Monday, September 30, 2013

Refusing to Face Reality, GOP Tea Party House Acts Like Spoiled Brats on Continuing Resolution on Way to Shutdown Government


Most Americans would blame congressional Republicans rather than President Barack Obama for a shutdown, and many Americans view the GOP as acting like "spoiled children," according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday.
Six in 10 respondents reject the GOP's approach and think it is more important to avoid a shutdown than to make major changes to the Affordable Care Act. 
The poll is an indication that the Republicans' hard-line approach does not resonate with many Americans, and could have consequences in future elections. Nevertheless, the GOP has touted the tactic of using the continuing resolution to fund the government to demand changes to Obamacare, crafting the populist slogan "Make DC Listen."
Breaking News from Huffington Post is that the House GOP's Third Shutdown Offer Would Delay Individual Mandate By One Year which the Senate will strip from the bill as they have asked for a clean bill with no riders.  The House GOP Members of Leadership and the House are stubborn morons who have convinced themselves the President and Democrats would cave to their demands.  They refuse to acknowledge that Obama won by a hefty margin and that ACA was found Constitutional including the mandate clause.  If they think this President and the Democrats are going to cave to their wishes, they are definitely on something.  How dare the GOP not to just pass a clean bill for a continuing resolution and go to conference committee on the Budget.  
Democrats were perplexed by the House's insistence on pushing its riders, since Democrats have already agreed to the GOP's spending levels in the short-term bill. 
"It's the numbers they want," said Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.). "We are taking their numbers. We're not happy about that. We're willing to compromise and take their numbers for the six-week period -- we want it clean." 
"This is about six weeks of supporting our troops, our veterans, our seniors, our children, the economy," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
Senate has already agreed to the numbers for a continuing resolution for six weeks but the GOP is insisting on attaching riders which makes the House Tea Party GOP look really bad as they refuse to pass a clean bill.  Shows how the GOP House Leadership has totally sold out to the Tea Party who want to shut Government down.

For the last few years we have heard Republicans slam the Senate for not passing a budget.  This spring the Senate passed a budget and House Leadership bowing to the Tea Party refused to send any representatives to the Conference Committee to work out the details.  That is why once again we have a continuing resolution. It is obvious that the Tea Party in the House planned to shutdown the Government all along if their demands were not met.  

Holding the Government hostage to fulfill their Tea Party pipe dream of defunding and destroying Obamacare should get them removed from office.  Is is treason to destroy the Nation's economy because as a party they didn't get their way in the last election?  We are in a time of war and sure sounds like the Tea Party anarchists running the House are pretty close to treason and should be forced to resign from office. Aren't there Republicans left with any common sense in the House to stand up to these thugs or have they all sold out to the Koch Bros Tea Party?

Another poll the House GOP Tea Party leadership and members will ignore as they have convinced themselves the Country is with them after fielding calls to their offices telling them to shut down Government -- all the callers are reading a script and yet their bosses think the vast majority of the American people support their temper tantrum of shutting down the Government?  Talk about not facing reality.  When 87% of all Americans are against this Congress and many think the House GOP are acting like spoiled brats, yet they stay on the course to shut down Government shows an arrogance and refusal to face reality that most of us have not seen in our lifetime.

The story that broke yesterday about some members of the House Republicans being drunk on the House floor is despicable and every last Republican drinking before the vote should be resigning from the House but that will never happen as they only care about their re-election and celebrating their victory after the vote they know will shutdown government.  Did leadership have to get drunk to push the garbage of a bill through the House since they all lack backbones?  Are they ever going to admit that President Obama won the election, the Democrats picked up seats in the Senate and House, and that more people voted for Dems in House districts then GOP.  Only through gerrymandering do the Tea Party GOP still control the House.


Excerpts from Politicususa.com: 
According to Article III, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, “any person who levies war against the United States or adheres to its enemies by giving them Aid and Comfort has committed treason within the meaning of the Constitution. The term aid and comfort refers to any act that manifests a betrayal of allegiance to the United States, such as furnishing enemies with arms, troops, transportation, shelter, or classified information.” Republicans deliberately harmed the U.S. economy in the 2011 debt ceiling crisis, and the resulting sequestration cuts began affecting the defense industry on March 1 2013. Coupled with using extortion for political gain, the Republican plot to shut down the government must be regarded as one part of several subversive acts to weaken the power of the United States to attack or resist its enemies. The Treason Clause is particularly applicable to Republicans because they were, and are, weakening the United States during a time America is at war in Afghanistan. 
Republicans know the health law is good for Americans, and although esteemed economic expert Paul Krugman contends conservatives “don’t understand” the policy behind the ACA, that is just not true. They understand it perfectly and know it is already succeeding or they would not take extraordinary measures to see it eliminated; including shutting down the government and harming the economy in a time of war. With national security agencies preparing to lay off personnel when the shutdown occurs, hundreds-of-thousands of defense industry employees already facing furloughs and job losses, and economic recovery hanging in the balance, it is time for Americans to face the reality that the Republican Party is deliberately jeopardizing this nation’s security and for that they are guilty of treason.
Sure sounds like Treason to me as we at war and this Government shutdown is going to affect getting supplies to our troops.  This is showing how the GOP talking about being the party that supports the military is rhetoric.  They don't care about the troops or they wouldn't be shutting down Government risking our national security.

Couldn't agree more with Michael Tomasky's depiction of Speaker Boehner last week on The Daily Beast.  Boehner is by far the worst Speaker in my lifetime and would hazard to guess probably in the history of this Country.  The very idea that Boehner and other leadership sold out to newly elected Tea Party members when they took control of the House in 2010 says all you need to know about this spineless, unethical Speaker who by all accounts loves his alcohol and his leadership team.  World 'leader' should be removed because the whole group are followers not 'leaders!'

