult to find to completely unknown to even Google.

In this post, we'll cover the following justices and judges, which are on every Oklahoma voter's ballot:
  • Supreme Court - Tom Colbert 
  • Supreme Court - Richard Darby 
  • Supreme Court - Matthew John Kane IV 
  • Criminal Appeals - Robert Hudson 
  • Criminal Appeals - Gary Lumpkin 
  • Civil Appeals - Deborah Barnes 
  • Civil Appeals - Keith Rapp 
  • Civil Appeals - Jane Wiseman

A quick explainer before we move to the judges themselves. From
Oklahoma Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Civil Appeal are called "appellate courts," because they hear cases that have been appealed, and judges on these courts are thus called "appellate judges."

Appellate judges are first appointed by the governor from a list of three names of qualified individuals prepared by the Judicial Nominating Commission. At the end of their terms, appellate judges wishing to remain in office must declare their candidacy for retention. When a judge seeks retention, the judge's name is placed on the ballot at the next general election. Then Oklahoma voters can select "yes" to vote to retain that judge, or "no" to vote to not retain that judge. The Oklahoma Constitution provides that if an appellate judge does not receive a majority of "yes" votes, the office becomes vacant and the governor appoints a replacement.

If the judge does not file for retention or is not retained by voters, the governor appoints a new judge. 
Since Oklahoma went to this system in the 1960s, no judge has ever lost a retention vote. Each of these courts have six-year terms, so keep that in mind as you consider each of these judges and justices.

What's very important to remember is that the Governor is the individual who places judges and justices on these courts, so ultimately, they're respective political beliefs and party platforms influence and inform who they select to serve on the bench. If by some miracle one of the eight judges on the ballot this year becomes the first in history to lose a retention vote, Governor Kevin Stitt (R) would get to appoint a replacement. Do you like Governor Stitt? Are you a conservative or Republican? You might be more favorable to voting no on some of these judges then, as if the judge loses, Gov. Stitt gets the opportunity to appoint a replacement.

By the same token, the party affiliation of the Governor who appointed each of these judges is a contributing factor for you to consider. Do you agree more with the Republican Party platform, or with the Democratic Party platform? When appointing justices and judges, Democratic and Republican governors each have tendencies that generally mirror their party platforms. The judicial beliefs of their appointed judges usually follow (not always, but generally). Your position on the differing platforms is an important point to remember.

After giving what useful information I was able to find online, I will conclude each judge by listing how I will be voting, along with suggestions from conservative Tulsa blogger Michael Bates and conservative activists Steve Fair and Georgia Williams from the Lawton/Duncan area, both being sources that I trust.

Supreme Court (6 year term)

Justice Tom Colbert (71) was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Democratic Governor Brad Henry in 2004.

He is the first African-American member of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In college, he was All-Conference in the triple jump and All-American in the long jump. Colbert was a member of the U.S. Army's Criminal Investigation Division from 1973 to 1975, receiving an honorable discharge in 1975. He later taught in Chicago public schools and law school in the late 1970s-early 1980s, was an assistant DA for two years, and then had nearly 15 years of private practice. Republican Gov. Frank Keating appointed him to the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals in 2000, the first African-American judge on that court.

When the State Supreme Court ruled that the 10 Commandments Monument had to be removed from the groups of the State Capitol, Justice Colbert was one of two who dissented. However, on the three most recent cases relating to abortion, Justice Colbert took the pro-abortion side every time.

I will be voting 'no' (do not retain) on Justice Tom Colbert. Michael Bates agrees with this position, as well as Steve Fair and Georgia Williams.

Justice Richard Darby (62) was appointed to the Oklahoma Supreme Court by Republican Governor Mary Fallin in 2018.

Darby served as a district judge for 23 years before his appointment to the Supreme Court. Before that, he was a Special Judge for four years, then Associate District Judge for four years, for a total of nearly thirty-five years of judicial work. His wife was the longtime superintendent of Altus Christian Academy before retiring this year.

On two different cases relating to abortion since he joined the Court, Justice Darby took the pro-life side both times. 

I will be voting 'yes' (do retain) on Justice Darby. Fair and Williams concur, while Bates plans to vote no in order to give Gov. Stitt a new position to fill (and an opportunity to "continue his winning streak" on Supreme Court justices) has shifted to a 'yes' vote upon further consideration.

Justice Matthew John Kane IV (58) was appointed by Republican Governor Kevin Stitt in 2019.

