I Do, But I Don't

I Do, But I Don't

Friday, November 26, 2010

Man-Up: Lacking Courage of Convictions

With each passing day, Speaker-elect Kris Steele is showing his true colors as a moderate at best, liberal in Republican clothing at worst.  He has already become wickedly adept at parsing words, putting forth an agenda that would make even President Obama blush under the guise of "economic development." 

In today's Oklahoman, Steele talks about another social policy that he calls "local control," when in actuality, it is nothing short of Nanny State rhetoric.  Steele and others desire a ban on smoking, saying that he simply wants to give municipalities control - something that sounds very conservative but his words betray him and show him to be a liberal.

From the story:
House Speaker-elect Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, said he plans to file legislation allowing cities to decide whether to ban smoking in public places, such as bars.
“I am a proponent of local control,” Steele said. “We have a high prevalence of tobacco use in the state of Oklahoma, and it causes many health issues.”
Sounds good, doesn't it?  But, he continues:

This is the same argument anti-gun lobbyists like the Brady Campaign use to push for bans on firearms, regardless of what the Constitution says and the Supreme Court rules.

As a former smoker myself, I find smoking to be a horrible habit that does cause serious health problems, but we live in a country where freedom is supposed to be the battle cry.  Republicans like myself often tell those who oppose one particular television show over another to simply vote with their remote and turn the channel.  The same applies here.  If a business allows smoking, non-smokers can take their dollars elsewhere and simply let the free market determine their success or failure.

Under Steele's Nanny State push, establishments such as Maker's Cigar Lounge down in Bricktown would have to close.  Is that what Steele desires?  To see businesses close?

Here is what I propose:  If they are going to follow their logic to fruition, they would have the "stones" to author legislation to ban tobacco in Oklahoma completely.  IF they believe this to be a severe health problem, wouldn't it make sense to just ban it? 

No.  Why?

Former State Representative and current County Commissioner Ray Vaughn summed it up laughingly in a conversation I had with him a few years ago.  He said that they couldn't ban tobacco because the state needs the tax revenue.

Ladies and gentlemen of the the Oklahoma voter pool...we have been bamboozled.  I rest my case.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Repost: Terrill Rips Steele

From earlier post here on ronblackradio.blogspot.com:

TERRILL CALLS ON SPEAKER-ELECT STEELE TO REPUDIATE COMMENTS AND AFFIRM COMMITMENT TO ADVANCING REAL CONSERVATIVE AGENDA

"Oklahoma Republicans won a historic victory in the most recent election due in large part to our strong commitment to cracking down on illegal immigration, protecting and advancing second amendment rights, and passing pro-family social legislation.  However, recent statements attributed to Speaker-elect Kris Steele in the Oklahoman have called into question whether the agenda of the next legislature will be consistent with the promises we Republicans have made to our constituents on the doorsteps.

It is the role of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to reflect the views of the House's members, not to thwart them.  Accordingly, I hereby immediately call on Speaker-elect Steele to clearly, publicly and unequivocally repudiate the comments attributed to him in the Oklahoman and affirm that illegal immigration, second amendment rights, and pro-family social legislation will not only be a priority, but will be a central focus of the next legislature's agenda.

Otherwise, conservative members of the House Republican caucus should take note that our new leadership intends to unilaterally break the promises that we made to the public during our campaigns.  This is a monumental defining moment for who we are, as well as how and whether we can or should continue to govern, as the majority party in Oklahoma."

Bamboozled: I Told You So

In probably one of the most telling stories of the political year, the Oklahoman sheds light on the difference between campaign promises and election realities.  The problem is that the Oklahoman doesn't even realize they accomplished such a feat.

According to the story, issues important to voters this cycle such as illegal immigration and the 2nd amendment are "frivolous" to the Republican leadership.

Bamboozled.

Remember:  Mary Fallin lambasted Jari Askins for her alleged lack of support for Arizona's immigration law, touted the endorsement of Arizona's "tough immigration reform Governor" and even the Republican Governor's Association launched television attacks against Askins for her supposed soft posture on illegal immigration.  The following from the Oklahoman story today reads as though it was speaking of Governor Henry, rather than the so-called uber-conservative Governor-elect Mary Fallin:
Fallin said she would like to see immigration measures confined to securing the country's borders.
Wait a minute!  Fallin campaigned as being tough on illegal immigration, says that she supports the tough Arizona illegal immigration proposal and would support such a measure in Oklahoma and then what happens?  She gets elected and shows her true colors. 

In a story in the Edmond Sun, Fallin is quoted as saying:
“As a governor I would be challenging that, too,” Fallin said amid applause. “I’d be standing up and fighting that because it’s the states’ rights to protect their borders and to be able to protect against illegal immigration.”

Fallin also said she would fight for 2nd Amendment rights.

We've been bamboozled, brothers and sisters.

And there have been numerous stories right here on this blog dealing with the Jeremiah Wright-ish pastor of Kris Steele and his refusal to repudiate those statements and then a story on Steele's family filing suit against Daisy Manufacturing, and now the statements in the Oklahoman that shows Fred Morgan to be the puppet-master for Kris Steele.

Fred Morgan is the State Chamber of Commerce President, former general counsel for the State Senate (where he was overpaid to make sure legislation passed Constitutional muster) and served for 12 years in the House where his claim to fame was a bill relating to violent video games that was later overturned by the courts as...wait for it...unconstitutional.

Bamboozled.

Republicans and Democrats alike voted for real reform, for real conservative ideologies puked forth by candidates and now that they have their jobs, We the People are shown that we are mere peasants.  We are the "subjects," not the drivers of political policy. 