We’ve come to expect the Big Crazy from these Republicans, so we all kind of accepted the idea Friday that the House attached the defund-Obamacare provisions to its resolution to keep funding the government. But really. Stop and think about it. It’s totally outrageous that a speaker of the House of Representatives would even allow such a measure to get to the floor. The speaker is the second–most important person in the country in terms of making the country work. He’s more important than the Senate leader because spending bills must originate in the House, and the House, which in theory is closer to the people, was always envisioned as the body that would do more to drive the nation’s legislative agenda. It’s not for nothing that the speaker of the House is third in the line of presidential succession. He’s not supposed to agree with the president, but he is supposed to agree that the government should exist and do affirmative things. 
Here are the two questions that really matter this week as we head toward a possible government shutdown. How many Republicans in the House really would consider a shutdown as some kind of victory? And what is John Boehner prepared to do about them? Whatever the answer to the first question, the answer to the second is almost sure to be “not much.” Boehner is easily the worst House speaker in modern history. Far from being the figure of perverse sympathy that some suggest, he embodies exactly what’s wrong with the GOP—mainstream conservatism’s total capitulation to the extremists. He’s a disgrace. 
And what do we have? A speaker who has permitted 40 votes repealing a duly passed law and who then agreed to let his extremists hold the operation of the entire government hostage to its fantasies. And fantasies they are. Everyone knows that. Obamacare is not being defunded. Even Ted Cruz knows it deep down.

Of course, there is a different between Pelosi’s and Boehner’s caucuses. The most left-wing Democrats in Pelosi’s caucus aren’t nearly as left wing as Boehner’s right wingers are right wing, and the House lefties didn’t come to Washington to burn anything down. So in this sense Boehner’s job has been harder. But he hasn’t even tried to stand up to the hostage takers. And that’s how extremists take over. Everyone who knows better cowers before them. Boehner has at every turn. He talks out of both sides of his mouth, making one statement to assuage mainstream opinion for every two or three he makes to placate the hard right, which just adds to the rudderlessness and weakness he conveys.
Excerpts:  Read More at The Daily Beast 
Time to elect people to Congress in 2014 who will put America first not their jobs or their wealthy donors.  Vote out these obstructionists GOP Tea Party from the halls of Congress and return sanity to Congress.  This longtime Republican is voting, working, and donating to Democrats to take back the Congress and States to common sense and sanity -- send the Tea Party to the trash bin of history along with the Koch Brothers and all their various affiliated organizations.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Oklahoma ranks 46th in Spending on Mental Health

The hits keep on coming about the lousy state of affairs with healthcare in Oklahoma.  When it is not being dead last in Women's Health, it is being 46th in spending on Mental Health.

Had saved this story earlier to show how bad in Oklahoma it is with mental health when the state reverses cuts to add more and they are still ranked near the bottom.  Suicide is #2 in deaths trailing only accidental injuries according to a report from Oklahoma's Department of Mental Health.  The fact that people 15 to 34 are committing suicide at such an alarming rate should cause the Republican Legislature to take a few giant leaps as advocated by the Journal Record not give a 5.6% increase after years of cutting and neglect.
A story in the Journal Record cites a statistic from the state’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services that people with severe mental illness die 25 years sooner than those without. There is no available psychiatric diagnosis on Alexis or Lanza, but a police bullet is certainly one way those lives are shortened. Failure to seek medical treatment is another, as is failure to maintain a medicine regimen, and, unfortunately, suicide. In Oklahoma, suicide is the second most common cause of death among people age 15 to 34, trailing only accidental injuries. 
Oklahoma’s per capita spending on mental health in fiscal year 2010 was an appalling $53.05, 46th among the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The average per capita spending in the United States is $120.56; that’s 2.27 times what Oklahoma spends. Every adjacent state except Texas spends more. It will improve slightly for fiscal year 2014 because Gov. Mary Fallin proposed and the Legislature passed a $17.4 million increase for the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department. The money is desperately needed, but it’s only a 5.6-percent raise after decades of budgetary neglect. 
That’s a step in the right direction, but lawmakers must consider a few giant leaps.
Read more from AP which is not flattering to the Republican run Oklahoma: 
Oklahoma also cut mental health programs in 2010 and 2011. But Republican Gov. Mary Fallin, a conservative elected in the GOP landslide of 2010 on a promise to cut spending, reversed course last year after grim warnings about the effect on public safety, and after several teen suicides in Oklahoma City.
"There just weren't enough resources," said Harry Tyler, director of the Mental Health Association of Central Oklahoma. 
Fallin approved a 20 percent budget increase and has pledged to make mental health a priority again this year. 
"You'll see more emphasis on being able to identify people that might have mental health challenges," she said. 
Tyler said he would encourage Fallin to provide more money for screening teenagers who could endanger themselves or others.
This is the highlight of the major bills the Legislature Passed and the Governor signed.  BTW, the cost of driver's license are being raised by $12 to make up for the tax cut.  Typical Republican response -- cut taxes for the wealthy and raise fees.  The average taxpayer will save an average of $82 a year or around $1.50 a week while someone with a $250,000 tax bill will now pay $6,250 less or $120 a week.  Can someone explain to me why the legislature would pass a bill knowing it is against the State Constitution as a bill cannot contain more then one subject?  From the Tulsa World:
Tax cut: Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law House Bill 2032, which will reduce the state's top income tax rate to 5 percent from 5.25 percent in 2015 and further reduce it to 4.85 percent if the state sees enough revenue growth to cover the difference.  
If fully implemented at the 4.85 percent rate, the state would lose $253 million in income tax revenue.  
The drop to 5 percent will result in an average savings to taxpayers of $82 per individual income tax return, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.  
Efforts to reach a tax-cut agreement fell apart during the prior legislative session. 
Capitol repairs: The tax-cut bill also calls for spending $120 million to repair the Capitol building, which has structural, electrical and plumbing problems.  
"This is the seat of government," Fallin said of the building. "It is long overdue."
A legal challenge to the law is expected on the grounds that it deals with more than one subject.  
The Oklahoma Constitution requires that bills contain only one subject. If a bill deals with more than one issue, a lawmaker who favors one item but dislikes another would be forced to vote for or against the entire measure. 
Fees for driver's licenses will be increasing. Fallin signed Senate Bill 652, which increases the cost of a Class D driver's license by $12, bringing the total cost to $33.50 for a four-year license. Fees for other types of licenses are also increased under the measure, which is expected to generate $8.7 million to employ more workers to shorten lines for driver's licenses. 
Workers comp: Fallin also signed into law a State Chamber-backed workers compensation reform measure.  
Senate Bill 1062 changes the workers comp system from a court-based process to one that is administrative and reduces the amounts paid to injured workers. Supporters say it is necessary to attract businesses, adding that awards still remain higher than those in other states.  
Fallin called the measure "historic," noting that it will reduce costs and take care of injured workers.  
Rep. Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, said companies that allow unsafe workplaces are the winners while those who are hurt on the job are the losers under the measure.  
Critics said the savings come at the expense of injured workers and that it did little to address medical costs.  
Excerpt:  Read More at the Tulsa World
The hits to the average person in Oklahoma just keep coming and yet so many voters keep sending the same people back to the legislature to pass bills they are told to pass by the Chamber and ALEC.  That doesn't even count all the social issue bills from the hard right that take up a lot of time.  We have way too many State Legislators for a state this size -- 101 in the House and 48 in the Senate.  They are also the highest paid in our region and get healthcare from the State for the whole year even though they only work for four months officially.

