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Friday, April 01, 2011

2012 Obama Commercial

First Friday In April Week In Review

It has been a wild and wacky week in politics, world news and Oklahoma pop culture, so let's take a trip down memory lane for a few moments and review...

Governor Fallin's Health Care Proposal:  Many conservatives have pimp-slapped this and Governor Fallin has pretty much dismissed any controversy here.  Former Oklahoma City Mayor, Kirk Humphreys, however has other things to say about it.  The Oklahoma Truth Council has the story and some very interesting insight.

Steele vs. Terrill:  The caged death-match continues under the methane gas filled dome between Speaker Steele and uber-conservative Randy Terrill and there seems to be no end in sight.  With the exception of perhaps the conclusion of the legislative session itself, the conservative wing of the House GOP continues to push forward an agenda that includes a return to the Constitution while the Chamber crowd on the left have seen victory after victory.  The real test will be whether or not the cause d'jour of the GOP (tort reform) will reach the Governor's desk.  Terrill isn't one to back down and has been in the ring with the big guns previously.  Pretty much owning his House District, Terrill will have his seat in the House for as long as he wants to keep it.  The fight with Steele and the charges leveled by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater put on hold any plans for Terrill's supporters to encourage him to run for Lt. Governor, but Terrill is far from finished. 

City Council Races:  The Chamber has spoken and has endorsed their candidate, but the grassroots and Senator Andrew Rice have entered the debate and will be knocking doors all weekend to slow the tide of mailers from the Chamber crowd.  Shadid and Swinton look to be in the midst of a fight of their lives - and all of it for an Oklahoma City Council seat.  It makes you wonder just what is at stake and why the power structure is so interested in this race.

Nuclear Japan:  The tragedy continues to worsen and the death toll will soar before it's all over.  The nuclear cloud has traveled already to the United States, some reports showing up in trace amounts in milk from California and even Spokane, Washington.  Nuclear power supporters are reeling from the negative press, the difficulty in justifying a continued push for this type of energy.  Conversely, alternative energy supporters are gearing up for a huge push to show that wind power and solar power is the answer to these disastrous problems.

Morgan Mess:  Former Democratic Senate Leader Mike Morgan is facing indictments for accepting payments of up to $400,000.  Everyone is upset about this - justifiably so - but how is this different than taking campaign contributions from wealthy donors, and then appointing them to various posts across the state of Oklahoma?  What is the aggregate value of being placed on the Board of Regents, for example?  Politics in Oklahoma has reached an all-time low of corruption.  The Gene Stipe era was supposed to be over, but it lingers doesn't it?  Don't be surprised with there are more corruption charges and investigations into the Republican power structure as well.  Republicans will do well to remember that the ebb and flow of politics means that they will not stay in power forever and human nature being what it is, when the Democrats take over again, there will be retribution.

Libya, Liberal Hypocrisy:  When former President Bush put troops in harms way going into Iraq and Afghanistan, there was gnashing of teeth and wailing by the Left in this country.  Now, this President is putting boots on the ground in Libya and it is now somehow a good thing.  I don't get it.  Our troops are stretched, our military capacity has reached maximum density and all the talk of bringing home our heroes is faded into a distant memory.  Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

And the hits just keep coming...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Downtown OKC: You Can't Get There From Here

If you're one of the unfortunate souls who must travel to downtown Oklahoma City these days for employment, my heart goes out to you - it is a construction nightmare that makes no sense whatsoever.  And the signs posted everywhere that are designed to "help" are little more than irritants, created on the 7th layer of hell to distract you from the fact that soon, your vehicle will need suspension work from the damage done by potholes and unmarked vortexes that are known to destroy even the most expensive shock absorbers.

But it is part of progress, the American way, and the growth of a city destined for greatness, right?

The Devon Tower structure will be magnificent when completed, to be sure, but the thinking that most of 6th Street and Robinson north of the Devon superstructure is just too much to handle at once in my opinion.  Oh, and there's the construction by the arena formerly known as the Ford Center that itself must frustrate even the most avid Thunder fan.  But I digress.

Progress is wonderful, but one must imagine what the conference attendee or out-of-town visitor must think of our fair city.  Nevermind all of the political strife and wrangling that is taking place at present, but consider the infrastructure disaster itself for just a moment...think hard.  We have two boathouses now down on the river and if you've been to the river, you will see that it is still a polluted mess that rivals the shoreline of Cleveland, Ohio a few decades ago. 