Kane is a former district judge of 14 years. He is a homeschool dad, and a Roman Catholic. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Kane had also served as the Presiding Judge on the Oklahoma Court on the Judiciary- the body that actually judges other judges. His great-grandfather (and namesake) was on the original Oklahoma Supreme Court, serving from 1907 to 1923.

On the one case relating to abortion since he joined the Court, Justice Kane took the pro-life side.

I will be voting 'yes' (do retain) on Justice Kane. Fair and Williams agree, as does Bates (who knows Kane personally and speaks very highly of him).

Court of Criminal Appeals (6 year term)

Judge Robert Hudson (63) was appointed by Republican Governor Mary Fallin in 2015.

Hudson is a former district attorney of 16 years, with 13 years of private law practice before that. He served as First Assistant Attorney General for a year, and then had two years as a Special Judge before joining the Court of Criminal Appeals. Hudson is a deacon and Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Church of Guthrie, and runs a wheat and cow-calf operation near Guthrie.

I will be voting 'yes' (do retain) on Judge Hudson. Fair and Williams concur, while Bates argues for a 'no' vote in light of Hudson's ruling on the Daniel Holtzclaw case.

Judge Gary Lumpkin (74) was appointed by Republican Governor Henry Bellmon in 1989.

Lumpkin served on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1968-1971, including 18 months in Vietnam. He retired with thirty years of service on June 1, 1998, with the rank of Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He completed his military service as one of only two Marine Reserve judges assigned to the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. Lumpkin spent the late 70's and the 80's as an Assistant District Attorney, First Assistant District Attorney, Associate District Judge, and then and four years as a District Judge before his appointment to the Court of Criminal Appeals. He is a member of Waterloo Road Baptist Church in Edmond. An acquaintance of mine who worked for Lumpkin calls him 'to the right of Scalia'.

I will be voting 'yes' (do retain) on Judge Lumpkin. Fair and Williams disagree and call for a 'no' vote (seemingly due to his long time on the court), while Bates argues for a 'no' vote in light of Hudson's ruling on the Daniel Holtzclaw case.

Court of Civil Appeals (6 year term)

Judge Deborah Barnes (66) was appointed by Democratic Governor Brad Henry in 2008.

Barnes was in private sector legal and oil/gas work before being tapped by Gov. Henry. It does not seem that she had any prior judicial experience, unlike most of the individuals on these various courts. She appears to serve on the board of elders for Harvard Avenue Christian Church in Tulsa (a very liberal denomination).

I will be voting 'no' (do not retain) on Judge Barnes. Fair and Williams and Bates likewise call for 'no' votes.

Judge Keith Rapp (86) has served on the Court of Civil Appeals since 1984, when he unseated an incumbent judge for the first time in the history of the court. Starting in 1986, the Court of Civil Appeals joined the retention ballot used by the Supreme and Criminal Appeals courts, and most sources online indicate that Democratic Governor George Nigh re-appointed Judge Rapp to the Court, where he had been retained ever since. As I said previously, some information regarding these judges is almost impossible to find. The Court of Civil Appeals webpage doesn't even have a biography of any of their judges (literally just a group photo and list of names).

Rapp served in the US Navy from 1953-1955, with two aircraft carrier tours to the Far East. Later, he seems to have been an instructor of Sino-Soviet relations and atomic and biological warfare in the Naval Reserves Officers’ School, and retired at a later date from the U.S. Naval Reserves as a Judge Advocate General Corps commander. Back in civilian life, he worked as an aerospace engineer, specializing in guidance and navigation systems, working on the Mercury, Apollo, Lunar Lander and Skylab projects. Rapp is the longest serving judge on the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals

I will be voting 'no' (do not retain) on Judge Rapp. Fair and Williams and Bates likewise call for 'no' votes.

Judge Jane Wiseman (73) was appointed by Democratic Governor Brad Henry (D) in 2005.

Wiseman worked in the private legal field before being appointed a special district judge, and then district judge in the late 70's and early 80's. She officiated the first homosexual marriage in Oklahoma in direct contradiction to the 2004 state constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman, calling it a “joyous occasion” (featured prominently in reporting by the Tulsa World). Wiseman is a member of First Presbyterian Church in Tulsa, which is affiliated with the very liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination.