"ENOUGH ALREADY" in Oklahoma!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Another Day, Another Low Ranking for Oklahoma -- 50th in Women's Health, Shortage of OB-GYNS

This is just unbelievable!  Now Oklahoma is dead last in women's health and there is one (1) OB-GYN for every 18,713 women.  

Yet Governor Fallin saw fit to call a special session of the Legislature to deal with Tort Reform which cost the taxpayers.  Even then there was little to no debate as the GOP shoved everything through the Legislature passing 23 lawsuit reform bills to end week long special session.  Get that -- they passed 23 lawsuit reform bills with little to no debate.  Did they even know what they were voting on in the special session or was this putting up a bill and GOP going along like lemmings?
The bills are intended to replace a single, omnibus measure enacted in 2009 and declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court in June. The bills are intended to correct the 2009 law's violation of the state's single-subject rule. One bill, the most controversial, deals with the so-called certificate of merit requirement, which the court has twice thrown out on other grounds. 
Another 40 times of passing a bill that has been thrown out by the Courts and they will catch up with the GOP House on Affordable Healthcare Act.  While women's health issues are ignored, the Republican State Government passed tort reform as ALEC and the State Chamber wanted in a special session.  What has happened to the Republicans to sell out to ALEC, the Chamber, Tea Party (Koch Bros) and other special interest groups in Oklahoma?  Eventually they will suffer the same fate as the Democrats did in this state prior to 2002 when Republicans took the House and then eventually the Senate.  GOP has gone too far hard right while most voters are center right.  Today they are in the hip pocket of special interests just like the Democrats were before 2002.  IMHO one of these days voters are going to wake up and say "ENOUGH ALREADY" decided to give reasonable people their vote.

Reading this made my blood boil at OK GOP elected officials.  What are they wasting our tax dollars on because it sure is not education or healthcare.  This week there is an Energy Conference in Tulsa on October 4th hosted by Governor Fallin.  Oil and gas will love it!    
Study: Oklahoma ranks 50th in women’s health, reveals shortage in Ob-GynsUPDATED 6:34 PM CDT Sep 25, 2013  
By RANDY KREHBIEL & BARBARA HOBEROCK World Staff Writers on Sep 10, 2013, at 2:26 AM  Updated on 9/16/13 at 10:58 PM 
OKLAHOMA CITY —The implementation of the Affordable Care Act is fast approaching, and Oklahoma doctors are bracing for a dramatic rise in the number of patients seeking care. 
Dr. Lydia Nightingale practices obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She said the wave of women seeking care will overwhelm doctors. 
“We're really excited about the opportunities of the Affordable Care Act," Nightingale said. "We want to increase access to women's care and we're going to do that, but as a consequence there's going to be a large influx of patients." 
In a study by the Center for American Progress, Oklahoma ranked 50th in the nation for women’s health. 
The same report highlighted another alarming statistic. In Oklahoma, there is a critical shortage of Ob-Gyns, with only 1 for every 18,713 women. 
“We're still at a low level across the nation, and Oklahoma is one of the lowest,” she said. 
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said 46 out of Oklahoma’s 77 counties don’t have a single Ob-Gyn. Nightingale said the statistics are not surprising. 
“Soon, we're going to the same number Ob-Gyns retiring as that are coming out of residency,” Nightingale said. 
As more Oklahoma women sign up for insurance, Oklahoma doctors like Nightingale worry it will affect their practices. 
“I do feel the burden of patients who are trying to get into the clinic, and there may not be enough spots for them and places for them to be seen,” Nightingale said.

Excerpt:  Read more at KOCO and watch the video 
These numbers are mind boggling:
The same report highlighted another alarming statistic. In Oklahoma, there is a critical shortage of Ob-Gyns, with only 1 for every 18,713 women. 
Oklahoma Republicans have also attacked Planned Parenthood like in other states where some women go to get help.  If Planned Parenthood was closed which the GOP wants, then where are these women supposed to go?  Time Oklahoma voters woke up to what the hard right Republicans are doing to this state and start voting out the hard right and elect common sense office holders from both parties.  The GOP has proven that one party Government doesn't work just like it didn't work for the Democrats earlier.

Time to take Oklahoma back toward the center and away from the hard right cliff they are on and at the same time throw ALEC who writes the bills out of the State.  If a member of the legislature cannot write his own bill, then it shouldn't be passed.  I can understand help from legal but to allow an organization like ALEC to write the same legislation in state after state is just wrong.   Organization after organization has left ALEC due to their hard right stance and our Governor gets an award from them.  

Time for the Oklahoma Legislature to answer to all the people not just the special interests!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Welcome to #1 Red State Oklahoma which Ranks #3 in Women Murdered by Men

“Nine women each week are shot to death by their husband or intimate partner,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Oklahoma and other Red States are not faring well in all of the data that is coming out recently.  The latest on gun violence again women along with other issues affecting women is not something Oklahoma should be proud.  Oklahoma already scored #1 in the amount of money cut from the public schools.  That's one ranking you don't want.  Then they come in at 49th in teacher pay and even with an election year pay raise suggested by Superintendent Barrasi who is up for reelection, they still rank 49th.  Now we are running 3rd in women murdered by men and 48th as the worst state for women to live from pay to healthcare.  Someone tell me how this State can be sold to businesses with these rankings?

Instead of social issues highlighting the agenda of the Legislature, time to get pro-active and start taking care of real issues facing our State.  You would think these rankings would wake up elected officials but they will just come back with the "Oklahoma standard" mantra which is not something I would brag about when you are at or near he bottom on so many issues that are really important.

They keep bragging about the rainy day fund but how about spending that money to improve our education which eventually would show up in how women fare in the workplace instead of being #48. Past time to lose the concentration on social issues and tell the hard right to sit down and shut up on abortion, gays, creationism, bible being taught in schools, and other religious/social issues they push to the front in every session.  Since Republicans don't seem to be able to say no to these groups maybe it is time for more Democrats to be elected.  What I have seen out of Senator John Sparks and Representative Emily Virgin Democrats from Norman, shows they have a ton more common sense then most of the elected Republicans.