Here is a press release from Randy Terrill about this issue:

TERRILL CALLS ON SPEAKER-ELECT STEELE TO REPUDIATE COMMENTS AND AFFIRM COMMITMENT TO ADVANCING REAL CONSERVATIVE AGENDA

"Oklahoma Republicans won a historic victory in the most recent election due in large part to our strong commitment to cracking down on illegal immigration, protecting and advancing second amendment rights, and passing pro-family social legislation.  However, recent statements attributed to Speaker-elect Kris Steele in the Oklahoman have called into question whether the agenda of the next legislature will be consistent with the promises we Republicans have made to our constituents on the doorsteps.

It is the role of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to reflect the views of the House's members, not to thwart them.  Accordingly, I hereby immediately call on Speaker-elect Steele to clearly, publicly and unequivocally repudiate the comments attributed to him in the Oklahoman and affirm that illegal immigration, second amendment rights, and pro-family social legislation will not only be a priority, but will be a central focus of the next legislature's agenda.

Otherwise, conservative members of the House Republican caucus should take note that our new leadership intends to unilaterally break the promises that we made to the public during our campaigns.  This is a monumental defining moment for who we are, as well as how and whether we can or should continue to govern, as the majority party in Oklahoma."

Steele the Spotlight - A Black/Dawkins Joint

Gun Rights Advocate or Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?
Ron Black, the 400lb Gorilla

Speaker-elect Kris Steele is going to experience pressure unlike anything he has in his lifetime.  His phone will be ringing off the hook from constituents, from the media and from special interest groups desirous of seeing legislation favorable to their causes be heard in various committees.  And of course, there are the plans for the legendary Speaker's Ball.

Kris Steele
But just who is Kris Steele?  What is his background?  How can we expect him to vote and lead the rest of the Republicans in the House?

If history is any indication, we're about to see that rhetoric is far different from reality.

Countless Republicans have screamed from the mountaintops their disdain for those who use the legal system in a manner that some would consider to be frivolous and elected officials have pushed for tort reform for years.  Republicans in Oklahoma are counting on the fact that we have a Republican governor-elect, therefore the possibility of real tort reform is within their grasp.  One of the biggest issues surrounding the debate of tort reform has been whether or not gun manufacturers can be sued by consumers for the death or injury as a result of the negligence of the one wielding the firearm.  Most conservative Republicans would argue that suing a gun manufacturer because the owner of the gun was negligent in their use of the firearm falls under the "frivolous" lawsuit category.

Kind of like a vehicle accident victim suing General Motors because of operator error.  Ridiculous.

So, how surprising would it be to you if you were to find out that the Speaker-elect of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and his family did exactly that - filed a lawsuit against Daisy Manufacturing as a result of injury Kris Steele received as a child?

Kris Steele, conservative Speaker-elect filed suit, that suit was shot down in court and appealed.  The appellate court decision was fascinating to read (available here), and sent back to the lower trial court wherein Daisy Manufacturing apparently settled with the Steele family for an undisclosed amount of cash.

