I Do, But I Don't

I Do, But I Don't

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Creating Jobs, Rhetoric

Right now, elected officials are focused on the goal of job creation in Oklahoma and the same can be said for elected officials in all 50 states.  Job creation is always part of campaign rhetoric, but rarely are there statements about what kind of jobs candidates desire to create.  And state-by-state, campaigns promised to create jobs but you have to ask yourself whether or not it was/is a legitimate promise or if it is just more rhetoric.

By way of illustration, when someone expresses their desire to "go on vacation," it is always followed up with the question, "Where?" Therefore, it is perfectly logical and right for us to ask our elected officials and candidates for public office, "What kind of jobs?"

Mayor Mick Cornet boasted of job creation and the jobs created were largely service industry jobs and call center jobs.  When Bass Pro Shops came to town, they did in fact hire from within the city populace but the vast majority of those jobs were not exactly high-paying jobs but rather were customer service positions paying marginally above minimum wage.  The high paying jobs were given to individuals within the Bass Pro Shops management structure who were willing to relocate to Oklahoma City from other markets.

Dell Computers was another example.  Gorgeous facility along the river, the jobs at Dell Computers were call center jobs.  While it served to be a feather in the cap of campaign coordinators, the aggregate result wasn't what was promised.

To be intellectually honest about job creation, there must include the realization that across the country, the economy is ailing.  Inflation is rising, the cost of goods is increasing due to commodities pricing on the NYMEX and elected officials are lean on real dialog about these problems but are big on rhetoric.  At recent Chamber of Commerce back-patting sessions, the cheerleading about creating jobs and an environment that is positive for new jobs in Oklahoma reached epic proportions and lacked only the pom-poms.  Well, the pom-poms and reality, of course.

If companies in Texas, Colorado, Washington and other states are struggling under this economic down-turn, what could Oklahoma reasonably do to entice them to relocate here?  Honestly?  Not much.  Large corporations are fearful of Obamacare and federal regulation that is a hindrance to growth so, for elected officials and Chamber officials to say that we can accomplish that which no other state in the Union has been able to is intellectually dishonest at best.  But, we can literally pave the way for business as the economy begins to pick up again.

We could work on our disastrous infrastructure.  Roads and bridges in Oklahoma are horrendous and it is pathetic that we have hired the same people who have proven to be failures in the past.  That, my friends, does not show companies that we're serious about business and job creation when we continue to tap empty resources of our failed past.

We could certainly work on education delivery systems.  If we think for a moment that our educational system doesn't need reform, we're insane.  If you're the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and you see that our education system in Oklahoma has over 450 school districts and those administrators are morbidly overpaid, what would make them think that our efficacy in the classroom is anything short of failing?  Spending more money on education isn't the answer, but a better use of existing resources is part of the answer.

And then there's the issue of illegal immigration.  Illegal immigration costs Oklahoma taxpayers an estimated $300 million per year but the Chamber would have us believe that while immigration is a constitutional issue, it is merely "social" in nature.  Do you want the truth?  The truth of the matter is that the largest companies in Oklahoma who spend the most money with the Chamber have subcontractors who do, in fact, hire illegals therefore the pressure on the Chamber and the mainstream media is epic to ensure that illegal immigration is marginalized whenever and wherever possible. 

So, are we talking about real job creation or are we talking about rhetoric?  The Obama administration boasted of job creation but at the end of the day, it was mostly government jobs that were created and they were short-term.  Much like the wind industry boasting of job creation in small communities, those jobs are few and exceedingly short term.  Once the wind turbines are built, they dramatically reduce the number of jobs in said communities. 

The people we elected this last cycle are heavy on "job creation" rhetoric - but we must hold them accountable and keep an eye out for what kinds of jobs are created and whether or not they are simply playing a shell game with us, changing the terms of the debate in midstream.  When we see them fulfilling their campaign promises on the 2nd Amendment, on the problem with illegal immigration, then and only then can we take them seriously.  We don't need more window dressing.  We need real reform.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Something Different: Crazy Deer Cam

I've been to Louisiana and to be honest with you, I wasn't impressed.  As a matter of fact, New Orleans was a crazy, wacky city with all kinds of weirdness permeating the fabric of its very existence.  Couple that with the fact that there is some even wackier stuff out in the woods, Louisiana tops the list of places to hunt wherein you bring heavy ammo.