These ratings along with the others should get every statewide office holder thrown out of office but will the people of Oklahoma wake up?  I have serious doubts they will.

From Channel 4 News:
Oklahoma ranks 3rd in Women Murdered by Men 
OKLAHOMA CITY – A national study released Wednesday focused on a sad reality of our country and had shocking results for the Sooner State. 
According to the new Violence Policy Center report, Oklahoma ranks third in the nation in the rate of women murdered by men. 
The study covered homicides across the country involving one female murder victim and one male offender in 2011. 
“Nine women each week are shot to death by their husband or intimate partner,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “That’s nearly 500 domestic gun violence deaths each year, more than twice the number of servicewomen killed in military conflicts since the Korean War. We urgently need better policies that protect women and their families from this senseless violence. No American, adult or child, should live in a perpetual state of fear. It’s inhumane.”
For more information on the study, visit the VPC’s website. 
South Carolina and Alaska are 1 and 2 respectively in the murder rate of women by men.  Once again top states are Red States where the NRA is very pro-active and believes the more guns the better.  Tell that to women in abusive relationships.  So sick and tired of the gun culture today and the hard right won't even agree to background checks required by all people purchasing guns at gun shows.  If I am a private seller, I don't have to take down any information and can get paid in cash which should be against the law.  As far as I am concerned the hard right gun lobby supported by the NRA are responsible for all the guns in the hands of violent people and those prone to anger issues.
Oklahoma ranks #48 in Worst States for Women
Women in the United States earn an average of 77 cents for every dollar that men make, face many barriers to reproductive health care and are significantly underrepresented in leadership roles. But the worst state for women by far is Louisiana, according to a state-by-state examination of these issues released Wednesday by the Center for American Progress. 
In terms of economic security, health and leadership representation, the analysis rates Louisiana the lowest. Full-time working women in Louisiana earn only 67 percent of what men earn, on average, and more than one in five women and girls in Louisiana are currently living in poverty. 
Only 12 percent of Louisiana's congressional seats are held by women, and the state has one of the top 10 worst maternal mortality rates in the country. There is only one OB-GYN for every 13,136 women in Louisiana, and nearly 20 percent of non-elderly women in the state are uninsured. Louisiana also requires an ultrasound, waiting period and counseling session before a woman can have an abortion. 
The report also considered in its ratings the state's minimum wage, family leave policies, percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled in pre-K, the gender management gap and publicly funded contraceptive services.  
Other states that earned an "F" overall in these categories are Utah, Oklahoma, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, South Dakota, Indiana and Georgia. 
Check out the map at Huffington Post to see where your state fares on women's issues. 
Excerpt:  Read More at Huffington Post
Where are our elected officials in Oklahoma when it comes to women?  Voting for more tough abortion laws that will get overturned and wanting to tell women how to think.  Kind of reminds me of the Mormon Church philosophy where men are to be honored and women do their bidding.  That same mentality must permeate a lot of the legislature thinking or they wouldn't be concentrating so much on women's issues that are none of their business.  Many in our legislature are so against Planned Parenthood that all they think they do is provide abortions which is far from the truth but truth and Republicans today are not on the same page.  Say anything lie or not that advances their agenda and that is okay.

Now for the ranking that shows the Republican Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doke and other Republicans are going to hate since they have been touting Affordable Care Act (ACA) was going to send prices through the roof.  Imagine that -- they lied just like other Republicans have been doing about ACA and its impact on prices of healthcare.

Tulsa has the details where in this instance Oklahoma fares very well:
Oklahoma health insurance rates will be 20 to 30 percent below U.S. average under ACA 
Monthly rates for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act in Oklahoma will be below the national average, and residents can choose from 53 health plans on average, according to new federal data. Monthly premiums in Oklahoma will range from $266 for the second-lowest-cost silver plan to $174 for the lowest-cost bronze plan before subsidies are applied, according to the report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The report shows that rates in Oklahoma will be about 20 percent to 30 percent below the national average for the three plans listed. 
Excerpt:  Read more from the Tulsa World. 
Did you know that with ACA there will be no lifetime caps allowed or that your child can be on your insurance until they are 26?  First children with pre-existing conditions will be added and then adults with pre-existing conditions so they can get insurance without having to pay huge premiums.  If you want facts and the truth, please visit Healthcare.com to read the about the benefits of ACA and how it will affect Americans.  Time to go to the source instead of believing the crap Republicans and their big donors are pushing with their scary ads meant to keep people from getting the facts.

Because of Oklahoma's ALEC led Legislature and Governor, Oklahoma Republicans turned down running the exchanges so the federal government has taken over which is probably why the rates are so low.  In the process over 150,000 people are going to be denied healthcare because our Governor turned down the expansion of Medicaid and dollars to go with it because they cannot stand IMHO the thought of implementing a healthcare plan written and passed by the Democrats.

When Tom Cole said “It's awfully hard to repeal Obamacare when a guy named Obama is President says it all.  Then he goes on to talk about how unpopular the program is throughout America.  If ACA was that unpopular like the lies/spin of the GOP, Obama would not have been re-elected by a large margin.

Welcome to the #1 Red State Oklahoma that has been bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers, ALEC, and the Chamber.  What does that give you?  Last or near last in education and women's issues for starters. Time for common sense Oklahomans to start to take the state back starting with the Superintendent and Insurance Commissioner.   Going to take work but the truth has to get out instead of the lies from the Republicans and their office holders.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sen Cruz (R-TX) Hurls Insults Minutes After Starting his Speech on the Floor of the Senate

Within minutes, he had compared President Barack Obama’s health care reform law to slavery during the Civil War and Nazis during World War II.  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), 24 Sep 2012, Floor Speech, US Senate

When are the spineless Republicans in Senate leadership going to admonish Cruz for such a nasty performance on the floor of the US Senate?  I am not holding my breath because I don't see McConnell having the backbone to do a thing.  That is the problem with today's Republicans in Congress -- lack of a backbone to stand up to extremists except for a few like Senator McCain.  What happened to civility in the Senate where they used to fight like cats and dogs and go out to eat that night?  Looks like with the hard right takeover of the GOP, civility has gone out the window as we are left with a lot of malcontents who don't know when to shut up like Cruz.

If you want to see how far the hard right GOP House has gone, just take my word for it when I do a post from a Senator Schumer email.  Four years ago I would have bet that never would have happened but with the Republican Party moving to the extreme hard right, I find myself agreeing with Schumer not any Republicans.  