Here is part of the appellate court decision in ruling in favor of the request of the defendants (Daisy Manufacturing and Otasco (seller of the rifle):
¶1 The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants in this action for damages based on manufacturers' products' liability. The minor Plaintiff, (Kris) sought recovery from Defendants for an injury he sustained when he was accidentally shot by a friend with an air rifle while they were playing "war" games.
¶2 The father of Derek and Devin, Kris' playmates, gave them a Daisy Power Line 880 pump-up air rifle. He read the instructions and showed them how to use the rifle. The day of the accident, the father had given the boys permission to shoot birds with the rifle. However, the boys opted for a more exciting activity. They decided two of the boys would hide and the other two would hunt for them. As the two boys started to run away, Derek, who was carrying the rifle, jumped back and the rifle accidentally discharged. The rifle was manufactured by Defendant Daisy  Manufacturing Company (Daisy) and sold by Defendant Otasco, Inc. At the time of the accident Derek was 7 years old and Devin and Kris were approximately 9 years old.
¶3 Plaintiffs filed this action alleging the rifle was defective in two respects; first, that Defendants filed to give adequate warnings of the rifle's dangers, and second, that the rifle failed to incorporate economically and technologically feasible safeguards to prevent accidental shootings.
¶4 Defendants filed motions for summary judgment based on deposition testimony, and their argument that any failure to warn was not the proximate cause of Kris' injuries. They also argued they were not required to give warnings due to the nature of the rifle. Their supplemental trial brief emphasized the rifle was sold with printed warnings that were adequate as a matter of law. A second motion for summary judgment attached portions of deposition testimony from experts who stated in their opinion the rifle was not defective in its design. Plaintiffs' response to the first motion for summary judgment addressed only the issue of failure to warn.
¶5 The trial court granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs filed a motion to reconsider, this time claiming the rifle was defective in that it did not incorporate an automatic trigger safety. The trial court granted Plaintiffs' motion to reconsider and in the same order again granted Defendants' motions for summary judgment. Plaintiffs appeal.
¶6 On appeal, Plaintiffs submit there are issues of fact remaining to be tried. They maintain deposition testimony of one of their experts shows the warnings were not adequate to apprise anyone of the dangers of allowing minors to use the rifle unsupervised. Thus, the issue of whether the warnings satisfied products' liability standards should have been submitted to a jury.
¶7 It is undisputed the rifle carried warnings. The front page of the operation manual gave the following warning:
"CAUTION: Not a toy. Adult supervision required. Misuse or careless use may cause serious injury or death. May be dangerous up to 292 yards (267 meters). See manual for actual shooting distance. This is a highpower air gun intended for use by those sixteen (16) years of age or older. Read all instructions before using. The purchaser and user should conform to all laws governing the use and ownership of air guns."
A tag attached to the trigger guard of the gun stated:
"CAUTION: This is a highpower air gun intended for use by those sixteen (16) years of age or older. Misuse may result in death or serious permanent injury, particularly to the eye. May be dangerous up to 292 yards (267 meters). Read all instructions before using. The purchaser and user should conform to all laws concerning use and ownership of air guns."
¶8 On the box in which the air gun was packaged was the following warning:
"CAUTION: Not a toy. Adult supervision is required. Misuse or careless use may cause serious injury or death. May be dangerous up to 292 yards (267 meters). This is a highpower air gun intended for use by those sixteen (16) years of age or older. Read all instructions before using. The purchaser and user should conform to all laws concerning the use and ownership of air guns."
¶9 The operation manual, under "Proper Gun Handling" stated:
"Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
Be sure you know your companions are well clear of the target before you shoot. Ninety percent (90%) of the air gun related accidents occurring in this country are caused by (1) careless handling of the gun . . . (3) shooting at improper targets."
¶10 The father identified each of these warnings as being similar to the instructions and documents he received with the air rifle.
¶11 If a product is potentially dangerous to consumers, a manufacturer is required to give directions or warnings on the container as to its use. If the warnings are unclear or inadequate to apprise the consumer of the inherent danger, the product may be defective, particularly where a manufacturer has reason to anticipate danger may result from the use of his product. If the product fails to contain such warnings of the dangers, the product is sold in a defective condition. However, if the product does contain warnings and these warnings cover all foreseeable use and if the product is not unreasonably dangerous if the warnings and the directions are followed, the product is not defective in this respect.1
¶12 The potential for danger inherent in an air is readily apparent and a warning for the obvious is not a requirement of the doctrine of products liability.2 Many products cannot possibly be made safe for all uses. Unreasonably dangerous means the product must be dangerous to an extent beyond that which would be contemplated by the ordinary consumer who purchases it.3
¶13 Use of any kind of gun involves widely known risks. Daisy placed warnings on the gun, on the box and in the operation manual to apprise purchasers the rifle was not a toy. Use of the gun required supervision not provided by the boys' father, even though a reasonable person would have heeded the warnings. We therefore hold as a matter of law under the facts presented herein the rifle was not defective because of a failure to warn.
In layman's terms, the important part of the Appellate Court's decision is "We therefore hold as a matter of law under the facts presented herein the rifle was not defective because of a failure to warn." Bottom line: The Plaintiff's (Steele's family) allegations that the gun was defective because of a failure to warn was a ridiculous claim and the appellate court affirmed the lower court' ruling.

Judge Hansen however remanded the case to the lower court. The Appellate Court stated "The other basis for liability, that the rifle was defectively designed, presents a different problem." In other words, the Plaintiff's second allegation as to whether the failure to provide certain safety features on the rifle made it defective is a question for a jury to decide. Accordingly, the Appellate Court remanded this question to the lower court for a jury to decide this issue of fact.

Remember, we're talking about the Speaker-elect...not JUST another State Representative.  This is the man who will set the tone for the whole of the State House of Representatives.

This is a man who will set the stage for support of our right to keep and bear arms, a man who will determine whether or not the Republicans in power will actually get their coveted tort reform.

If this were an isolated case, one could easily argue that the trauma as a result of Steele's injury was simply too much for his parents to bear and the family simply wanted just compensation for the injuries sustained.  But it isn't an isolated incident.

In another case (found here), Kris Steele and his wife filed suit against a neighbor for failure to maintain his fence.  Apparently, the Steele's won in excess of $4,500 relief.  For a fence.  A very nice fence, we can ascertain.

The fact of the matter is that as a parent myself, I can imagine the fear, the anger, the frustration and heart-felt compassion one would feel for their child experiencing injury - it's natural.  We all have our thresholds, tolerance for pain and angst and filing suit for some relieves some of the anxiety.  The reader will have to determine whether or not this particular case meets that criteria.  The irony is that in this case, we're dealing with the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Oklahoma - a very conservative state that supports tort reform and supports gun rights and opposes lawsuits against gun manufacturers.

This is the second report on Speaker Steele, the first is here.


Kris Steele and 2nd Amendment Lawsuits
Craig Dawkins, Modern Patriot

Kris Steele and 2nd Amendment Lawsuits
Craig Dawkins
A curious event occurred during the campaign for Senate District 17 between Republican Kris Steele and Democrat Charlie Laster. Steele’s curious campaign strategy involved attacking Laster for simply being an attorney. A strategy that, in hindsight, proved to be inadequate. But in doing some last minute research on both candidates, I came across an interesting 1987 lawsuit involving Kris Steele, his mother and legal guardian, Kay Steele vs. Daisy Manufacturing Company and OTASCO.

First let me reiterate that Kris was a 9-year old child at the time of the accident. But the lawsuit is VERY significant for those concerned with 2nd Amendment rights. According to Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals case number 65532, Kris and a friend were playing “war games” and Kris was accidentally shot with a “Daisy Power Line 880 pump-up air rifle.”  The court document states that his playmate’s father had given his son Derek (age 7) the air rifle. “He read the instructions and showed them how to use the rifle. The day of the accident, the father had given the boys permission to shoot birds with the rifle. However, the boys opted for a more exciting activity. They decided two of the boys would hide and the other two would hunt for them. As the two boys started to run away, Derek, who was carrying the rifle, jumped back and the rifle accidentally discharged.”