I will be voting 'no' (do not retain) on Judge Wiseman. Fair and Williams also recommend 'no' votes, and Bates points out particularly egregious and contradictory rulings she made in Tulsa County before her elevation to the Court of Civil Appeals (he also urges a 'no' vote).

Again, as a quick recap, here are the judges and justices, along with my voting recommendation:

  • Supreme Court - Tom Colbert (No)
  • Supreme Court - Richard Darby (Yes)
  • Supreme Court - Matthew John Kane IV (Yes)
  • Criminal Appeals - Robert Hudson (Yes)
  • Criminal Appeals - Gary Lumpkin (Yes)
  • Civil Appeals - Deborah Barnes (No)
  • Civil Appeals - Keith Rapp (No)
  • Civil Appeals - Jane Wiseman (No)

I hope this information has been helpful to you. Pass it along to any voter you know that is in need of this material before they cast their ballot! No guarantees, but I'll try to do a similar post regarding State Question 805 and State Question 814.

You can help support the work here at by indulging this quick pitch. While you're here, let me quickly introduce you to GetUpside, an easy way to save on fuel. 

GetUpside is a mobile app that gets you cash back on fuel purchases, which you can redeem for gift cards, PayPal, or a physical check. Gift cards include retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Apple, Google Play, Domino's, Lowe's, Starbucks, and more. Participating gas stations are listed with a cents-off amount. 

Below is a screenshot on some areas here in Oklahoma, showing retailers that participate with GetUpside (prices were valid on the evening of October 26th). And yes, some of those stations are offering in excess of 20¢ back per gallon:

click to view full size

In my experience, most E-Z Mart stations in Oklahoma participate, along with quite a few Valero, Shell, and Sinclair stations. On road trips through states like Kansas and Tennessee, BP and Shell seem to be pretty common. There are a total of 122 gas stations in Oklahoma that you can use GetUpside at, and over 12,100 nationwide.

I've used GetUpside for just over a year, and saved nearly $80 on fuel thus far. Just the other day, I checked in at a participating gas station to save 17¢ per gallon. That's a pretty good savings, don't you think? Use my promo code by signing up at this link. Your first use will get an additional 15¢ off per gallon! 

You can view other money-saving apps I use, along with promo codes to get you jumpstarted, at this page

Thanks for humoring me and reading to the very end! I hope all of the information in this post is helpful to you. 

Column: A Plan to Put Teachers in Charge, Give Parents Choices, and Benefit Children

A Plan to Put Teachers in Charge, Give Parents Choices, and Benefit Children
By Mike Davis

Have you ever stopped to consider how different American education is from everything else we do? It’s been this way so long that it’s difficult to imagine anything else. We group children by age, not by knowledge or ability. We send them to schools based on address, not teaching methodology or learning style. Parents have very little say over which school their children can attend. And teachers, the practitioners who are trained to educate, who are in the classroom every day, who are the heart of the education system, are denied the autonomy to use their expertise to the fullest.

Compare this to a law firm. Clients choose their attorney based on their needs and demands. Lawyers are grouped by specialty, not age. And support staff answer to lawyers. In contrast, public school teachers might answer to librarians, counselors, and technology staff, as well as the principal. As schools have transitioned from education centers to one-stop-shops for child-centered social programs, the focus on education has waned. So too has teachers’ status. They used to be the reason schools existed; now they are cogs in a social-work center.

1889 has proposed a solution to put teachers back in the driver seat, and give parents more options for educating their children. In a Professional Teacher Charter, a teacher must be in charge of curriculum delivery. The law gives experienced teachers the opportunity to open a school, funded on the same basis as other charter schools. Teachers will be free to try new teaching methods. Parents will be free to choose the school that best fits their child. Oklahoma will become a laboratory of pedagogy, with students attending the school that works best for them.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

ODOT reminds candidates that campaign signs don’t belong along highways

 ODOT reminds candidates to obey the law and keep campaign signs away from highways

As the Nov. 3 general election approaches, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation reminds political candidates and volunteers to stay safe, save taxpayer money and keep Oklahoma’s highways and interstates free of unsightly, damaging and costly litter by keeping campaign signs out of highway rights-of-way.

Placing campaign signs to help promote candidates may be a regular occurrence, but the areas along highways or on bridges remain off-limits. State law strictly prohibits such signs from being placed in state rights-of-way because of safety concerns. Not only can illegally placed signs block drivers’ views at intersections, medians or ramps, but the sign placement endangers volunteers who try to post them along high-speed roadways or on bridges. Generally, the public right-of-way includes the area of grass between a highway and the nearby fence. In cities and towns, the right-of-way can extend past the curb to include the grass and sidewalk area along a highway.