This photograph and subsequent story is absolutely bizarre, taking the state of Louisiana to new levels.


Read the story here, and watch the video.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Doak Hires

Here is a list of rumored new-hires by the Insurance Commissioner-elect John Doak:

Mike Thompson
Mike Thompson as Legislative Liaison.  Mike was a former State House Representative and Congressional candidate.

Randy Brogdon as Deputy Commissioner for Fraud and Consumer Affairs.  Randy was a State Senator and constitutional conservative candidate for governor.

Owen Laughlin as General Counsel.  Owen was a State Senator and candidate for State Treasurer.

Denise Engle as Deputy Commissioner for Worker's Compensation.  Denise is the wife of Doak's campaign guru, Richard Engle. 

More to follow...

Video From House Caucus Protest

Here's a slide show, video from the House Caucus protest this week.  And yes, it worked.


Sears To "Look At" School Bond Supermajority

Thanks to the Oklahoman editorial board for giving taxpayers a "heads up" on an issue that will more than likely be facing the legislature sooner rather than later.  In an editorial piece chiding the efficacy of the 60% supermajority required to pass school bond issues, they spoke with Representative Earl Sears whose daughter (Hollye Hunt) is a lobbyist for higher education and he himself heads up the education budget subcommittee.


Note:  The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education call Hollye Hunt an "Assistant Vice Chancellor for Governmental Relations" so they don't have to register with the Ethics Commission as a "lobbyist."  But I still say she is a lobbyist who has worked for Mary Fallin and Tom Cole.

This quote from the editorial speaks volumes:
Even though voters across the state routinely pass bond issues, the supermajority mandate has been a stumbling block for many bond issues that received 50 percent approval but failed to get the extra 10 percent.
School bond issues are important and it is agreed that funding education is important.  However, until there is a reduction of the number of school administrators/superintendents, the supermajority requirement should stand.  And God help Sears if he thinks that We The People aren't watching. We're not buying it and thanks to the Oklahoman for the warning that this will be coming down the legislative pike.

And don't forget...Sears himself as principal for Bartlesville Middle School for 22 years.  Wonder if he supports the OEA...more about that later though.

Speaker-elect Steele and his hand-picked appointees to "reform education" have been put on notice.  We're watching very closely and we're simply not going to accept anything less than excellence and fiscal accountability for education.  They lied about the lottery.  They lied about the so-called benefits of SQ744 and they are lying when it comes to the efficacy of the required supermajority.

The reason we have a 60% supermajority is because education funding is so pervasive.  We need to keep the supermajority.   Period. 

Contact your House Representative here and let it be known that until the administrative bloating is cured, don't even THINK about changing the supermajority.

Conservative Values Win At House Caucus

Photo courtesy of Don Spencer
There was much chastisement and gnashing of teeth when the word got out conservatives wanted to let the Speaker-elect know that he and his leadership team would be held accountable this legislative session.  While Kris Steele may have wanted to blame the Oklahoman for manufacturing controversy, the reality is that he himself is/was to blame for the blinding spotlight of accountability shined upon his forehead. 


Insiders say that the legislative agenda will be announced sometime today but here is a sneak peek at what we can expect from House Republican leadership:

*No Tax Increases
*Advancement In Second Amendment Rights (probably open-carry legislation)
*Meaningful Illegal Immigration Reform
*Defense of Home Schooling Rights
*Support of State's Rights (10th Amendment)
*Promotion of Judeo-Christian Values

In the establishment of said agenda, there was some controversy. 
1.  Representative Randy Terrill wanted to include a pledge in the agenda to ban any tax increases.  Speaker-elect Steele allegedly argued against it, Terrill won.
2.  Representative Terrill wanted to include the phrase, "Promote traditional Judeo-Christian values" in the agenda.  Shockingly, Speaker-elect Steele personally argued to strike the words "Judeo-Christian" from the plank.  Steele, Hickman and the rest of the leadership team voted to take the words out of the agenda, no doubt trying to appease the Chamber crowd who wined and dined them previously.  The fight ensued, seeing even the moderate Ann Coody becoming upset and Sally Kern was not to happy either.  At the end, the caucus voted with Randy Terrill. 