The undisputed evidence showed that the rifle carried the following warnings:
The front page of the operation manual gave the following warning:
“CAUTION: Not a toy. Adult supervision required. Misuse or careless use may cause serious injury or death. May be dangerous up to 292 yards (267 meters). See manual for actual shooting distance. This is a highpower air gun intended for use by those sixteen (16) years of age or older. Read all instructions before using. The purchaser and user should conform to all laws governing the use and ownership of air guns.”

A tag attached to the trigger guard of the gun stated:
“CAUTION: This is a highpower air gun intended for use by those sixteen (16) years of age or older. Misuse may result in death or serious permanent injury, particularly to the eye. May be dangerous up to 292 yards (267 meters). Read all instructions before using. The purchaser and user should conform to all laws concerning use and ownership of air guns.”

On the box in which the air gun was packaged was the following warning:
“CAUTION: Not a toy. Adult supervision is required. Misuse or careless use may cause serious injury or death. May be dangerous up to 292 yards (267 meters). This is a highpower air gun intended for use by those sixteen (16) years of age or older. Read all instructions before using. The purchaser and user should conform to all laws concerning the use and ownership of air guns.”

The operation manual, under "Proper Gun Handling" stated:
“Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
Be sure you know your companions are well clear of the target before you shoot. Ninety percent (90%) of the air gun related accidents occurring in this country are caused by (1) careless handling of the gun . . . (3) shooting at improper targets.”


In an interview, Steele said that he was unaware of any lawsuit against the parent of the unsupervised child who accidentally shot him. Suing his playmates parent would seem a natural course of action given the warnings on the air gun. However, he stated that the gun in question did in fact malfunction and that the case never made it to trial as it was settled out of court. I asked whether he felt his anti-lawyer campaign stance was a contradiction considering his past history of using lawyers. He said, “My campaign message was that too many attorneys in the Senate allows attorneys to gear the laws to themselves.” I would agree.   

Maybe Steele needed to point more to frivolous lawsuits brought by people looking for a payday against innocent companies that go out of their way to instruct and prevent irresponsible behavior with its products. Had the parent followed the warnings on the gun, the accident may have never have occurred.

Kris Steele’s campaign ads pointed out that trial lawyers are hurting and running businesses out of Oklahoma. The irony is that OTASCO (Oklahoma Tire and Supply Co.) is no longer in business and Steele himself (through his legal guardian) was involved in suing them before their demise. How was OTASCO responsible? The only way OTASCO could have prevented this type of lawsuit was to not carry guns at all. Which is exactly what the anti-gun lobby wants.    

Go figure…..

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fallin: Does Not Support Consolidation

Ken Miller (not THAT Ken Miller) writes an intriguing piece in the Norman Transcript about our Governor-elect Fallin's position regarding school administrative costs and how they need to be brought under control.  But Fallin makes it clear that proposals to consolidate are not going to be acceptable to her.

The "nut" of the story is found in the following quote:
Fallin declined to offer specific plans for streamlining schools but said she would not support requiring any of the state’s 527 school districts to merge. Instead, she said she will look for ways to encourage financially troubled districts that consolidate on their own.
Combining administrative functions, consolidating the workload of district superintendents is the capstone for education reform in the state of Oklahoma.  Even the Oklahoman has published stories regarding the ridiculously high salaries of district superintendents throughout the great state of Oklahoma.

Fallin's statements about education reform at this press conference call into question her "street cred" as the conservative she campaigned to be.  But that is something Oklahomans have grown used to experiencing.  Three card monty every election cycle is standard fare.

Now, to be fair, she doesn't say that she would oppose combining district superintendent duties and responsibilities or even perhaps merging administrative functions, but the gist of the dialog is quite clear and filled to overflowing with the same rhetoric we heard from Sandy Garret and Governor Henry during their campaigns as well:  More money in the classrooms, raising the bar, shared resources...blah, blah, blah.

As I recall, none of Fallin's children ever attended public school.  Her daughter is now a lobbyist.

Word of the day:  Bamboozled.

Jindal: Make Congress Part-Time

Bobby Jindal may have blown it on national television when he gave the rebuttal to the State of the Union Address, but he is still hitting home runs with the meat and potatoes Republicans.  In a story found on Politico, Jindal makes the suggestion that Congress be part-time.

A lot of people like that idea. 

Of course, Oklahoma has the highest paid part-time legislators in the country and they manage to kiss the proverbial pooch with reckless abandon.


Read the insightful story here.

Committee Assignment: Higher Education

Todd Thomsen is the chair of the House Higher Education Committee.  Thomsen played football at the University of Oklahoma.  Which, apparently, not only makes him qualified to be a State Representative, but also gives him the skill set necessary to chair the Higher Ed Committee.

His bio is rather lean on the House website, including, well, nothing at all.  (Read it here.)

So, do you think this former athlete will be able to stand up to the David Borenistas or will he simply fall in lock-step with the rest of those who drop trousers and bend over when the University of Oklahoma come a-calling? 

Higher Education is unquestionably one of the most powerful and influential group of lobbyists in all of Oklahoma - after all, they hold in their hot little hands the tickets to see the legendary Bob Stoops bark, grumble and scratch his multi-million dollar ass on the sidelines.

So far, with a couple exceptions, there is no way anyone with any functioning brain cells can say that Kris Steele has become a beacon of conservative light in the House of Representative.  Rather, he has shown that once again, the Republicans in Oklahoma have been bamboozled.