The message being communicated to the masses by the city leaders is remarkably different than reality.  Yes, we are a city on the move, a city that is growing and doing our level best to show we have not been adversely impacted by the recession and weakened economy - and it is largely true.  But seriously...if you're trying to get around downtown, pack a lunch and some mood-altering medications because you'll need them. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Charlie Meadows Takes On CHK (Sort Of)

Excerpted from the OCPAC Blog:


The presentation and our conversations with Brian Alford at the OCPAC meeting last Wednesday were quite lively. It is very clear that many people are not too enthused about the new smart meters being installed system wide by OG&E. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will funneled $100 million dollars in subsidies to OG&E to get these meters installed. I believe most of the concern is over the possibility that the EPA might someday order a company like OG&E to ration electricity. While OG&E has no interest in doing that, the technology does make that possible and so far OG&E has not proven a willingness to tell the feds to go to hell.

Prior to our luncheon, there was a meeting held at the Corporation Commission offices with newly elected Attorney General Scott Pruitt taking the lead by explaining his intentions to take legal action against the EPA. The problem is their un-reasonable edict about forcing all of PSO and OG&E’s Oklahoma coal fired generating facilities to either install expensive scrubbers on their equipment or switch to natural gas for fuel which turns the generators to make electricity.

The problem seems to stem from the EPA’s mandate to improve air quality over our national parks and wildlife refuges. One of the things we learned last Wednesday is that the EPA has no scientific evidence that the intermittent haze over the Wichita Wildlife Refuge, West of Lawton, is caused by the 3 coal fired generating plants that are close to 200 miles to the East Northeast of the refuge. Rather, the EPA has determined the problem to be caused by using a model and a model that does not represent the facts of the situation. In reality, OG&E’s coal fired plants already produce electricity at a pollution level below the standards the EPA would want to obtain with the scrubbers.

Therefore, all the expense to Oklahoma consumers and businesses to obtain a certain level of pollution emissions with the installation of scrubbers would be feel good efforts for the radical environmentalists and just another case where the bureaucrats under the Obama administration can prove that they can yank the chains of the people and the states.

When asked if common sense fails to prevail and OG&E might be forced to install the scrubbers or convert the coal fired plants to natural gas, which might be the choice for OG&E? While the answer was speculation, Mr. Alford suggested their preference would probably be scrubbers. The reason is the cost to the rate payers to install scrubbers would probably require a rate increase of 15% or a little more, whereas the cost to convert to natural gas would require a rate increase of more than 30%.

Now, back to the meeting last Wednesday morning at the Corporation Commission. In Thursday’s Oklahoman, it was reported that “A Chesapeake Energy Corp. executive (Tom Price, Chesapeake’s senior vice president of corporate development) said it doesn’t make sense to fight the federal plan because Oklahoma stands to benefit from increased use of natural gas.”

Let me interpret that for everyone: what he should have said is that Oklahoma’s natural gas producers (especially Chesapeake) and state GOVERNMENT stand to benefit on the backs of consumers who will have to shoulder an enormous increase in electric rates. In addition, all Oklahoma businesses other than those in the natural gas industry will also see their overhead increase which will be harmful to their businesses and our attempt to see our economy grow.

In addition, if PSO and OG&E were to convert to natural gas, there would be an additional rate increase in addition to the cost of conversion. This would be a permanent rate increase as the cost of producing electricity from gas is higher than with the use of coal. And of course, when the inevitable occurs again sometime in the future, when supply (we currently have an excess supply of natural gas which is why prices are depressed) will again struggle to keep up with demand, we will see the price of natural gas spike up and our electric rates will skyrocket for some period of time. Of course companies like Chesapeake love that scenario, because their GREED is then temporarily satisfied.

Now, let me make it crystal clear, I am not an opponent of Chesapeake energy or any other Oklahoma gas or oil producer. I want them to be successful. I want them to sell vast amounts of the valuable oil and gas they produce and given enough time they will sell it all. What I do object to is their efforts to use government (in this case the EPA) to obtain an advantage over their competitors (in this case coal) so they can sell their products sooner than what the free market determines is best for the consumers.

AG Scott Pruitt handled it perfectly when he said: “the debate over whether to fuel the state’s power plants with coal or natural gas is worthwhile, but such decisions should be made in Oklahoma, not in Washington D.C. Right on General Pruitt, proceed in the courts with all vigor against the nameless faceless bureaucrats in Washington.

Nanny State In Under Guise Of Meth Law

We all know what a pain in the behind it is just to get some cold and flu medicine that actually works.  After giving up your first-born, samples of your DNA and a retinal scan, the pharmacist looks at you with eyes squinting to see whether or not your vehicle doubles as a meth lab.  After FBI agents follow you home to ensure you don't live in a shanty under the bridge, you are allowed to self-medicate and relieve some of the symptoms a cold or flu ravages you with.

