151 Band

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Interesting Position On Appointments

The Oklahoma Truth Council has put together a very interesting position paper of sorts on the whole appointment controversy and to be candid, it is exceptionally compelling.  I invite you to read their side of the Doak/Thompson/Brogdon/Coffee appointment controversy.  Well written, and apparently well researched.  Will most assuredly get some people thinking.

Read it here.

Weekend Musings Around The Cave

The week has been a wild one to be certain, and the hits keep coming - politically, at least.  So, let's review, shall we?

Olbermann Resigns:  On Friday, Keith Olbermann abruptly announced his departure from MSNBC's top-rated show.  Granted, MSNBC lagged far behind the big dog of cable news outlets, Fox News, but Olbermann was their star.  He did not say why he was leaving, MSNBC has simply said that they have agreed to discontinue his contract.  Conservatives hate Olbermann and are celebrating his departure.  I, for one, am not.  As the proverb goes, "iron sharpens iron" and while his political leanings where clearly left of center and his rhetoric often enraged, he was the most intelligent of the left-leaning commentators out there.  Conservatives need someone like Olbermann, we need a challenge once in a while.  Unfortunately, we often participate in media that "tickles our ears" and tells us what we want to hear - never really having our minds challenged.  Talk radio has generally become one big blob of talking points memo utterances and Republican platitudes.  Olbermann challenged the establishment, asked the hard questions and rubbed our noses in it when our Christological political figures failed to do what they promised.  Pretty sad, really.

Judge Smudge:  You're not going to get an argument from this little gray duck that the judicial system is a mess in Oklahoma - nor will you get an argument that political corruption and cronyism is rampant.  But I must admit that even this story shocked me.  A high profile judge has been getting paid fraudulently for children allegedly under her care.  It's like something from a Lifetime movie, but it's true.  This is the same judge who stepped down from the Ersland case after prosecutors accused her of misconduct.  Apparently, they had no idea just how much.  Read the Oklahoman story here.

Deafening Doak Silence:  Former State Senator Randy Brogdon issued a statement about his employment with the new Insurance Commissioner and it has apparently been so powerful as to silence all the critics and even the often conservative-critical Oklahoman.  Fortunately, Representative Richard Morissette is still paying attention and has authored legislation to clarify what many believe to be our founders' intentions - that legislators need a two-year cooling off period before taking a cushy state job...like Brogdon's $100k/year job and former House Representative Mike Thompson's $100k/year job.  Mind you, it's more money than either of these boys have probably made and legislators are frothing at the mouth for such taxpayer income.  Whether the bill goes anywhere or not is really up to us.  We'll keep track of all the "no" votes and maybe someone will show up in those Districts in a couple years and raise a little hell.  It does go to show us all that it really is about money, not political principle. 

At the end of the day, there are those of us to take a step back, look around and wonder whether or not the "system" as we know it can ever be repaired.  We make headway, then we lose ground.  Perhaps it is just the fight itself, the struggle internally and externally that keeps us going, striving and desiring more from our existence.  Politics is a good place to vent because it's "safe" in many ways.  We expect the political process to be flawed and our expectations are often fulfilled with little effort and it feels good to let loose on the political establishment and to be honest, the establishment makes it bloody easy, doesn't it?

Keep checking back...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Know Your Legislator: Jeff Hickman

As we continue the Accountability Tour, it's time to turn our attention to more members of the House of Representatives in the great state of Oklahoma.  This blog has been on the cutting edge of sharing information with you regarding the Speaker of the House, Kris Steele, so now is the time to take a look at his 2nd In Command, Speaker Pro Tempore Jeff Hickman.

Representative Hickman lists the following on his House website:
Rep. Hickman was born in Alva on Nov. 28, 1973, and raised in the Cherokee and Dacoma areas. His parents are Steve and Cathy (Leamon) Hickman. He is married to Jana (Harris), who was also raised in District 58, in Freedom, Cherokee and Alva. They have two daughters, Taylor and Ashley and a son, Austin. Rep. Hickman is the fifth generation of his family to own and farm land in Alfalfa and Woods Counties.
As his profession, he lists "Farmer."