“We ask all candidates and their supporters to respect the law and protect our motorists and workers by not placing campaign signs on state highway rights-of-way and bridges,” ODOT Maintenance Engineer Taylor Henderson said.

The best strategy for safe, legal politicking is for candidates to place signs on private property with the landowner’s permission. Inside city limits, candidates should check local ordinances for questions regarding municipal streets and rights-of-way. However, even within city limits, signs are prohibited on state-maintained highways, overpasses and bridges.

When signs are illegally placed, ODOT crews spend time away from other highway maintenance operations to remove them, which can be time-consuming, hazardous and dangerous work close to oncoming traffic. Removal of litter, including illegal signs, also delays highway mowing since the signs and metal posts could damage state equipment.

Each year, nearly $6 million in taxpayer dollars are spent by the department to pick up trash along Oklahoma highways, including illegally placed signs. This money comes out of ODOT’s maintenance budget, the same source of funds for patching potholes, repairing guardrail, mowing and clearing snow and ice. This expense is in addition to the untold amounts of time and money volunteer groups and local governments spend annually removing litter.

The department reminds candidates to obey the law and keep campaign signs off Oklahoma bridges and highway rights-of-way.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Oklahoma delegation introduces bill to rename Owasso Post Office after fallen Air Nat'l Guardsman

Oklahoma delegation introduces legislation renaming Owasso Post Office after late Sgt. Marshal Roberts

TULSA, OK (October 20th) – Representative Kevin Hern (OK-01) introduced legislation on Friday to rename the U.S. Post Office located at 1233 North Cedar Street in Owasso, Okla., after fallen Air National Guardsman, Sergeant Marshal Roberts.

Sgt. Roberts, from Owasso, gave his life in service to our country while deployed in Iraq in March 2020.

The entire Oklahoma delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives joined Rep. Hern as original co-sponsors of the bill.

“Sergeant Marshal Roberts served his country with integrity and gave his all in the line of duty this spring,” said Congressman Hern. “His legacy has inspired so many; renaming the Owasso Post Office ensures his legacy will live on for our community to see every day. Oklahomans have incredible respect for those who serve our country. We will never forget Sgt. Roberts and his sacrifice.”

OCPA column: Leaders in all fields raise alarm on McGirt decision

Leaders in all fields raise alarm on McGirt decision
By Jonathan Small

Numerous leaders in many fields are raising the alarm about the repercussions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma, which declared the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s reservation was never disestablished.

Those critiques highlight why Oklahoma and tribal governments must agree to a uniform set of rules and regulations for all citizens, no matter where they live or their heritage. To do otherwise will not only produce chaos but also drive jobs and opportunity out of the state.

While McGirt dealt with only one tribe and one issue (criminal prosecution), it is expected to extend to five tribes with territories covering 40 percent of Oklahoma that are home to 1.8 million citizens, most of them non-Indian, and affect issues including taxes and regulation.

In a letter to the state’s congressional delegation, the Oklahoma Farm Bureau notes that, because of McGirt, non-tribal citizens potentially face new taxes if they own property in reservation territory. And businesses in affected areas, including farms and ranches, may face new tribal zoning or environmental regulations added on top of existing state and local ordinances.

Seminole chief responds to AG Hunter's proposal for state-tribal relations

Seminole Nation Chief releases statement regarding Attorney General Mike Hunter’s proposed path forward for Oklahoma and the Five Tribes 
Wewoka, Okla. (Oct. 22, 2020) - Seminole Nation Chief Greg P. Chilcoat issued the following statement today in response to Attorney General Mike Hunter’s October 21 proposal in the aftermath of McGirt.
“While the Seminole Nation appreciates the sentiment of consensus building and intergovernmental cooperation upon which we believe Attorney General Mike Hunter’s proposal was premised, we oppose the recommendation for Congressional authorization of state-tribal criminal jurisdiction compacts. By way of example, the Seminole Nation, like all the Five Tribes, already has a state-tribal agreement on criminal justice in the area of policing through cross-deputization. These intergovernmental agreements demonstrate the effectiveness of existing state-tribal government-to-government cooperation and coordination, absent Congressional action.