The Speaker-elect decided to openly argue against many of the measures, which isn't that surprising to those of us who know Steele and where he's coming from. 

The protest worked.  Despite less than 100 people showing up to brave the cold, the message was communicated, received and the House leadership knows that they will be held accountable.  If the meeting were held in Oklahoma City on a weekend, the numbers would have been substantially higher and they know this.

More to follow...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards Passes

Elizabeth Edwards has died as a result of her ongoing battle with breast cancer.  Elizabeth Edwards, 61, was always an enigmatic personality, a woman who had a way of calming even the most thundering of hoards attacking her husband or her politics.

Cancer has taken far too many of our best and brightest, the hope is that the Father has something else in mind in the heavenlies for Elizabeth.

Politics aside, she was an admirable woman and will be missed by many.  Thoughts and prayers go out to her family and those closest to her as they struggle with this tragic loss.

RIP, Ms. Edwards.

Fallin Taps Tulsa Chamber

Governor-elect Mary Fallin Announces Wendy Taylor Gregory Will Lead Tulsa Office

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor-elect Mary Fallin today announced that Wendy Taylor Gregory will serve as director of the Tulsa office of the Governor of Oklahoma. Gregory, who most recently worked at the Tulsa Metro Chamber, will be responsible for the operations of the Tulsa office as well as represent Fallin at events in Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma.

“It’s important to me to stay connected to Tulsa and northeast Oklahoma as we work together to get our state back on track. Working together, we’ll be able to keep our momentum growing and that’s why I’m appointing a full-time office and staff to accomplish this goal,” Fallin said. “I know Wendy is deeply committed to the future of Tulsa and all of Oklahoma and I’m glad to have her on our team. Wendy will be a welcome addition as we work together to move our state forward.”

Gregory, a graduate of the University of Tulsa, has extensive work in public policy and government affairs. Most recently, she served as program manager at the Tulsa Metro Chamber where she helped craft the chamber’s legislative agenda. Previously, Gregory served as legislative director to Congressman John Sullivan, advising him on policy matters and managing the legislative staff in Washington, D.C. She also served as an aide to the Tulsa City Council, where she researched policy issues and assisted with constituent services.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to work for Governor-elect Fallin in her Tulsa office. I know the governor-elect is committed to bringing more jobs and opportunities to Tulsa, northeast Oklahoma and the rest of our state and I’m ready to help her make that happen,” Gregory said.

Gregory will not start her official duties until January 10, at which time Fallin will be sworn in as the first female and the 27th governor of Oklahoma.

###


Alex Weintz
Office of Governor-Elect Mary Fallin
405-535-7317 mobile
Alex.Weintz@govelect.ok.gov

Government Work, Building Pensions

Term-limits are one thing, but there is a run on ex-legislators who are getting new jobs in Oklahoma government and the Oklahoman has a great commentary about it.  While the Oklahoman is still treading water for intellectual and journalistic credibility in my not-so-humble opinion, there are a handful of reporters and journalists over at the dark down who seem to "get it."  This story may be one of the exceptions to the rule.

In the opinion piece today, the article states:
Forced to leave the Legislature this year, state Rep. John Wright, R-Broken Arrow, has taken a job in the Tulsa County assessor's office, trading up his $38,400 legislative salary for $72,000 in the county job. Earlier this fall, outgoing House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, took a job in the Tulsa mayor's office at a salary of $100,000 a year.
But the most telling comment in the article is as follows:
This political re-careering will get even more intense eight years from now, when a new term-limit law for statewide officials will force incumbents out of office after just two terms.
With some of Oklahoma's wacky pension laws, state employees (read: elected officials) can work quite the deal for their pensions by working in the legislature, then moving over to a county or city job.  For example, some of the individuals listed in the article will have "time served" in the legislature applied to their retirement calculations, making for some hefty retirement income.


This is a must-read for those of you desirous of government accountability.

And congrats to Benge for his $100k/year job in Tulsa.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Terrill and Christian Comment On Protests

From Representative Terrill:
It's a bit shameful that grass-roots supporters are forced to protest our caucus to get the House leadership to do the right thing.  But let's be clear, it's only because of this protest that illegal immigration reform or gun rights bills even have a shot at getting heard.