Conservatives today have jumped the shark and have going into the water to be eaten if they follow Senator Ted Cruz and the other Tea Party members of the Senate and House: 
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Tuesday announced that he would give a very long speech to oppose the the government budget over Obamacare “until I am no longer able to stand.”
Within minutes, he had compared President Barack Obama’s health care reform law to slavery during the Civil War and Nazis during World War II. 
Update (4:05 p.m. ET): Cruz’ speech cannot be officially considered a “filibuster” unless it delays Senate business. In this case, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already locked in a vote for Wednesday morning. That can only be stopped if 41 senators object, which is highly unlikely.
Cruz took the floor at 2:40 vowing to talk until he cannot stand but has now yielded to Sen Lee (R-UT).  That didn't take long.

Cruz may be one of the despised Senators ever from both sides of the aisle.  Anyone want to ask Senator John McCain what he thinks of Cruz?  Better have earmuffs on because the language could get pretty salty.
“He fucking hates Cruz,” one McCain aide told the magazine. “He’s just offended by his style.” 
At the time, McCain had publicly referred to Cruz and other Republicans as “wacko birds.”
Agree 100% with John McCain -- he is right on when talking about the Tea Party people in the Senate who are a disgrace to the Senate.  Have never seen so many junior senators act like they own the Senate as I have with the Tea Party elected Senators -- doing the same thing in the House where they have backed leadership into a corner to do their bidding as they are took weak to fight.  These two men below are symbolic of a larger problem in the Republican Party -- Tea Party and wealthy donors have moved the Party too far hard right.

The unappeasables have all joined together to take down any common sense left in the Republican Party and installed their own brand of obstruction it its place.  You cannot deal with these people whose supporters are some of the nastiest people I have witnessed.  These two men below need to be held responsible for caving to the Tea Party immediately to keep their jobs.  They have zero backbone and helped speed the takeover IMHO!


Senator Schumer is correct about the hard right Republicans who don't care about damaging the economy as they just want to get their way even though the American people don't support defunding Obamacare or they will shut down Government threat.  Vast majority of the American people want some common sense in DC as we are seeing none from the GOP leadership.  This email from Senator Schumer says it all:
Sharon,

In all my time in the House and Senate, I have never seen a group of people more bent on damaging the American economy than the hard-right Republicans in the House right now.
Not only did House Republicans just pass an extreme spending bill that would defund Obamacare, but they've said if we don't go along, they'll shut down the government or even default on the bills our country owes -- either of which would be devastating for our economy. 
But the hard right doesn’t have the numbers to run the show on its own. That means House Republican leadership's refusal to stand up to them is what's opened the door to gridlock and potential economic disaster. 
As these fiscal deadlines approach, we Democrats are standing strong, we’re standing together, and we will not blink. We will not let House extremists' "my way or the highway" approach strip 30 million people of health insurance or deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. 
We are not going to be held hostage. Help show House leadership the American people are standing strong with Democrats and against defunding Obamacare. Sign my petition today. 
A clear majority of supporters voted earlier this week to use any damage Republicans cause to the economy against them in the 2014 midterm elections. But if enough moderate Republicans will work with Democrats in the next several weeks, we can show the hard right in the House for what it really is: a small number of obstructionists. 
Democrats want that, the White House wants that, and in their heart of hearts, Republican leadership wants it too. They know this is a fight that's bad for their party, a fight that's dangerous for the country, and a fight they will not win. 
But Republican leadership will take the path of least resistance. 
The hard-right House members are standing strong, so we must stand even stronger. We need to go beyond elected officials in Washington -- we need voters throughout the country to pledge their support for this stand, too. 
Sign my petition today. Pledge your support for Senate Democrats' stand against House Republican efforts to defund Obamacare or devastate our economy with a shutdown or default. 
Extremists are playing politics by trying to defund Obamacare when they should be focusing on protecting our economy. We must take a stand. 
Thank you for your support, 
Chuck Schumer
There are a lot of us who have never seen a group like these hard right Republicans who are now in Congress.  Koch Bros picked a real bunch of nasty people  to support.  How much do the Koch's hope to gain off of a shut down of Government which is what we should all be asking.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Welcome to Lack of Heathcare for 150,122 People in Red State Oklahoma Thanks to Republican Governor Fallin

Oklahoma ranks fifth nationally in the number of uninsured, ahead of a few area states including Texas, where about one in four residents lack health coverage.  (Tulsa World)

Why are Oklahomans voting for Republicans after this debacle to go with the education of being #1 for defunding education?

All because Republican elected officials don't like Obamacare over 150,000 people are now going to be without healthcare which will stretch the resources of our emergency rooms.  When emergency rooms are used because people don't have healthcare it costs the rest of us.  How can Republicans in this state starting with the Governor who was backed into a corner by the Legislature and big donors even look themselves in the mirror?  It was still Governor Fallin's call to turn down Federal Exchanges that would have increased the number insured.  Has Fallin put her re-election without a challenge from the hard right in the primary over the uninsured of Oklahoma?

If Affordable Care Act being denied a lot of Oklahomans for political reasons was not enough, our delegation voted all together to cut the SNAP food stamp budget so the poor are getting a double whammy from Oklahoma Republican elected officials.

Head of the Agriculture Committee, Republican Frank Lucas from western Oklahoma helped write the bill that keeps subsidies to the big corporate formers and the second bill that cuts $39B from food stamps over ten years.  An Oklahoma Republican is making sure the wealthy donors stay happy while voting to make kids hungry.  He was joined by the other four members of the Oklahoma delegation on both votes.  To put is in plain language, the OK delegation voted for their wealthy donors and against poor children.  The word 'scumbag' comes to mind along with 'despicable' on the food stamps and now on the weekend I read this from the Tulsa World which made me see red.  Somewhere along the line I either woke up what is important in this Country or the Republican Party has gone so far right that I cannot recognize it.  Lack of empathy for those less fortunate is front and center not only in my State but nationally today.   Sad state of affairs in this Country when one political party turns against those less fortunate.