Know your legislators, know your leadership and know when they're tinkling on your back and claiming rain.

More to follow very, very soon.

Irony At The (New) Insurance Commission

Once again, the election cycle of 2010 accountability movement strides ever forward and now, we turn our eyes toward the Insurance Commission.  John Doak defeated incumbent Kim Holland in what some believed to be a surprise.  Holland had the support of some Republican conservatives and even had the legend of Oklahoma talk radio, Mike McCarville, voicing some of her radio spots for her.

But what is truly interesting about this election cycle is not only the election of John Doak, but the rumors that are swirling about some of his potential appointments. 

Sources close to the methane gas filled dome inform your friendly Gorilla that John Doak will be appointing former Representative and congressional candidate Mike Thompson to the post of Assistant Commissioner & Legislative Liaison.  Thompson campaigned as a "business man" who was an arch conservative, a man who wanted smaller government.  If this is true, his continued government payroll is a shocker.

But not quite as shocking as this one...

The same sources from the Oklahoma Capitol have informed me that none other that the epitome of Constitutional Conservatism Randy Brogdon will be appointed as Head of Consumer Affairs and Fraud.  If this is true, there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth within the ranks of the Tea Party.  Former Senator Randy Brogdon campaigned hard on the issue of smaller, more Constitutional government and frankly, this bureaucratic position will fly in the face of such rhetoric.  If you recall, Senator Brogdon shocked his staff and volunteers by endorsing then candidate Mary Fallin for governor without talking to those who championed his causes for so long. 

If these rumors are true, the irony is so thick you need a chainsaw to cut through it. 

Heard It Here First: Trojan Horse Committee Assignments

Speaker-elect Kris Steele has leaked out a handful of his assignments to key committees in the new, Republican-controlled House of Representatives, but this list hasn't been officially declared.  Numerous legislative and executive sources have given your friendly Gorilla the inside track on committee assignments.  Why?  Because it's time for We The People to stand up and be heard and to do so without the filtering of corporate media.

Some of the committees have merged, some have stayed the same.  So, here's your list in no specific order:

Wildlife:  Merged with Agriculture and Rural Development and Phil Richardson retains his chairmanship of this committee.

Veterans/Military Affairs:  None other than the pitbull crusader himself, Paul Wesselhoft.

Transportation:  T.W. Shannon retains leadership.

Rules:  Used to be Gus Blackwell, now, Gary Banz will be running this committee.

Public Safety:  Sue Tibbs retains leadership.  If you recall, Tibbs is far less than a supporter of the 2nd Amendment and will more than likely kill any proposal for a campus concealed carry law in the great state of Oklahoma.

Public Health:  John Enns gets this post and is known for his advocacy for government intervention on issues such as tobacco use.

Judiciary:  Fred Jordan.  Who?  Used to be Vice Chair of Judiciary, he is from Tulsa.

Economic Development & Tourism:  Randy McDaniels.

Finance & Insurance:  Charles Key, one of the favorites of the Tea Party.

Human Services:  Pam Peterson

Higher Education/Career Tech:  Unknown - but this will be a very important decision for Speaker-elect Steele.

Government Modernization:  Jason Murphey has been replaced with Mike Reynolds.  Reynolds was a Steele supporter for House Speaker.

General Government:  Was Lisa Billy, presently unknown.

Energy/Utilities:  John Trebilcock.  You're probably more than familiar with that name.  A simple Google search will tell you volumes.

Common Education:  Ann Coody.  Ann is a former OEA member and has opposed school choice.  Quite the contrast from Janet Baressi.

Appropriations& Budget:  Earl Sears.  There will be a follow up story soon on what this appointment means and to whom Sears is connected.

Appropriations & Budget - Education:  Lee Denney who is probably best known for her puppy mill legislation that the Oklahoma Rifle Association opposed vehemently.

A&B Human Services:  Ron Peters from Tulsa.


A&B Natural Resources and Regulatory Services:  Don Armes.

A&B Public Health & Social Services:  Dr. Doug Cox.  Cox was the only "no" vote on the Wildlife Committee for the Constitutional Amendment to protect hunting and fishing that was passed overwhelmingly by Oklahoma voters.

A&B Public Safety & Judiciary:  This has split into...
A&B Judiciary:  Gus Blackwell.
A&B Public Safety:  Lisa Billy.

A&B Revenue & Tax:  David Dank.  This will cause one hell of a stir.  Dank is well known for his consulting, his relationship with members of the media as a result of his work on the Oklahoma News Network and Clear Channel Communications.

A&B General Government/Transportation:  Guy Liebmann, champion of the Bass Pro Shops deal a few years back.

Admin Rules & Agency Oversight:  Unknown at this time, however, it is rumored that George Faught from Muskogee is in play.

So, what does this tell us?  First, there is not a conservative Republican of note in leadership right now.  Charles Key is probably the most conservative selected for leadership, however, he is truly more of a Libertarian that a Republican on many issues.  The people of Oklahoma believed they were voting in some serious conservatives, but it appears as though that with a few minor exceptions, we've received little more than establishment leadership selections.

The political leadership of the GOP campaigned hard using names like "Tom Coburn" to convince voters that there was conservative change in the wind.  I submit to you that what we bought into was a Trojan horse, painted with all the right slogans and covered with bumper stickers that made us all feel good.  Unfortunately, after the Trojan horse was allowed into the gates, from the belly poured forth moderates and more status quo.

I have confidence that this list is accurate within a 3% margin of error.