His work history, however, shows the following:
Former Press Secretary, University of Oklahoma, Office of the President, Norman
Former Vice President, Omni Media Group, Woodward
Worked as press secretary for David Boren and VP with Omni Media.  And of course, State Representative.

Hickman is an interesting cat, receiving accolades from a wide variety of groups in Oklahoma - some of whom you would expect to be supporting Democrats:
Top 10 Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior, University of Oklahoma
Letseizer Medal for top 3 student leaders, University of Oklahoma
OU President's Leadership Class
Farm Bureau; Association of Career & Technology Education Guidance
Oklahoma State Troopers Association
Oklahoma Sheriffs Association Legislative Awards
Selenite Crystal Festival "Honorary Prospector"
Cherokee High School Valedictorian
 If you have questions or concerns for the Oklahoma House of Representatives' 2nd in command, you can reach him here.

The Evolution Of Sally Kern(servative)

Sally before...
State Representative Sally Kern is the darling of the Oklahoma conservative movement and when she was elected, residents of her House District pretty much knew what they were going to get.  Sally has never really focused on fiscal conservative issues or even constitutionally conservative issues such as the 10th Amendment, 2nd Amendment or 4th Amendment.  Sally has been aggressively fighting against the "gay agenda" in the past but now, it's those pesky teachers who teach evolution in schools.

Sally has, well, evolved.  No longer is her hair cropped short and masculine, now it is longer and much softer and dare I say it...feminine.  Sally is a former teacher, the wife of a Baptist pastor, so it isn't horribly surprising when we see bills such as Sally's HB1551.

Sally after makeover
What is this bill?  Well, according to Sally, it isn't a "creationism bill," but is filled with jibber jabber that doesn't really make much sense.  But you go to Sally's website and it's clear what she is trying to do - to force teachers to teach the weaknesses of evolutionary theory:
Those individuals who are calling this bill a creation bill are only casting their own conceptions upon the bill.  Why do those who only want the strengths of evolution taught fear it when someone proposes teaching its weaknesses?  There are weaknesses to evolution that many of the major proponents of it speak about themselves.  True education consists of examining all sides of an issue.  Critical thinking skills are sharpened when an issue, regardless of what it may be, is examined, analyzed, and explored from all scientific points of view.
When I saw Sally at a forum talking about "getting more money into the classroom," this isn't what I thought she had in mind.  I like Sally.  She is fun and a good Christian woman.  She is a person who does not lack the courage of her convictions and for that, she is to be commended.

I wonder if these were the "social conservative" bills, however, that Kris Steele said the Republican leadership would NOT focus upon during this session...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Speaker Steele Misses Mark (Again)

Immigration reform was a pretty big deal in the 2010 election cycle.  Even Governor Mary Fallin came out in support of Arizona's illegal immigration law and her supporters ripped then Lt. Governor Jari Askins for not being tough enough on illegal immigration.  But now, it appears that House Speaker Kris Steele will spend his last two years in office ensuring promises made during campaigns will not, in fact, be kept.

Speaker Steele sent out this email to House members...accompanied by my commentary, of course:
Given the potential significance of the immigration debate this year, the House, Senate, and Governor’s office are forming a special joint committee to develop a comprehensive immigration reform proposal.
Translated:  They are putting together a committee that will talk big, but do little.  It is to appease the masses, to make us all think that something will be accomplished.  Of course, Steele fails to mention that there are already "Arizona-plus" types of legislation already filed.  This will give him an out to be able to kill those bills.  Remember what President Bush did with "comprehensive immigration reform?"  Nothing.  Not a damned thing. 
The group will include four members from the House and four members from the Senate (three Republicans, one Democrat from each body), as well as representation from the Attorney General’s office. Rep. Faught, Rep. Ortega, and Rep. Peterson have agreed to serve as the House Republican members on this committee.
Representative Ortega and Pam Peterson?  Really?  Neither of these Republicans are known for their tough stance on illegal immigration.  Steele appointing these two to the committee is tantamount to appointing Rosie O'Donnell to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Nutrition.  I can't wait to see who the Senate members will be or who will represent the Attorney General's office.