Governor Stitt extends state of emergency declaration


OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 23, 2020)- Governor Kevin Stitt today issued Sixth Amended Executive Order 2020-20, extending the state of emergency related to COVID-19 that has been in place since March 15, 2020. 

The amended EO removes the previous extension of all occupational licenses and gives licensees 60 days to pay or renew any licenses extended by prior Orders. The EO also updates hospital and testing reporting requirements and modifies the days on which the Oklahoma State Department of Health is required to provide a summary of information to the Governor from "daily" to "each weekday." 

Friday, October 23, 2020

Stitt won't appeal court ruling regarding automatic renewal of tribal gaming compacts


OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 23, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt announced today he will not appeal the U.S. District Court ruling issued July 28 regarding the State-Tribal Gaming Compacts.

Gov. Stitt issued the following statement about his decision:

“The U.S. District Court has ruled the Model Tribal Gaming Compacts automatically renewed for another 15 years. While I have chosen not to appeal this decision, I believe that the people of Oklahoma will demand a fair deal that benefits all 4 million Oklahomans.

Our state is facing unprecedented uncertainty as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma. Therefore, it is essential for state and tribal leaders to join together to resolve the challenges this ruling presents for Oklahomans and their businesses.

OK Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty presents reports to Gov. Stitt


OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 22, 2020)— The Oklahoma Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty today presented its recommendations for the State and the U.S. Congress in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.
“The questions caused by the McGirt decision have put our state at a crossroads,” said Gov. Stitt. “But where some see a major challenge for our state, I see an opportunity. We can work together and secure our future as One Oklahoma, maintaining our diversity and sharing the vision of becoming a Top Ten state.”

Formed by Governor Kevin Stitt under Executive Order 2020-24 to explore the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, the advisory Commission recommended five principles to ensure consistency and stability for both the State of Oklahoma and Oklahoma’s Tribal Nations.

AG Hunter recommends Feds allow state-tribal compacts on criminal matters

Attorney General Hunter Recommends Federal Legislation for Optional State-Tribal Compacting on Criminal Matters

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 21st) – Attorney General Mike Hunter today sent a letter to federal, state and Native American tribal leaders suggesting a path forward to allow for compacting on criminal matters, which would require federal legislation.

If legislation is passed, the compacts would allow the tribes the option to consent to shared state jurisdiction on criminal matters.

Attorney General Hunter said allowing this type of compacting authority can only come from federal legislation.

“Federal prosecutors are doing all they can to keep up with the cases that are being handed to them, but their resources are being stretched,” Attorney General Hunter said. “All the while, the state’s courts, prosecutors and corrections system are ready and willing to help. However, Congress must act to give the state and the tribes the authority to enter into these agreements. We already have the authority to compact on other important issues, such as child welfare, water rights and gaming, all of which were authorized by federal legislation. We now need that same type of legislation for an equally important issue: ensuring the safety and security of Oklahomans.

1889 Institute: Opportunity for teachers and education improvement proposed

Free teachers to act as true education practitioners.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (October 21, 2020) – The 1889 Institute has published “Professional Teacher Charter Schools: Proposal with Model Legislation,” which explains an entirely new vision for the critical role teachers play in public education, putting those who are willing to take the wheel firmly in the driver’s seat within schools. Teachers would act as fully authoritative practitioners, essentially owning their own education practices, just as doctors, lawyers, CPAs, and other professionals always have. With clear lines of authority and administration that serves practitioners instead of the other way around, the authors argue that the education system can be improved.

“We are extremely excited about how this idea could serve to improve options for school children and their parents as well as for teachers,” said Mike Davis, 1889’s Research Fellow and coauthor of the report.

“When you really think about it, the incentives in our socialized education system are so poor that it’s obvious it works as well as it does mostly because of the goodwill and hard work of teachers,” said Byron Schlomach, 1889’s Director and coauthor of the report. “This proposal would create a system for better harnessing the goodwill and work ethic of teachers, recognizing them as being every bit as capable as doctors, lawyers, and plumbers of owning their own practices,” he said.

OKGOP Chair: Democrat candidates must release stance on Energy industry following Biden's shocking statement

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, October 23, 2020 – With an estimated 90,000 Oklahoma jobs directly tied to the oil and natural gas industry, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman David McLain said today Oklahoma voters deserve to know if Democrat candidates seeking election or reelection to the Oklahoma State Legislature support Oklahoma’s leading economic driver.