Coming soon:
Irony In Insurance
Steele's History On Gun Manufacturers

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

OCPAC Weekly Email

From Charlie Meadows, head cheese at the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (posted as received, luncheon data redacted):

Charlie Meadows
++ SPECIAL ELECTION FOR SENATE DISTRICT 47

With the successful election of Todd Lamb to the Lt. Governor’s post, a special election will be required to fill Todd’s vacated senate seat. Todd just informed Governor Henry that he would formally vacate his senate seat on January 10th. That has allowed Governor Henry to set in motion the filling period and the date for the primary election and general election. Governor Henry has determined the filing period will be December 13, 14 and the 15th. The primary election will be held on January 11th and the general election, if there is one, will be held on February the 8th. The OCPAC interview process will be held on Wednesday, December 22nd.

So far, 4 Republicans have announced their intentions to run for the seat. They are: Gregg Treat, (R-OKC) a former aide to then Lt. Governor Mary Fallin, also Senator Tom Coburn and the man that headed up the GOTV (Get Out The Vote) effort this year for the state Republican party. Another candidate will be Carol Hefner (R-Edmond) a speaker for at least 1 of the OKC tea party events, though she has indicated she is not necessarily the tea party candidate. Steven Dobbs, (R-OKC) a former Oklahoma City Councilman, and Kenny Goza an attorney with an amazing success story are also running. Kenny went from being passed around in foster homes to adoption, then the military and then law school. Following law school he has opened law offices in several of Oklahoma’s larger cities.

There may be other Republicans who file, but due to the very short time period, unless they already have a high name identification or a huge pile of money they will be at a serious disadvantage as these candidates are already working hard toward winning. So far no Democrats have announced. This is a safe Republican seat and any Democrat who files will become a sacrificial lamb. If no Democrat files and the race would boil down to a Republican verses an independent candidate, the independent might get 16 to 22 percent of the vote. If a Democrat files, and an independent runs, the independent might get 2 to 5 percent of the vote. We will soon know.

++ WAITING FOR SUPERMAN, THE DOCUMENTRAY

This past Thursday afternoon, I attended a special showing of the documentary, Waiting For Superman, sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and hosted by the State Chamber of Commerce. The movie chronicles the poor condition of education in America. It also had its emotional pull as it chronicled the lives of 5 children locked into inner city schools, often referred to by educators as low performing drop out factories.

The basic solutions offered in the documentary to fix the problem were better teachers and of course school choice. There are two basic school choice options other than parents taking it on their own to pay tuition for a private school or to home school. Those choices are either a voucher plan or a school tax credit plan. I don’t believe anyone is talking about a tax deduction plan. There is a group in Oklahoma that I believe is called the Coalition for School Choice, which is basically working toward the tax credit angle. I believe the leader is Bill Price, a former U.S. Attorney and Republican candidate for Governor in 1990. He was also the candidate I chose to support for U.S. Representative in 1992, a race eventually won by Ernest Istook.

The special showing was the 3rd time in Oklahoma and well attended by lawmakers as well as other movers and shakers and parties interested in education. Following the showing there was a Q&A session with a panel which included, Janet Barresi, the ultra liberal David Blatt, Bill Price, Fred Morgan as moderator, the Principle of the OKC KIPP school, the union boss for the AFT (American Federation of Teachers) and a lady with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA). It was shown in one of the large theaters at Quail Springs and was about 80% full.

I sat next to Jenni White of ROPE (Reform Oklahoma Public Education) and on the other side of me was a Superintendent of the largest school district (it shall remain unnamed) in a rural county that is now down to 10 school districts. I feverishly picked his brain before the showing and during the Q&A session. He basically was in favor of any change in the law that would make it easier to get rid of bad teachers (they do exist) and wasn’t necessarily opposed to consolidation of school administrations.

Our most interesting conversation was about school choice. I asked the following line of questions. If some kind of school choice legislation was passed which produced 2 or 3 private schools in your district within 5 years after passage and you lost 10% of your students to those schools, how would you cope with that knowing you would lose funds, but would also have less students to educate? His answer was that it would be very difficult as he probably couldn’t reduce the number of teachers. I then suggested my public school experience had me in classes that always had 32 to 36 students and I proposed the education I received in the 50s and early 60s was better than the education received today with much smaller class sizes. He agreed on the quality of education, but said it was ingrained in the minds of the public that smaller class sizes are better. He also agreed that when it comes to lecture type classes, it would be much better to have a child sit in a class of 150 or 300 before an inspiring teacher with great communication skills rather than be in a class with 10 students taught by a dunderhead.

Following the Q&A session, I approached a headmaster of a large private school and related this conversation about class size. I was told by this private school leader that student teacher ratio, or class size, is an incredibly small factor in educational success. Changing the thinking in the minds of Oklahomans on this issue will be key to reducing the costs of education in Oklahoma. It will also be key in putting more students before good teachers and getting rid of bad teachers.

When H.B. 1017 was passed in 1990, it set class room size standards and forced the state to hire an additional 3,500 teachers. I was actually a regional coordinator at that time in the effort to overturn that legislation. I spoke in several settings and was also on channel 9 news in opposition to the measure. It was then and still is my contention that the only reason the unions supported 1017 was that the additional teachers would make the education industry, controlled by the unions, more wealthy and especially more politically powerful. I said then that 1017 would not improve academic performance and it has not.