We conservatives never asked for an "inordinate" amount of time for our agenda, nor did we suggest that jobs shouldn't be our first priority.  But in the face of a leadership that agreed with the Chamber of Commerce's specious argument that "socially conservative legislation" was bad for job growth, and that wanted to pass NO "socially conservative legislation", we demanded that a few of the several hundred bills we hear this session be conservative oriented.  After all, that is what we promised our constituents on the door step, and if we have time to hear bills that would ban smoking in private businesses, then surely we have time to hear bills on illegal immigration and gun rights.

Governor-elect Fallin's speech tonight made it plain that "she gets it", and is committed to governing like we campaigned.  Tomorrow we will see if the House agenda for the coming session makes clear, specific and unambiguous commitments to hear the legislation we Republicans ran on.  If so, the grass-roots folks who came out here to protest deserve all the credit.


From Representative Christian:
As House Republicans shared cheese and wine with their close friends from big business and the Chamber of Commerce, grass-root Republicans were shut out of the building and protesting in the cold winter air for the Republican Party to govern with the same agenda it campaigned on.

I was struck by what a perfect metaphor that was for Speaker-elect Steele’s leadership of the House of Representatives.

I hope someday we can have a Speaker that will bring the grass-roots people inside every now and then, and maybe just once let the Chamber stay out on the street.

Representative Mike Christian

What Is The Fight Really About?

A few years ago, my son Mason and I had a confrontation regarding video games and where in the continuum of priorities they should fall.  The discussion went something like this:

Me:  Son, I told you three times that you needed to put the video game away and clean your room.  Now, you've lost your Playstation privileges for the rest of the day.
Mason:  Dad, why do you hate video games so much?

Me:  Mason this isn't about video games and my like or dislike therein.  It's about you not doing what you have been told and holding you accountable for what you said to me you WOULD do.
Mason:  Got it.

The discussion surrounding Speaker-elect Steele and other statewide elected Republican officials as well as many in the House has shifted and bounced around quite a bit and thanks to the Oklahoman, the terms of discussion have even been changed in a very subtle way.  Reading one of my favorite blogs out there, OkiePundit, I saw that they too have taken issue with the Oklahoman quite aggressively and their points are made succinctly and in a way that is entertaining, fun and educational.  They also briefly addressed the issue of Steele and some of the issues facing him as Speaker-elect.

Unfortunately, the issues with Steele aren't spurred on by the "extreme religious agenda" but rather the fact that Republican leadership in the last election cycle campaigned hard on things like Arizona-plus immigration reform.  They also campaigned on job creation - which according to Fred Morgan and the Chamber crowd, not addressing Arizona-plus immigration reform.  They don't want it, they don't care for it and the folks who financially support the chambers of commerce generally don't like it either.

The fight, as far as I am concerned, is really about holding accountable my brothers and sisters in the Republican Party who campaigned on constitutionally conservative issues that can and will positively impact the business environment.  Think about it:  Oklahoma's fastest growing industry is state government itself.   Under Republican leadership in the House, we grew state government by over 18%.  Yet, we have done very little to work on one of the most important aspects to job creation in Oklahoma - infrastructure.

The Republican leadership in the House, the Senate and the Governor-elect's office should be able to multi-task, have the ability to handle both what they perceive to be "job creation" legislation as well as the constitutional talking points they campaigned on - such as the 2nd Amendment rights and illegal immigration reform. 

This week, I'll be posting a video compilation of ads run by Republicans who campaigned on immigration reform and the 2nd Amendment.

That, my friends, is what this fight is all about.

Monday Morning Meadows

From Charlie Meadows' email (nothing redacted):

The timeline, Thanksgiving day the upsetting article appears in the Oklahoman, later that day Representative Terrill issued a press release calling on Spaker-elect Kris Steele to issue a statement clarifying and repudiating certain aspects of the article. On Tuesday the 30th I sent out the weekly OCPAC e-mail announcing that the Oklahoman had not printed Terrill’s press release, so I published it. The next day the Oklahoman did an article which included an interview with Representative Terrill. This past Wednesday, Representative Steele issued a response to clarify his positions, but still left many concerned about certain issues. Steele’s response was published yesterday, in Sunday’s Oklahoman as a point of view.