“In light of Joe Biden’s shocking statement at the end of last evening’s presidential debate that he would ‘transition away from oil in the U.S.’, it is vitally important that Oklahoma voters know if Democrat candidates for the Oklahoma Legislature share their presidential nominee’s irresponsible stance,” McLain said.

Wondering about those judges on the ballot? Help is on the way!

Every two years, Oklahoma voters go to the polls and find judges and justices on their ballots, having heard next to nothing about them hitherto in the election cycle. Making a last-minute decision on an unknown voting issue is definitely not the optimal situation. 

Don't worry, you're not alone. It sneaks up on everybody.

Finding information on the justices and judges on the retention ballot can be a difficult task. Trust me, basic information such as their ages can be anywhere from difficult to find to completely unknown to Google.

In the next few days, I plan to publish an article with as much information as I was able to locate, and that is helpful to your consideration.

To ensure that you get this important voting information, be sure to subscribe to the Muskogee Politico email updates. Once I have finished and published my judicial retention voter guide, you will receive a special edition of the newsletter placing that article in your inbox. 

With how the tech-giants' algorithms work, if you rely on reading Muskogee Politico articles on Facebook or Twitter, you may not ever even see them (a fate met by many conservative publications across the nation). Email subscription is a solid way to be notified of new posts and articles.

If you haven't already subscribed, you can do so below. And don't worry - you won't be flooded with emails. I usually average around once a week (sometimes less, sometimes more).

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Protestia: Closing Churches for COVID-19 is Democrat Voter Suppression

Wake Up: Closing Churches For COVID-19 is Democrat Voter Suppression

October 15th, 2020 --  Some dirty tricks are being pulled on the American electorate this election cycle. Mail-in ballots for Trump are being fished out of dumpsters. Voting machines are going off-line at curious times. Funny business abounds. But as Americans are finally fighting back against our churches being closed by Democrat officials on religious grounds, few are fighting it on political grounds.

Simply put, closing churches or limiting their attendance prior to an election is Democrat voter suppression.

Evangelical Protestants favor Donald Trump at 78%. Non-evangelical Protestants (mainline denominations) favor Donald Trump 52% to 43%, still a sizeable advantage. As almost everyone knows, faithful church-goers will support Donald Trump over any baby-butchering Democratic candidate pit against him.

Democrats know this, and they are working hard to shift the evangelical vote. Almost daily, a new PAC is created by leftist evangelicals (or Democrats posing as evangelicals) trying to convince Christians that Joe Biden is a more ethical choice than Donald Trump. Almost daily a new newspaper ad or op-ed is purchased by Dark Money donors to claim this-evangelical or that one is voting for Biden because their conscience dictates it.

State House Judiciary Committee holds interim study on Restorative Justice programs

Tammy West Studies Restorative Justice

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 20th) – State Rep. Tammy West, R-Oklahoma City, the chair of the Majority Caucus in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, today held an interim study examining the issue of restorative justice as an alternative to traditional criminal justice models for non-violent offenders.

The study was held before the House Judiciary Committee.

“I wanted to take a closer look at restorative justice programs and how they are working in other states and how they might be a viable alternative here in Oklahoma as part of our overall reform of the criminal justice system,” West said.

Jason Hicks, a prosecutor with Oklahoma’s Sixth Prosecutorial District, explained how he got interested in restorative justice as an alternative form of justice in Oklahoma.

Hicks said there are too many people inside our prisons on low-level, non-violent charges. Restorative justice keeps people safe but deals with these offenders in a different way. What caught his attention was the program was victim-centered. He said it is so important for victims to have a voice in anything that is done. Another plus was the low recidivism rates for offenders who went through the program. It also is community-driven, which is something missing from traditional criminal justice programs.

He said the program restores the victim and the community while educating the offender.

Jeff Reisig, the district attorney for Yolo County, CA, and Nicole Kirklady, director of Neighborhood Court in Yolo County, spoke about the success of their program.

Reisig said he’s a traditional DA serving a mix of rural and urban cities, much like most of Oklahoma. He said his mission is to seek justice and do justice, but he found that often in the traditional court system it worked too much like a turnstile, giving victims very little say in the punishment of their offender. This program is completely voluntary for both the offender and the victim, and it gives victims a say in a punishment they feel is appropriate. He said victims are compensated for their crimes and they work to make sure the victim is made whole. It also gives community volunteers an opportunity to have input into the process. It’s also important to note, Reisig said, that the offender by the end of the program is restored to the community where they can become an active participant again, which he said adds to the success of the program.