Add all of this to the fact that our Oklahoma GOP delegation voted to defund Affordable Care Act which was attached it to a continuing resolution to keep the Government open after 1 October even though they knew it would never pass the Senate.  Forty-two times the GOP House has voted to defund Obamacare and anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows it is DOA in the Senate and White House which means instead of passing reasonable legislation like a budget or jobs bills they are wasting our tax dollars on something they know will never pass.  Despicable!
Thousands of Oklahomans will remain uninsured after Affordable Care Act takes effect 
By ZIVA BRANSTETTER World Enterprise Editor on Sep 22, 2013, at 2:34 AM  Updated on 9/22/13 at 3:33 AM 
More than 150,000 people will likely remain uninsured in Oklahoma after the new health-care law takes effect because they fall into a gap between the program and two existing state programs, records show.  
These 150,122 people fall into a gap created by Gov. Mary Fallin's decision to reject a Medicaid expansion under the law and by rules for existing programs. The figure comes from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority's latest data that tracks insurance status by income level.  
John Silva, CEO of Morton Comprehensive Health Services Inc., said he believes the Affordable Care Act will improve the health of the state, which ranks high nationally in the number of uninsured. Morton is a federally qualified health center that provides medical care and a wide variety of related services.  
"It will have a positive impact, but then it begs the question - what about the other people who don't have access?" he said.  
Silva said he believes after years of political fights and controversy over the law, once it takes effect, people will embrace it. Silva served on a federal task force put together by Hillary Clinton in 1993 that studied the issue of universal health care.  
"A year or so from now if we could, we should just focus on how we could get these people access," Silva said.  
The state has more than 630,000 uninsured residents, about 17 percent of the population, records show. More than 95,000 of the uninsured are children.  
Oklahoma ranks fifth nationally in the number of uninsured, ahead of a few area states including Texas, where about one in four residents lack health coverage.  
While many of the state's uninsured will be able to afford insurance for the first time when enrollment begins Oct. 1, a quirk in the law means the poorest among them will likely go without.  
Adults who make less than the federal poverty level - $11,490 for an individual and $23,550 for a family of four - will not qualify for subsidized insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Oklahoma was among states that rejected expanded federal Medicaid funding that would have covered people making up to about $16,000 annually.
People who fall into the gap could still enroll in the state's insurance exchange under the new law and pay full price for a plan. However, those who fall below poverty are unlikely to afford even the most basic health plan without the premium subsidies that accompany the law.  
About 5,000 of those 150,000 adults could qualify for Insure Oklahoma - a state program that provides affordable health insurance to low-income people - because the number of people covered is capped.  
Federal officials agreed to Fallin's request to extend the program for one year, but the state has no plans to increase the maximum number of people covered. About 30,000 people are covered by Insure Oklahoma, and enrollment is capped at 35,000.  
It's unlikely those who fall into the health-coverage gap meet requirements for SoonerCare, the state's Medicaid program. The program provides health coverage for low-income children, pregnant women, adults with children, the blind and disabled, and people over 64.

Adults between 19 and 64 without children do not qualify for SoonerCare unless they are blind or disabled. Individuals with children can earn no more than about $300 a month to receive the coverage.  
Excerpt:  Read More at the Tulsa World which is sickening and shows what happens when you elect officials who are beholding to large donors.
This part sent me through the roof as the Federal officials have bent over backwards to allow Oklahoma to keep Insure Oklahoma for another year at Fallin's request which sounds great but the devil is in the details. Oklahoma Republicans are not going to raise the ceiling on how many can be insured in Insure Oklahoma which is now capped at 35,000.

For months since the Moore tornado we have heard state officials including Governor Fallin brag about the Oklahoma standard.  May I be so bold to point out that the Oklahoma standard for taking care of the poor and uninsured leaves a lot to be desired.  State officials should be ashamed but it doesn't bother them that children might go hungry or be uninsured.  It is almost like our Republican elected officials put on a show for a disaster but when it comes to every day living of people less fortunate, they are MIA.

Senator Coburn is right on this one:
Sen. Coburn says Republicans pushing to defund Obamacare are not based in the real world 
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said his Republican colleagues who are pushing to defund Obamacare -- even if it means risking a government shutdown -- aren't facing the "political reality" that they're going to lose. "Tactics and strategies ought to be based on what the real world is, and we do not have the political power to do this," Coburn said during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation." "We're not about to shut the government down over the fact that we cannot, only controlling one house of Congress, tell the president that we’re not going to fund any portion of this. Because we can’t do that.” 
Read more from the Huffington Post.
Dr. Coburn understands the facts on the budget and the threat of shutting down government from the hard right GOP House and some GOP Senators in order to defund Obamacare would be suicide for the GOP.  Will the GOP listen to reality or will the House GOP and some GOP hard right in the Senate insist in shutting Government down.  Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) thinks we should shut down the military if Obamacare is not defunded.  Is he even American since his father came from Cuba and he was born in Canada?

Where did Republicans find people like Ted Cruz to run?  There are way too many hard right in Congress who don't care if Government shuts down as they will wear it as a badge.  This is just flat out stupid to risk our Government on something they don't like as Cong Cole puts it because it is called 'Obamacare' which you immediately jump to the conclusion the GOP hates Obamacare because President Obama was involved with the idea.  Childish comes to mind for a lot of the GOP in Congress.
On the same day that the House voted for a 42nd time to repeal Obamcaare, comments emerged from one GOP rep about the difficulty his party faces in repealing President Barack Obama's signature law. 
In an interview with the New York Times published Friday, Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) leveled about how realistic a chance there is for Republicans to erase the Affordable Care Act. 
“It’s awfully hard to repeal Obamacare when a guy named Obama is president of the United States,” Cole said. 
Cole was among the 230 members of Congress who voted on Friday to pass a continuing resolution that funds the government through Dec. 15, while defunding Obamacare in the process. But in an interview with the Norman (Okla.) Transcript, Cole explained that he saw Friday's vote as just the first of many steps in reaching an agreement. 
“We expect this will get kicked back to the House, but maybe we can come up with something that delays this for another year,” Cole said. “I’m not naive. I don’t think this will be easy or quick." 
Among the steps that Cole does not support is shutting down the government. Back in July, he publicly voiced his reservations, telling MSNBC that it was a "suicidal political tactic." In his interview with the Transcript, Cole stood true to that belief, calling the House CR "the opening volley in a long tennis match.” 
Read more from the Huffington Post
Republicans don't get it except for Senators like McCain and Coburn that this President has had it with the GOP games in Congress and he is not playing their games anymore.  He wants a clean Continuing Resolution from a group of malcontents in the House who refuse to even send any representative to the Conference Committee on the budget to iron out differences for the Senate.  You cannot deal with the House GOP at all as the Koch Bros Tea Party is running the House who are nothing but obstructionists.