First, let me say the tone of the response was good, it even had some well thought out verbiage regarding the economy. As an example he said: “I believe our agenda must take a balanced approach that focuses on conservative solutions to fiscal and social policy.” Well stated in my opinion. He went on to say: “ Because the national recession has left many jobless and created a $600 million state shortfall, it is clear we must enact sensible reforms that ALLOW (emphasis mine) Oklahomans to reach their economic potential and grow our state economy.” Steele continued, “My hope is to ESTABLISH AN ENVIRONMENT (emphasis mine) in Oklahoma that is conducive to job growth, job creation and job enhancement. That focus must include lawsuit reform, workers’ compensation reform, restructuring of the tax code and similar policies.”

Those 3 paragraphs are excellent if he really understands what he said as well as what he didn’t say and if he really means what he said. Note, he didn’t use the words “economic development”, as anytime a government official at any level uses those words, it convey a message that it is the GOVERNMENT’S responsibility to develop the economy. If that is your philosophy, then you believe in fascist (government doesn’t own, but controls the means of production of goods and services) capitalism or the words economic development may also stand for socialist (government owning and controlling the means of production of goods and services) capitalism.

In either of those two systems, government will pick the winners and those who get the special privileges or opportunities. In socialist capitalism, the government will actually own and operate businesses, thus competing against private entities who will always be at a disadvantage in that competition.

When Representative Steele uses words like “allow” and “establish an environment”, those words are as strong as it gets when it comes to private or free market capitalism. In a free market economy, government will keep regulations at a bare minimum and businesses will NOT be taxed. Businesses consider taxes to be overhead and thus increase the price of their goods and services to cover that overhead and thus the consumer always pays for business taxes through higher prices for those goods or services. Politicians love that, because as they tax businesses, the consumer isn’t cognizant of the amount of taxes imbedded in the price of a product or service and thus some of the real cost of government is hidden from the citizens.

In a real free market economy, if consumers aren’t willing to purchase certain products or support certain services, then they go away. On the other hand, sharp businessmen may figure out a way to convince enough in the marketplace to buy or hire products or services to pay all overhead and have some left over for themselves which is called profit. Free market economies always see the best and brightest business rise to the top. In central planned economies, it may be more likely that the well connected rise to the top and not necessarily the best business man delivering the best product or service at the most reasonable price.

Another positive statement in his response was: “We must defend our constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms, defend against federal government overreach, and guard against those who intentionally break the law and pose a threat to public safety.” An additional strong statement was: “Although some may not realize it, being polite and civil is not the same thing as being weak.” I fully agree.

However, there were some things he said, which I have a hard time reconciling with his actions. First off he stated: “In addition, we must reform education so Oklahoma children from all corners of the state can excel in college and thrive in the work force after they graduate.” With the election of Janet Barresi and the effort of school choice advocates, the conditions better exist today than ever before for some badly needed school reforms.

However, Speaker-elect Steele appointed Ann Coody (R-Lawton) Chairman of Common Education committee and Jabar Shumate (D-Tulsa) as Vice- Chair. While Shumate is a liberal Democrat, when it comes to education he is very reform minded. He understands that perhaps one of the best ways out of the hood is a good education and that school choice is one of the best hopes to allow children to escape the teacher union controlled drop out factories in the inner city schools.

On the other hand, while Representative Coody is a nice person, she is a retired educator of 39 years and in my opinion is so engrained into the system as to be an impediment to real reform. I made this clear to Steele a year an a half ago and he either forgot, disagrees or has a different opinion. It will be interesting to see just how much real education reform we can get past Coody in the powerful position in which Steele has placed her.

Steele said we must defend our constitutional rights to bear arms, but then chose Dan Sullivan (R-Tulsa) to sit in the all powerful floor leader’s position. As we live today, our rights to bear arms are greatly infringed. During the session earlier this year, Sullivan was a huge impediment toward “restoring” those rights. In addition Sue Tibbs (R-Tulsa) was also a big problem earlier this year and now Steele has appointed Tibbs to be Chairman of the powerful Public Safety committee, the committee in which all second amendment issues will most likely survive or fail.