Next, Steele will tell us that former Governor Brad Henry will chair the committee on tort reform.
As I have often said, there must be appropriate consequences for those who intentionally break the law, particularly for those who endanger public safety or divert taxpayer resources. To achieve that goal, the committee will carefully consider proposals and develop a comprehensive reform package that truly meets the needs of Oklahoma.
This is rich.  "Intentionally break the law..."  Illegal immigrants have already broken the law intentionally by there mere presence here, failing to follow legal immigration policies.  Illegal immigrants "divert taxpayer resources" already - we have schools that teach children exclusively in Spanish because of the increase of illegal immigrants.  They receive state health care, they receive free or reduced lunches at school.  Either Steele is completely ignorant of the impact of illegal immigration, can't understand what "illegal" means, or he is a patsy for the Chamber of Commerce who absolutely hates illegal immigration reform because many of their members employ illegals.  The bills in the legislature right now, such as Arizona-plus immigration reform and HB1804 meet the needs of Oklahoma.

Why is Randy Terrill not on this committee?  Why is Mike Christian not on this committee - a man whose House District has huge problems with illegal immigration?  Because they want real solutions, not platitudes.

We have been bamboozled.  Hoodwinked.

Thursday Morning Quarterback

It's been a hectic week and I've missed a few opportunities to write some commentary - I would start, then get distracted.  Adult onset attention deficit disorder, I suppose.  Since we're iced in today I have the chance to cover some material.  Here goes...

Mike McCarville Prayers:  Mike is reporting on his blog that he currently is suffering from double pneumonia.  Pray for him and his family because there is absolutely nothing fun about double pneumonia and frankly, we need Mike around for a while.  

GOP State Senate Agenda:  This is one of the biggest non-stories of the year.  The Senate GOP announced their legislative agenda and for a minute, I thought I was again listening to former Speaker of the House, Todd Hiett, telling me on WKY that the reason we didn't have more jobs in Oklahoma was because of tort reform.  When asked which businesses refused to come to Oklahoma because of our tort laws, well, he didn't have much of a response.  Fast forward to this week and we get more of the same.  Tort reform, "balancing the budget" (when we already have a balanced budget amendment), parental choice in education (a hat-tip to Brandon Dutcher at OCPA) and Gary Ridley's favorite - increasing funding for transportation (note the lack of fiscal accountability for ODOT).  Nothing spectacular, really, but there is some interesting talk about tax reform. 

Stupidity in Tucson:  While much of the insane rhetoric about the shootings in Tucson has calmed down, there are still extremists who continue to blame Sarah Palin or at least try to make a connection to her targeted House Districts.  As Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does." 

Tucson Inspires Gun Control:  It didn't take long after the shooting in Tucson for a few legislators across this great nation to determine that the way to fix the problem is to restore the failed so-called "assault weapons ban" and to restrict high capacity magazines.  Some talk about psychological testing should be done before an individual is allowed to enjoy their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms.  How this would be accomplished is anyone's guess but you can well imagine that other individual rights to privacy would be compromised to accomplish this task.  The Left will not rest until firearms are completely restricted or banned.  We need to learn that fact and respond accordingly.

Crude Oil Creep:  While no one was watching, the NYMEX crude prices creeped up and continue to creep.  Analysts have projected that soon it will top the $100/bbl mark and that gasoline will hit $4/gallon this summer.  With the Obama ban on offshore drilling, our OPEC enemies are raking in the dough and this administration plans to do nothing about it. 

More to follow, I'm sure.