Any shutdown lies directly at the feet of the House Republican leadership which includes Cole and the biggest bunch of 'my way or no way' group in Congress I have ever seen.  President Obama should have told them on the first debt ceiling to make it a clean vote but he made the mistake of compromising with untrustworthy people thinking he was doing the right thing.  Now the GOP insists on more compromises each time.  He has said no more compromises but that has not stopped the House GOP from pushing for more. Don't you think that voting 42 times to defund Obamacare only to have it die for lack of votes in the Senate has gone way too far?

Suggest we defund the GOP House until they get their act together and do the job they were sent to DC to do instead of pandering to a small minority.  They are supposed to represent everyone not just their supporters.

Friday, September 20, 2013

GOP House Votes to Defund ACA with Continuing Resolution as First Step to Shut Down Government

Become part of a huge Get Out the Vote (GOTV) effort to oust these dishonest, heartless, cruel, and soulless Republicans from the House.  Let's give the Democrats another chance in 2014. 

There is no better GIF to describe today's Republican Party in Congress then this 


This is a must read article from Think Progress which takes you through the steps that got us where we are today:
The Complete Guide To The GOP’s Three-Year Campaign To Shut Down The Government 
BY IGOR VOLSKY ON SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 AT 9:01 AM
As the nation races toward another budgetary crisis next month, Republican leaders are using the prospect of a government shutdown and the need to raise the nation’s debt ceiling as leverage points to undermine the Affordable Care Act — just days before uninsured Americans are expected to sign up for health care coverage — and extract additional cuts to government programs. 
(snip) 
Though Congress has already enacted approximately $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction since the start of fiscal year 2011 — 72 percent of the savings have come through spending cuts — the deficit has fallen to the lowest level since 2008, and inflation-adjusted discretionary spending is now below the final two fiscal years of the Bush administration, Republicans keep holding the debt ceiling and continuing resolution hostage, to achieve more cuts. 
Excerpt:  Read the three year path by Republicans to shut down Government at Think Progress
This is fascinating reading but at the same time makes your blood boil.  The very idea this bunch of hard right Republicans backed by the Koch Bros and their various organizations set out to shut down Government starting three years ago smacks of treason in my book and at the very least anarchy.  I am not a lawyer but this is orchestrated and seems like there have to be laws that have been broken including buying of the GOP in Congress by the Koch Bros.


Think Progress takes you through the steps starting before the 2010 elections when the Koch Bros Tea Party started taking seats in primaries belonging to more sensible people.  It is shocking to follow the trail but gives you a good idea of how it led up to the latest budget crises perpetrated by the House Republicans or as Nancy Pelosi now calls them Tea Party in Congress.  Today's GOP is a shell of its formal shelf and as I asked my Congressman today in email, "Why won't they stand up to the Tea Party and do what is right?"  

Posted this morning on an article on Huffington Post about the upcoming vote where the House Republicans tied defunding Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the continuing resolution to keep the Government open starting with the new fiscal year on 1 October:
Yesterday the heartless and soulless GOP voted to strip SNAP of $40B in a bill with 109 pages of crap.  Read it last night and struck me as being one of those bills that is long so you cannot figure out what they are voting on except we know it guts SNAP and puts a lot of rules in effect that are cruel.  All this from the Party that refuses to vote on jobs bills even for veterans. 
Now today, House GOP are trying to tie the hands of the Government by once again voting to defund Obamacare but this time they attached defunding language to the continuing resolution as a first step in shutting down the Government.  First of all the majority of Obamacare funds come from mandatory spending which the GOP House cannot control as they only can do discretionary spending or Social Security and Medicare would be voted on all the time as well.  They know full well the Senate will decouple Obamacare defunding language but then the GOP House would have to appoint members to the Conference Committee -- they are not coming back until Wednesday after they worked so hard this week (sarcasm) in their effort to destroy Americans.  The big question is if the GOP House will appoint any members to the Conference Committee or will they do like the Budget Conference Committee and ignore thus shutting down large parts of the Government and crippling others. 
This debacle belongs to GOP House/Tea Party/Koch Bros
As someone who worked for the Federal Government (Air Force) when the Government transitioned from a budget due on 1 July changing it to 1 October, I can remember all the promises that we didn't have to worry about not getting a budget finished with the extra three months.  We went through the 1T as part of the transition which funded the three months the first year.  What a bunch of crap from members of Congress -- they had three more months to waste.

Fast forward to Republicans in charge of Congress and one theme appears -- continuing resolutions over and over again since the 2000 election even worse then past years which shows how both parties have failed the process although this group of Republicans since regaining control of the House in January 2011 have taken it to a new low.   Congressional Research Service has put a report together showing how Continuing Resolutions are used and how many we have had over the years put into tables to make it easier to read.  There are a lot of members of Congress who owe the American people an apology and should return some salary for their roles in mismanaging the Congress.  Here is a description of the process from the Congressional Research Service:
Congress uses an annual appropriations process to fund the routine activities of most federal agencies. This process anticipates the completion of 12 regular appropriations bills to fund these activities before the beginning of the fiscal year. Over the past half century, the timing of congressional action on regular appropriations bills has varied considerably, but enactment after the start of the fiscal year has been a recurring issue. Until regular appropriations for a fiscal year are enacted, one or more continuing appropriations acts (commonly known as a continuing resolution or CR) can be used to provide funding for a specified period of time. 
Under recent congressional practice, continuing resolutions typically include as many as six main components. First, CRs provide funding for certain activities, which are typically specified with reference to prior fiscal year’s appropriations acts. This is referred to in this report as the CRs coverage. Second, CRs provide budget authority for a specified duration of time. This duration may be as short as a single day, or as long as the remainder of the fiscal year. Third, CRs typically provide funds based on an overall funding rate. Fourth, the use of budget authority provided in the CR is typically prohibited for new activities not funded in the previous fiscal year. Fifth, the duration and amount of funds in the CR, and purposes for which they may be used for specified activities, may be adjusted through anomalies. Sixth, legislative provisions, which create, amend, or extend other laws, have been included in some instances. 
Between FY1977 and FY2012, excluding the four fiscal years that all appropriations were
enacted on time, over half of the regular appropriations bills for a fiscal year were enacted on time in only one instance (FY1978). In all other fiscal years, fewer than six regular appropriations acts were enacted on or before October 1. In addition, in 11 out of the 36 years during this period, none of these regular appropriations bills were enacted prior to the start of the fiscal year. Five of these fiscal years have occurred in the interval since FY2001. For further information, see Table 1. 
In the interval since FY1997, the most recent fiscal year that all regular appropriations bills were completed on time, continuing resolutions have been enacted on average about six times per fiscal year. During this period, CRs provided funding for an average of four months each fiscal year. For further information, see Table 2 and Figure 1.
Excerpt:  Read More at Congressional Research Service 
What I got from this document is that our elected representatives have had a hard time working together for a long time, but it is even worse when Republicans are in charge from I have been reading.  Today the GOP in Congress or the better word "Tea Party" are much worse.  We heard for the last few years that the Senate didn't do a budget which was deplorable BUT they passed one this year in the spring and the GOP House Leadership refused to send members to a conference committee to iron out the differences between the House and Senate.  Looks like they had their heart set on shutting down the Government on 1 October.  I would bet if President Obama looked back, he never would have compromised with the GOP in Congress because they are dishonest and cannot be trusted.  The lies that have emanated from their GOP mouths are frankly astounding and shameful that grown men and women would lie to their constituents like they have since President Obama took office.

