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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

It's Almost Podcast Time

Getting ready for a series for the Gorilla Bytes podcast, I started making notes and realized that I have enough material for all of 2018.  There's the state legislature, the never-ending Twitter madness of the POTUS, Governor Fallin's veto power, the gubernatorial race, the Lt. Governor race, and the insanity that has become the Veteran's Administration are all ripe for the picking.  I plan to do a lot of picking.

The state legislature, for example, have only had marginal media scrutiny and the story behind the story has been missed by most MSM outlets; and that includes some of the programming that is supposed to be local talk.  I've been gathering research data and what I've found so far shouldn't be too much of a surprise, but it all begins with campaign contributions and the power of lobbyists who hang out at the capitol like vultures.  It's all fair game as far as I am concerned and I'm getting ready to jump back into the fray with a vengeance.

Don't think, however, that politics will be the only thing I discuss.  I will be talking pop culture, the Oklahoma music scene, food, relationships, a little sports, and of course local and national events.  I will be sharing with you some of the details of my life as well; including what it's like to have to wait to be put on a liver transplant list, how to deal with chronic pain, and even my short bouts of depression as a result of all of the above.  I'll be candid, open, and probably a little more transparent than you could expect and since my hands won't be tied by stupid FCC regulations on free speech, you may even hear a little colorful language as well.

I promise you:
1.  I will pull no punches.
2.  I will go after asshats regardless of political party affiliation.
3.  I'll ask the hard questions.
4.  I will keep it lively and challenging.

There are a few logistical issues to deal with, but I should have those completed and put to bed by the end of next week.

Buckle your seatbelt, kids...it's going to be a wild ride.

Ron "Gorilla" Black

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

And Then, It Got Weird

It's hard to say when it was that the legislature in Oklahoma lost its collective mind, but predicated on the news of the last few months, it's clear that they are in desperate need of Prozac at the very least.  Not one, but two special sessions will be the history for this legislature and a massive failure to do that for which they were elected proves them to be some of the most incompetent elected officials in the history of this great state.  

And then, it got weird.

Legislators have been in the news for everything from child sex trafficking to campaign finance blunders.  There were cases that were settled out of court for sexual harassment and then there was the Governor's staffer busted for taking "up skirt" photographs.  What in the hell has happened to these people?  It would be easy to say that all of the construction down there caused some type of bizarre chemical reaction in their brains, but that's just not the case.  The truth of the matter is that there is a power struggle and tussling for future campaigns for higher office.

My suggestion is that you take note right now and if they are term-limited, let them go and do not vote for them for higher office or a different office.  If they are not term-limited, find a decent candidate whose life's goal isn't to be called "Senator" or "Representative."  Find someone the founding fathers called a "citizen legislator."

Don't you think that the people of Oklahoma deserve just a little bit better than what we're dealing with now?  Are we paying some type of cosmic retribution for electing a church camp counselor to the U.S. Senate?  The questions are endless...

Starting after the first of the year, I'll be back broadcasting via podcast and thanks to my son, Matthew Black, and my friend, Kaye Beach, I've decided it's time for the Gorilla to rattle more cages and hold some feet to the fire.  And yes, it will be weird, strange, fun, and will address a whole hell of a lot more than the clown act that is the Oklahoma Legislature.

You'll be hearing from me again real soon.

Ron "Gorilla" Black

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Democrats Make Gains Nationally and In Oklahoma

There was a time when the GOP referred to the Democratic Party as the "Tax and Spend Party."  To the average voter, it looks like the GOP was jealous of such branding and have taken it on for themselves.  This is evident by the increase of taxes including; fuel tax, gross production tax, tax on tobacco, and finally (of course) increased taxes on booze.  As this happens, we see this mass exodus of Republican "lawmakers" taking better paying jobs with the Feds and other government teats.  

This is the same party that once said that welfare was a bad thing, but corporate welfare is okay and being a perpetual burden on the taxpayers as long as you're elected and not terribly poor.  

Back in the days of WKY, I remember talking frequently about the reality that for most elected officials, it is the best job they will ever have and that holds true today.  The concept of being a "citizen legislature" has given way to the disturbing influx of Political Science majors who are beginning to show their lack of "real world" experience.  

But I digress.

Virginia, New Jersey, and even already liberal Washington State have seen a growth spurt in the number of Democratic elected officials and no one should really be surprised.  As Cal Thomas once said, "If Republicans are going to act like Democrats, you might as well vote for Democrats because at least then you know what you're getting."  There is a great deal of truth to that, you know.  