He said this has reduced incarceration and recidivism rates in his county. He said another important component is that this is DA-driven and not something forced upon the DAs. He also said his department has been able to make this work on a shoestring budget.

Reisig explained the program does not take sex offenders, DUI offenders or perpetrators of certain other crimes. He did say, however, that many of the people that formerly were on the other side of the picket line from prosecutors, the police and the courts have now become their best community partners.

Carrie Slaton-Hodges, commissioner of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuses Services, said this type of program could help Oklahoma in several ways. It would give offenders an opportunity to take responsibility for their actions and to listen to the side of victims and the community about how their crime impacted them, which is incredibly important in changing behavior. She said this also could help stop offenders earlier in their trajectory before crimes move from misdemeanors to felonies. In addition, it gives communities the opportunity to see where changes might be needed to help stop some offenses. For instance, were crimes committed because of a lack of access to food, transportation or other services?  

Jari Askins, director of the Oklahoma Administrative Office of the Courts, and Phil Johnson with the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program, explained how the ADR program currently works in Oklahoma and how that program might be used to support a restorative justice model here in the state.

Kathryn Brewer with the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council spoke about potential legislation that could help create a restorative justice program in Oklahoma. She said there are easy statutory fixes that could make a pilot program available as soon as next Nov. 1 as long as funding can be identified. She said the program would be a win-win for everyone.

Tammy West serves District 84 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which includes part of Oklahoma County.

Anti-Domestic Violence Group “Appalled” at Pro-805 group’s Use of Rapper in Social Media

“APPALLING” — S.Q. 805 Uses Drake in Facebook Meme to Talk about Prior “Non-Violent” Convictions 

…But Media Reports Show Drake Settled Suit over Alleged Rape that Resulted in Pregnancy; and Member of His Entourage Sentenced to 6 Months in Jail for Assaulting a Woman during Domestic Violence

Oklahoma Domestic Violence Victims’ Group “APPALLED” at Insensitivity, Ignorance of Yes on 805’s Facebook Post

Oklahoma City (October 21st) — Proponents of State Question 805 are using a Facebook meme of the rapper Drake in their continued quest to convince Oklahoma voters that they ought to extend first-offense privileges to repeat criminal offenders.

They could not have picked a worse role model.

Oklahomans United Against 805 reveals today a long list of offenses that have been reported for the rapper and his security entourage — including assaults against women, domestic violence, physical assaults against wait staff, physical intimidation and more.

Rolling Stone Magazine reported that a female acquaintance of Drake accused him of raping her and that a pregnancy resulted from the rape. According to The Independent, Drake settled out of court with the woman in a $350,000 out-of-court settlement: (link)

But that isn’t the first time Drake or his team have had a brush with violence.

Unemployment continues decline in Oklahoma, 9th lowest in nation


OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 20, 2020) – New figures released by the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission and the U.S. Department of Labor show Oklahoma’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined to 5.3% in September, ranking ninth lowest in the country.  

The September rate is an improvement from August’s 5.7% mark and below the national unemployment rate, which declined to 7.9%.  

“Oklahoma continues to be months ahead of other states in our recovery from COVID-19,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “This data shows how important it is to continue to protect our most vulnerable while also minimizing the other harmful effects of the pandemic. We remain committed to strengthening our state's vibrant economy and job opportunities as Oklahomans continue to go back to work." 

In September, statewide seasonally adjusted employment increased by 51,724 persons (+3.0%), while unemployment decreased by 4,909 persons (-4.7%) from the previous month. 

“Governor Stitt’s priorities of protecting the health and lives of Oklahomans while mitigating the impact of COVID-19 to our economy continue to pay dividends,” said OESC Executive Director Shelley Zumwalt. “Our state has leveraged federal CARES Act funds to support our businesses in innovative ways and Oklahomans continue returning to work to support their families. OESC will continue to provide support and reemployment services to those who have lost their jobs and are looking for their next career.”   

Oklahoma currently has one of the lowest unemployment rates in comparison to surrounding states, including Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.   

Surrounding States Unemployment Rates for September 2020 (National Rank):  

Arkansas: 7.3% (T-30) 
Colorado: 6.4% (T-22) 
Kansas: 5.9% (13) 
Missouri: 4.9% (6) 
New Mexico: 9.4% (44) 
Texas: 8.3% (39)