There were a couple of things I did not like about the documentary. First, there was no mention of the importance of spirituality in education. I believe that teaching based on the foundations of the Bible and its Judeo-Christian principles are the most important component to a good education and more importantly a healthy society. The best way to understand this is to view David Barton’s DVD, Four Centuries of American Education. Second, it had this misleading suggestion that it would be less costly to society to spend a little more money on education rather than spending so much to incarcerate large numbers of criminals.

While it is true, that many criminals are greatly lacking in education, it is not because the education was not available to them. People in prison are rebels and or have serious character flaws. By kicking God out of the government schools and teaching from the religious viewpoint of Darwinian humanism, we have greatly increased the number of people in prison and many more need to be there, they just haven’t arrived as yet. If education prevented crime, then tell me why it is almost a weekly event that some teacher, principle, superintendent, college professor or university president is arrested and charged with some kind of crime. Remember, every one of those I just mentioned is educated to at least a primary degree in a college or university.

If Jesus Christ is not allowed in the government schools, then God bless all those Christian teachers who go into those schools and try to make a difference in spite of the bad curriculum and a system which works against a good education. However, if I am a Christian parent, I don’t want my children in those schools during their formative years. This is the time parents should be working to establish a spiritual foundation in their lives. To put those children in today‘s government schools, means parents are playing Russian roulette with the spiritual, moral and academic lives of their children. Some kids survive, many don’t.

++ TWO NOMINEES FOR THE JOSEPH GOEBBELS MEDIA AWARD

Joseph Goebbels became Adolph Hitler’s propaganda minister in 1933 and used his intelligence and speaking skills to shape the thinking of the German people to participate in and create a horrible society. I would suggest he was a change agent, cleverly working to change the mores, values and thinking of society.

Therefore, I suggest we create an award for the media outlet which best typifies a modern day change agent, working to change the morality of Oklahomans. Perhaps this year we should call it the Joseph Goebbels Propaganda Award for Sodomy. So far, I will announce two nominees.

First, the Oklahoma Gazette (I pronounce it the Gay - Zette) for this week’s cover story titled: MODERN OKLAHOMA FAMILY - NONTRADITIONAL IS BECOMING MORE TRADITIONAL. The front cover features one prominate white guy, his white partner and two young black children that one of these homosexuals has adopted. Mixed racial adoptions is not an issue with me or most Oklahomans, it certainly is not a sin in God’s eyes. The problem is with the homosexual issue.

While the picture portrays the 2 men and 2 young boys as very happy and well balanced, I am of the opinion that these 2 children are being raised with a warped view of right and wrong and no matter how much they may be loved or cared for by these 2 men, it will never find acceptance by Christians who hold to Biblical standards. Government at various levels, may some day with the propaganda help of publications such as the Gazette, make marriage legal. Government has already made it legal for a homosexual to adopt, but it will never be accepted by God as anything other than sin, nor will it ever be acceptable to Biblical Christians. This publication is on the stands until Wednesday or Thursday. May I suggest picking up a copy and read the article for yourselves to help you cast your vote. Then bring your copy of the Gazette to the OCPAC meeting when you are finished with it as I will deliver your used copies to a paper bin that sells paper to help fund a Christian school that teachers a proper understanding of families.

Second, the November 2nd election day issue of The Journal Record had its front page story titled: UNDER THE RAINBOW - IN OKLAHOMA, GLBT CANDIDATES FACE FEAR, BIGOTRY AND SABOTAGE. If the Journal Record is nothing more than a publication of commentaries, that is fine, but if they want to be considered as a newspaper, it was one of the worst cases of yellow journalism I have seen in a while.

The article was by M. Scott Carter. I believe he joined the Journal Record some time back when he came from the very liberal Norman Transcript. On the front cover is a picture of an official with the homosexual organization, the Cimarron Alliance, a homosexual city councilman from Norman and Brittany Novotny, the candidate recently defeated by Sally Kern.

Here is why the article was propaganda and yellow journalism. These three people and Jim Roth, the homosexual who was defeated 2 years ago by Dana Murphy, were all quoted or their side of a story was told. However, Sally Kern was mentioned in the paper, but in checking with Sally she was never contacted for an interview to get her side of the story. I was mentioned in the story, but I was never contacted for my side of the story and though Dave Mehlhaff was not mentioned by name, he was referred to in the story. I checked with Dave and again he was never contacted to give his side of the story. Folks, that is one sided propaganda, it is advocacy journalism, not news reporting.

When I wrote about Brittany having had the sex change operation and suggested the result was a “confused it” channels 9 and 4 interviewed Brittany and then contacted me for an interview to get my side of the story. Michael McNutt with the Oklahoman contacted me, again to get my side of the story, that is news reporting, not propaganda, not yellow journalism. If you are writing a commentary, then there is no need to contact a person, though it might be wise to do so, but if the Journal Record wants to be recognized as a news organ, then it must use the principles of good journalism and stop being a propaganda piece for the homosexual agenda or perhaps other special interest groups. I will post these 2 articles at our meeting, give them a read and cast your vote at to which paper will earn the Joseph Goebbels award for propaganda for sodomy.

One more thing along these lines. Two years ago, Sally’s opponent was not homosexual, but was supported by the homosexual community. Sally won that race with a 58 to 42 percent majority. This election cycle, Sally’s opponent was an aggressive supporter of the homosexual agenda and had undergone the sex change operation. Though Sally was probably outspent 2 to 1, she won this year with a 66 to 34 percent margin of victory.

One of the reasons the Democrat label is dying in Oklahoma is the association with the homosexual community. Many Christian Democrats, especially in rural Oklahoma, are leaving the party and becoming Republicans who, for the most part, don’t hate homosexuals, they just don’t approve of that sinful lifestyle. I will give credit to Brittany for calling Sally and congratulating her on her victory. That is more honorable than Jason Murphey’s former opponent, A.J. Jones who, to this day, still has not contacted Jason Murphey to congratulate him on his victory.