And while Steele tried to diminish conservative’s and Christian’s concerns by proclaiming he is pro-life, he failed to mention several serious problems such as where he stands on the invasion of illegal aliens, the growing threats from the expansion of Sharia Law and the advancing agenda of the homosexual community. The abortion issue is vital and we as Christians must never go to sleep or turn our backs on this issue. However, God has a perspective on all issues and we need to pay more attention to these other issues than we have in the past.

On Wednesday, December 1st the Oklahoman had a front page article on the Business section titled: “Oklahoma ready for a fight”. Oh really, has legislative leadership and the Oklahoma business community finally grown a spine and are they truly over their cowardice? The article is about new regulations the TYRANTS at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are about to impose on Oklahoma’s 6 coal fired power plants. Supposedly to clean up a problem which basically doesn’t exist or if it does, it wouldn’t be caused by our power plants, but rather those in Texas.

In the article, Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Steve Thompson said officials are not optimistic the U.S. EPA will approve the state’s plan to reduce emissions that affect visibility in federal wildlife areas. If the EPA slaps these excessive new regulations on the State of Oklahoma it will mean a huge increase in electric utility rates for consumers and our businesses alike. It will really hinder having an environment for a vibrant economy. These “fighters” are hoping newly elected AG Scott Pruitt will be willing to go into the courts on behalf of Oklahoma.

I hope Pruitt will take the feds on and believe he will. However, during this year’s legislative session, Representative Sally Kern (R- OKC & Bethany) authored a bill to allow Oklahoma citizens to amend our constitution to establish the Oklahoma DEQ and the Corporation Commission to be have the final say on all environmental issues. House leadership (of which Steele was a part) wouldn’t stand behind Sally during this year’s session and Thompson was against the measure along with some of Oklahoma’s major corporations.

The reason? Sally was told that since the Obama administration didn’t like Oklahoma (because every county voted for McCain) they were fearful that if we stood up to them in this manner, the feds might punish Oklahoma businesses, especially those in the energy industry, by not allowing them to sell their products outside the state under the justification of the interstate commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution.

That fear of the feds is why I suggest the terms “spineless” and “cowards.” If we would alter our State Constitution to reflect our superior “states rights authority” we might have to go to the courts on that issue. On the other hand, we might really push back and just ignore an unconstitutional order coming out of a federal court on this issue and just see how far the feds would push it.

In the mean time, as I said a few weeks ago in one of these e-mails, the newly elected Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives have enormous power to protect the states in this regard. Since all funding and spending bills must originate in the U.S. House they could simply cut the EPA’s budget in half or completely de-fund this liberal bastion of excessive power. Nothing like being out of a job or missing their paychecks to explain to nameless faceless bureaucrats what is acceptable and what is not.

I liked much of what Kris Steele has said, but the proof will come in the pudding, which will soon be made known. We are looking for action more than just words.

Charlie Meadows is the head cheese over at the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Romantic History

Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library
I had the incredible honor of serving in the United States Navy under the legendary President Ronald Reagan.  There was excitement beyond description with just the mere thought or rumor that Reagan may be coming to the base for a surprise visit.  He was an enigmatic, incredible personality and leader whose following borders on the religious.

But Ronald Reagan is not, nor was he, a christological figure regardless of how much we want him to be.  We often forget that it was under Ronald Reagan that our Department of Defense expenditures were out of control and waste was rampant.  Hell, I remember the $400 toilet seat purchases that finally resulted in very serious cost-cutting measures.  I received a few commendations myself for streamlining administrative procedures in transferring personnel but the truth remained that all was not perfect.

The same kind of romanticism applies with the Republican Party as a whole right now.  Most Republicans today are very much like Democrats today wherein they are part of said political party because they have always been and have believed in some of the romanticism of yesteryear.  Every election cycle, the romance novel is pulled out, dusted off and quoted from with impunity and voters eat it up.

Another example is that of the Dallas Cowboys.  I remember being a fan of the Cowboys during the Landry era.  The man was a gentleman, a class act to be sure and his football players generally were model citizens.   Jerry Jones has turned the Cowboys into a money-making machine, filled to overflowing with thugs and a franchise that has somehow managed to maintain the "America's Team" label even after Tom Landry has gone on to play in the Superbowl in the sky.