A bill in the Oklahoma legislature would require a doctor's prescription to purchase any medication containing pseudoephedrine and fortunately, the bill authored by the not-so-conservative Doug Cox (R-idiculous), is dead for now, but according to a former meth-cooker, as reported in the Oklahoman, what is needed is an all-out ban of the product.

Enter:  Nanny State government because the government knows what is best.

At some point, We The People have to just say "no" to the Nanny State and tell our elected officials to stop legislating to the lowest common denominator in our culture.  There are plenty of laws on the books at present and if you look at the docket at the Oklahoma County District Attorney's office, it appears as though the laws and subsequent prosecution is working.

The push to require a physician's prescription to obtain products containing pseudoephedrine is as a result of the tragic death of three young children, who died in a fire in an RV.  The logic used by Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater is that since other states are becoming Nanny States (in essence), we must follow suit.   The Oklahoman reads:
Only 10 meth labs were found last year in Oklahoma County, compared with more than 300 in Tulsa County, Prater said.  “But it’s just a matter of time before we’re going to see this in every county in the state,” he said.
Only 10 labs were found last year.  That is a dramatic decrease and it shows that the existing laws are working.

The desire to intrude on virtually every aspect of our lives has reached epidemic proportions in government.  The very officials we elected to maintain our freedoms, to preserve them, are the officials who now want more control, more money to justify their existence.  Rarely will you hear a politician say that what they have done in the past is working - more needs to be done.  It is a never-ending cycle of self-gratification. 

Which begs the following questions:

More people are killed and impacted by drunk driving than meth - why is it that mandatory sentencing isn't mandatory sentencing?  Why aren't district courts notified and municipalities allowed to prosecute DUI's?

People are killed in traffic fatalities every week in Oklahoma...do we ban cars?

The government we elected because they said they would grant us more freedom and be tough on crime is turning out to be the same government we've seen in the past.  Doug Cox is anything but a conservative and is turning out to be a water-carrier for the AMA.  If a bill such as this is passed, the only ones to benefit will be doctors and insurance companies who get to increase their rates and force even more office visits.  Perhaps it will help pay for their new lake homes after the state sells off all of our state parks...

You make the call:  Nanny State or necessary government action?

Closing State Parks?

News Radio 1000, KTOK is reporting that House Democrats are gearing up for a fight against the closure of seven state parks in Oklahoma.  The reasoning for the proposed closure is financial - the state of Oklahoma is running on empty and the Tourism Department's budget is lean (except for the $3 million per year paid to a local ad agency, of course).

Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves what will happen when these state parks are closed.  At Lake Texoma, the famed Catfish Bay area was sold to developers where upscale vacation homes were built.  It's public knowledge as to who was involved in the transaction and you can't blame the wealthy for seizing an opportunity handed them by members of the Oklahoma governmental structure.  Much like the Bass Pro Shops deal, one cannot fault Bass Pro for being given a sweetheart deal...

State Parks are affordable means of outdoor activity for the average Oklahoman.  Even those who are middle or low income can find a weekend get-away with the kids an inexpensive yet exceptional way to truly experience the great outdoors.  The closure of state parks and the eventual sale of the property to wealthy developers is tantamount to public hunting land being sold to out-of-state outfitters who, in turn, charge ridiculous fees for hunting and the taxes go to another state.

Once you lose state park land, it never comes back.  It is gone forever.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Catching Up - March Monday Madness

Over the last week or so, things have been simply nutty.  Whether it be car accidents, emergency room antics or insurance company shenanigans, it's been a wild one and now, let's get caught up, shall we?

Speaker Steele:  The Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives seems to be facing a bit of a dilemma (again)...this time relating to his position on supporting a requirement for insurance companies to cover autism insurance.  These days, I don't believe there is a human being alive who shouldn't have access to good medical care.  Apparently, in 2008, Speaker Steele had made some comments about supporting bills such as Nick's Law to ensure that insurance companies did not discriminate.  With the new "conservative" feel in the Oklahoma House and Senate, the question remains as to which side of the street Speaker Steele will walk.

Open Carry:  I have been receiving emails quite frequently about State Senator Russell's open carry bill and I have to be consistent on this one - I don't support Open Carry.  Like the Oklahoma Rifle Association, I have some problems with this concept.  Not only is it bad for business (I know, a Chamber response), but it just doesn't make good common sense.  My preference?  Quick, easy access to Concealed Carry Permits.  Problem solved.

More to follow...