I look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday and may everyone have a blessed Thanksgiving. .

Deer Hunting Safety Saves Lives

In a tragic story reported in the Oklahoman, a deer hunter was found dead in his tree stand.  Initially, the thought was that he died of natural causes but further investigation indicates the man dropped his rifle from the stand and it shot him.

From the story:

1.  Keep your firearm unloaded until you're safely in your stand/blind.  In hunter safety class, this is a basic premise, but we tend to get lazy.  For me, I don't even put the magazine in the rifle until I am in my tree stand.  Rare is the opportunity to bag game on the way to the blind, but in those rare instances, your safety is more important than that backstrap.  In addition, it is illegal to transport a loaded firearm in your vehicle.  Don't do it.
2.  Invest in a rifle holder for your stand.  There are many products on the market to secure your firearm safely in the tree stand.  The specific circumstances surrounding the death of the hunter in the Oklahoman story are not known, but chances are that he did not have one of THESE in his stand.   

3.  Sleep - get some.  The excitement and anticipation of heading out early in the morning to bag that trophy buck can keep many a hunter awake all night, eager for the morning hunt.  Often, we head out to the stand still groggy, still foggy from the night previous and when you're not alert, that's when you make mistakes.

4.  No booze.  The rule around the Gorilla deer camp is that if you have had anything to drink during the day preceding the evening hunt, you stay at camp - you're not allowed to head to the woods.  Firearms and booze do not mix.

Hunting and angling are Oklahoma traditions and we are one of the safest states in the union, however, the tragic loss of life in this story need not happen again.

Be safe.  Please.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rush To Pimp-Hand

You either love Rush Limbaugh, or you hate the man.  Either way, Rush has created an empire that will reign as long as he so chooses - he has survived what some of his loyal listeners would consider to be anathema and has done so with style, poise and profits.

While it's true that there has been a connection between the extreme left-leaning eco-terrorists and the federal government (namely, the Gore/Obama Administration), Rush's evaluation of the Chevy Volt was wrong and  continues to be wrong and Rush made the not-so-fatal mistake of adding Motor Trend to his hit list.  And he did so do his short-lived demise.

Politics aside, our dependence upon foreign energy sources is deplorable.  Alternative fueled vehicles is but one way to reduce this doggone problem but anytime someone comes up with an idea or a concept that can and will accomplish this task, my fellow meat-eating conservatives ignore reality and spew forth hot magma in order to boost ratings or to look like the "cool kid" on the conservative block.

In an informative and incredibly entertaining blog entry from Motor Trend, MT gives Rush the equivalent of the pimp-hand.  My favorite line from the blog directed at Rush:
All the shouting from you or from electric car purists on the left can’t distort the fact that the Chevy Volt is, indeed, a technological breakthrough. And it’s more. It’s a technological breakthrough that many American families can use for gas-free daily commutes and well-planned vacation drives. It’s expensive for a Chevy, but many of those families will find the gasoline saved worth it. If you can stop shilling for your favorite political party long enough to go for a drive, you might really enjoy the Chevy Volt. I’m sure GM would be happy to lend you one for the weekend. Just remember: driving and Oxycontin don’t mix.
Read the rest of the blog here.

Making the Best of the TSA

The holidays are to be a time of cheer, joy, fellowship and family.  Our minds and hearts turn towards home and the thought of a warm fire in the fireplace, apple cider, turkey dinners and gift exchanges give us a slice of the pie that is our lives in America. 

Enter:  The TSA

The news media is filled to overflowing with increasing reports of elderly citizens and even children being poked and prodded because they could potentially be carrying terrorist weapons in that Dora the Explorer backpack or diabetes supply kit.  For most, having a TSA agent whose hygiene regimen is little more than rubbing peanut butter on unmentionables feel us up at the airport is less appealing than having a colonoscopy performed by Dr. Jack Kavorkian.  And yes, it does damper the holiday spirit a little.

So, what are we Americans to do?  Somehow, we have to find a way to make it profitable and even bearable.  Let's take a look at the possibilities.

1.  Body Searches Sponsored by KY Yours + Mine.  The commercials for KY Yours + Mine are a hit across the globe and the TSA's 67,000+ employees could greatly benefit from such a sponsorship.  And the product is already gender-specific.  By having KY sponsor the TSA body searches, the makers of KY could include one just for the kids - bubble gum aroma.  And for the elderly, Ben Gay.  The possibilities are limitless.

2.  Larry Flynt Productions.  The government could contract with Larry Flynt to video tape the rub-downs and gropes and release them on DVD or pay-per-view.  A percentage of the profits could be used to pay down the deficit and give Michael Chertoff a bonus (he's making money on the deal anyway).

3.  Matlock DVDs.  Senior citizens love Matlock.  For an extra $3, senior citizens can get their TSA rub down AND an autographed DVD of Matlock Season 1. 

4.  Hooters.  We men like to have snacks after a good rub-down and the TSA could kill two birds with one stone...have the rub-downs conducted by the Hooters girls and hook us up with a platter of those delicious hot wings.  Simply add $10 to the price of the airline ticket.  Everyone goes home happy and the airport is filled with the aroma of exquisite hot wings.

Friends, have a spectacular holiday season and since our government doesn't seem to be listening to the will of the people these days, I suppose the only thing we can do is make light of the problem and maybe lay back and enjoy it, right?