It's understandable.  We have so few "heroes" in the forefront of our minds these days.  There was a time when men and women in the military were "heroes."  Men and women who stand a post in our contemporary culture receive far less praise and honor than they did once in this country.  Tom Landry and Roger Staubach served our country.  Perhaps that is why they led with such integrity.

Steele Defense Still Inadequate

Representative Kris Steele has been given some ink by his liberal friend, Ed Kelley, to provide a defense for his "conservative" existence in the State House.  Defending his pro-life record, he makes a plea for a "balanced approach," focusing on jobs and education in this next legislative session where in he may be navigating the Republican ship.

Another example of Steele's unprecedented ego and a slap in the face to real conservatives who have more than 50 functioning brain cells. 

His apology (from the Greek, "apologia," to give a defense), Kris "I-Wanna-Be-Brad-Henry-When-I-Grow-Up" Steele intentionally labels constitutional issues as "social."  Either Steele's ignorance and stupidity will go down in Oklahoma history as legendary, or he is a crafty snake in the grass who has spent far too much time with his liberal mentor, Ed Kelley.  Either way, they dynamic duo of hyperbole have given us all we need to prove that Steele is not a conservative, regardless of his position on abortion.  This statement in his asinine article says it all:
We must defend our constitutional rights, including the right to bear arms, defend against federal government overreach, and guard against those who intentionally break the law and pose a threat to public safety. My commitment as a social conservative has not changed or wavered.
He actually uses the word, "constitutional," but concludes his statement with the "social conservative" caveat.  He ignores the issue of illegal immigration altogether, which is constitutional, and something that the Republican Party campaigned on in this last election cycle.  Since when is the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution or the problem of illegal immigration merely "social conservative" issues?  It is the bloody constitution, my friends.  The Constitution many men and women currently and throughout history have raised their right hands and swore an oath to defend against enemies both foreign and domestic.  Many gave their lives to defend what Steele and the Oklahoman consider toilet tissue.  By attempting to marginalize the constitution to merely "social," it is a slap in the face to every veteran in this country.

And his trip continues elsewhere.  Read carefully this statement from Steele:
Because the national recession has left many jobless and created a $600 million state shortfall, it is clear we must enact sensible reforms that allow Oklahomans to reach their economic potential and grow our state economy.
"$600 million state shortfall."  We have a balanced budget requirement in Oklahoma - a "shortfall" is language used by those who believe the taxpayer dollars belong to the government rather than to the people.  That kind of language begins with the faulty supposition that the tax dollars earned by citizens of this great state belongs first and foremost to the government.  The way we SHOULD look at it is that our income is OUR income and the state government gets what is tantamount to an allowance to run what WE THE PEOPLE believe to be justified government programs, predicated on what has been outlined in the United States Constitution as well as the Constitution of the great state of Oklahoma.

If Kris Steele lived in any other state, he'd be considered a Democrat.

The truth that you need to know is that there are many Republicans and Democrats alike in the Oklahoma House of Representatives who are sick and tired of Steele's song and dance.  They feel as though they too have been bamboozled, flim-flammed and hoodwinked.  Otherwise constitutional conservatives have been forced to provide a defense for Steele just to try and keep the peace.  It's a disaster already and the legislature isn't even in session just yet.

No one will disagree that we need jobs in Oklahoma and we need to attract jobs here.  We do so by creating a functional infrastructure - not by appointing the same bureaucrat who failed to effectively build roads and repair bridges in the past (Fallin appointee, Gary Ridley).  Steele is right that we need education reforms, but that doesn't mean throwing more money at the problem as he is eluding to.  It means eliminating administrative functions that are costing Oklahoma taxpayers needless millions of dollars every year.  The constitutionally conservative solutions we demand are the very solutions that will accomplish what Steele is desiring but he is afraid to offend his puppet master, Fred Morgan and his liberal media mentor, Ed Kelley.

It's one of the biggest shams we've seen in a long time.  It's the same flim-flam the Democrats under Gene Stipe pulled but the language has changed and establishment Republicans are putting up with it.  Hopefully, not for long.

When exceptionally liberal Democrats are defending Steele's position, we need to be afraid.  Very afraid.

Let's not forget that within the first two years of Republican leadership in the House a few years back, Scott Pruitt pointed out to then Lt. Governor candidate Todd Hiett, Republicans had grown government by 18%.