Many will blame President Trump for the increase of elected Democrats, but in Oklahoma, the increase in taxes and the amount of fraud that is being uncovered by State Auditor Gary Jones leaves no one to blame but the Republican leadership.  There was even questions about departments that were/are run by Lt. Governor Todd Lamb in terms of financial mismanagement.  But yet, there are more and more career Republican politicians who are looking for more opportunities to suckle from the taxpayer teat by either running for higher office or finding a taxpayer-funded bureaucratic job.

And we used to think lobbyists were bad.

Sure, there has been a lot of propaganda spewed about from both sides of the aisle regarding just how horrendous our budget situation is/was/will continue to be, but in the aggregate, our elected officials aren't losing any services.  They are still getting their medical coverage, their retirement funds, their salaries (highest paid part-time legislators in the country, by the way), and in some cases, the opportunity to pocket some taxpayer funds until they are caught.

Neither party is perfect and the way they are acting does nothing but underscore the reality that third party candidates are becoming increasingly appealing to the disenfranchised voters as it is.  But, there is still hope, my fellow Oklahomians.  We simply have to be diligent and call a pig a pig.  Ask hard questions of our elected officials and of those who desire to be elected officials and if they give us some bovine feces answer, call them out on social media and within your sphere of influence.  We can change the direction of Oklahoma government.  We just have to care enough to do so.

Of course, that's just my opinion and I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt it.

Ron "Gorilla" Black

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Goobernatorial Gander

Yes, I know; it's been a while since I've written anything but I've not been feeling at the top of my game but here I am now.  What inspired me to open up the old blog-a-licious is the banter that has been tossed about by our candidates for Governor.  There are quite a few of them (12), but I will focus this column primarily on a handful of them that I think are noteworthy at this time.  

Let's roll up our sleeves and get nasty.

Dan Fisher:  Former legislator who has apparently been smitten with the idea of becoming Oklahoma's next, and first, abortion abolitionist Governor.  He probably learned how to cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees over unconstitutional legislation while serving in the legislature, which explains why that is pretty much his platform right now.  He has signs that say "audit everything" and that's kind of cute because there is a legitimate auditor in the race for Governor.  Fisher is a pastor and there are those who would argue that perhaps he has forgotten about the whole warnings to the Pharisees in Matthew 23 by running for office (again), but he is on a mission and like Jake and Elroy, he won't be stopped.  More than likely, he'll end up with around 5% - 8-% of the vote during the primary.  He's fun to watch though, that's for sure.  

Gary Jones:  If memory serves me, Gary was one of the first to announce his candidacy and on paper, he's probably the most qualified candidate to handle the difficult task of reining in the legislature and get the budget fixed.  Sadly, that is often not enough in the great state of Oklahoma to get you elected to a statewide or Congressional office.  Jones is our State Auditor and he has ruffled more than just a few feathers with some of his talk about streamlining the state government.  He himself has accomplished it within the office of the Auditor, but not many other agencies have done so willingly and without duress.  I've known Gary Jones for a number of years and he has always been an honest, upright man who doesn't shoot from the hip or shoot off his mouth for the sake of political blathering.  He is exceptionally qualified for the job, but it's going to be the toughest race he will ever face since Lt. Governor Todd Lamb is running.  

Todd Lamb:  There can be no doubt whatsoever that Todd Lamb is, by far, one of the most polished politicians in the state of Oklahoma.  His service as Lt. Governor has afforded him the opportunity to travel around the state in a largely ceremonial role, but everywhere he goes, Lamb leaves a very positive impression.  I meet him at an NRA banquet once and found him to be both genuine and knowledgable about state and local issues and he is a very dedicated family man (not to say that other candidates aren't).  He's intelligent and he surprised everyone when he cut across the grain and made comments that were in disagreement with Governor Fallin's budget positions.  Rumor has it that it angered much of the "Chamber crowd" and that there may be some question as to whether or not he can muster up a broad-based, centrist support system while pissing them off.  Todd will more than likely lead the race in fundraising and I predict, as of today, he is the candidate to beat.  

Mick Cornett:  To say that I was shocked to hear that Mick was running for Governor would be putting it mildly.  Mick boasts of the success he's had in the private sector with his business, but yet he likes being in the middle of the political fray.  Mick has run for Congress in the past and he looked a little like a deer caught in the headlights, but more than likely, he has a different consulting group handling his race and getting him polished on state issues.  His argument will be that he has brought the NBA to Oklahoma City and the success of the MAPS projects.  But, how will those things play in Honobia Creek?  Durant?  Tulsa?  Arnett?  Ada?  Rural Oklahoma is a significantly different animal than urban Oklahoma and his city charm may not play as well.  He is a long shot, but to count Mick Cornett out of the race at this point would be rather goofy.  He is a determined man who is dogged in achieving his goals.  We shall see.  [Note:  He doesn't have a website for his campaign, but there is his Facebook page.]

Just a few of my thoughts and there will be more to come very soon.


Ron "Gorilla" Black