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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Bringing In 2018

2017 wasn't really that bad, was it?  New POTUS, new fighting words between the U.S. and North Korea, the State of Oklahoma's budget disasters, the resignation of elected officials, and of course, the indictments of elected officials in Oklahoma.  Okay, perhaps it was a little on the hairy side, but I think if we're smart (and I know that we're not), we'll see the lessons learned from 2017.

First, I think that the GOP has learned that electing a reality TV guy as POTUS wasn't necessarily the smartest thing we could have done.  Granted, the alternative was a frightening specter of death, but damn.  We really should have known better.

Second, in Oklahoma we have come to the start realization that there are folks who run for office because it would be the best job they've ever had and a little bit of power and prestige goes a long way to polluting the mind.  Hell, in some cases, it seems to have rotted a few souls along the way and many lives will never be the same.

Third, one would hope we have learned our lesson regarding sexual harassment.  Touchy-grabby-feely is not a good thing in the workplace and some folks are paying the price for their indiscretions.  Finally.  And then there's the whole Roy Moore thing...God help us.

Photo from Tulsa World
2018 does look to be an exciting year, for me, anyways.  I'm kicking off the Gorilla Bytes Podcast where I'll be ranting regularly about politics, pop culture, music, and maybe even the plight of the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo.  In other words, it's pretty much going to be whatever I'm feeling at the time and frankly, it will be unbridled and aggressive.  I'll definitely be talking about the upcoming elections and which candidates I like and which I believe are douchebags.  It'll be fun.

This is the year, I hope, that I can get on the transplant waiting list for my liver.  That would be nice.

Mid-term elections also give us a chance to thin the herd and perhaps rid ourselves of bureaucrats and life-long elected dingleberries.  One can hope.

No matter what, 2018 will be what we make it.  Success and happiness isn't dependent upon a lack of turmoil, but rather can be found in the midst of our actions to handle that turmoil.   Let's make it a good year.

Ron "Gorilla" Black

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