We, as voters, have to start demanding that members of Congress do their job instead of wasting our tax dollars as we have been witnessing over the last few years.  Think for every day Congress goes past the FY date of 1 October for the budget, they should not be paid.  If they concentrated on doing their job instead of faux investigations maybe the Government would run better, but not holding my breath as long as the GOP Tea Party are in charge of leadership with their threats that leadership bows down to as they represent the Koch Bros who pull their chains.  How many GOP members of Congress are bought and paid for today by the Koch Bros and other large donors?  Maybe instead of faux investigations, we should be demanding investigations into Congressional Republicans after what went on with Abramhoff which seems to be worse with the Koch Bros.

This  GIF says it all about what today's House Republicans care about which is more about making America a theocracy then doing the work of the American people:


The worst House in my lifetime is run by today's Republicans aka Tea Party headed by Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor!  Democrats need to pledge that they will pass a budget on time and no more continuing resolutions if they are in charge.  Let's make it happen with a huge GOTV from coast to coast to send the Koch Bros Tea Party to the trash heap of history! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oklahoma Government at Work: Pass a Bill with no Funding; Cut Education; and More

Meanwhile, the state (Oklahoma) continues to slash its revenue base. The top income tax rate fell from 5.5 to 5.25 percent in 2012 and this year’s legislators scheduled even more cuts for 2015 and 2016. Tax breaks for oil and gas drillers and other special interests have been allowed to grow unchecked. (David Blatt, Oklahoma Policy Institute)

The Oklahoma Policy Institute Email was packed today with all of sorts gems that make the Oklahoma Legislature and Republican controlled State Government look really bad.  I haven't recovered from passing criminal justice reforms but appropriating no money to implement them but at the same time Oklahoma had money for a tax cut for the wealthy -- the rest of us get peanuts in comparison.

The Quote of the Day from OK Policy Institute says it all along with the linked article.
Quote of the Day 
If the Legislature thought it was worth its time to study, debate and vote for the initiative, then why is it not worth funding? It appears some think that passing the bill made lawmakers look tough on crime but funding the bill makes them look soft on crime. Figure out that reasoning. 
-Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz, on lawmakers' failure to fund implementation of criminal justice reforms passed in 2012 (Source: http://bit.ly/19gTYOb)
The continual cut of education funding for public education while pushing private charters schools has driven me up a wall since the Republicans took over all of State Government and are showing America that they are incapable of leading just like at the National level.  The State GOP in Oklahoma has gone hard right while the State Democrat Party is inept.  More people are registering as independents but since Oklahoma is a closed primary state, you cannot vote if you are an independent.  You have a choice of staying GOP and ignoring all activities if you are more moderate and voting against the hard right in the primary or becoming a Democrat and putting up with inept.  Our choices are limited.

Oklahoma is living proof that it is not good when either party fully controls the State Government although have to admit the GOP Legislature at the beginning was much better then it is today as more Tea Party affiliated people are elected and it shifts to the hard right against Oklahomans.

Finally proof that Oklahoma's lack of focus on education is hurting prosperity and is most likely to get worse:
Prosperity Policy: Heading the wrong way
By David Blatt Guest Columnist
Posted: 01:53 PM Wednesday, September 18, 2013 
Two recent national studies of state policies suggest that Oklahoma policymakers are heading the wrong way if they want to improve our state’s prosperity. 
The first study, from the Economic Analysis and Research Network, finds that the educational attainment of a state’s workforce is strongly linked with both productivity and median wages. Overwhelmingly, high-wage states are those that have a well-educated workforce, while states with less-educated workforces see lower wages. 
(snip) 
The EARN report confirms what most Oklahoma economists and economic developers have long been saying, namely that improving our education system will do more to strengthen Oklahoma’s economy than anything else. 
...The second recent report, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, found that Oklahoma has made the deepest cuts to school funding in the nation since the start of the recession. Per-student state funding of Oklahoma’s kindergarten through 12th-grade education formula is down by 22.8 percent since 2008, adjusted for inflation, which works out to a decrease of $810 per student. We are expecting more of our teachers and students, but not providing them the resources they need to succeed. 
(snip)
Our policymakers frequently pay lip service to making education the top priority, but their actions fall far short.
David Blatt is director of the Oklahoma Policy Institute, http://okpolicy.org.

Excerpt:  Read more: Journal Record
When I was doing the research on this post, I discovered that I am not the only one who disagrees with the State School Superintendent Janet Barrisi, but there are a lot more Republicans not to mention Democrats who are unhappy with what what I would call her bull in the china shop mentality where she charges ahead with little to no consensus and refuses to listen.  Tulsa Word had a very good article on her which brings into question whether she is fighting for public schools or charter schools?

State Rep. Todd Thomsen, the majority whip, said he has experienced a "total lack of respect for legislators with an opposing view or a question about anything" on Barresi's agenda.  
"A very small percentage of people at the Capitol are controlling the education agenda, and there is no attempt to change anything to reflect Oklahoma's specific needs," said the Ada Republican. "I can't help but wonder, are we being pushed into a national agenda? Because there is an overriding urgency to do everything on a schedule, and any push-back or modification is trampled."  
Still, he said, Barresi is only one "catalyst" for change at the Capitol and as such shouldn't bear the brunt of all of the controversy on her own.  
"When we as a party took over completely, we basically did every single thing all at once. I think it was a poor implementation strategy," Thomsen said. "I would probably get criticized for this, but we've never actually seen the hard data to prove that any of the reforms actually work, and we're asking every school to do the same thing."  
Thomsen said he has never before witnessed the level of statewide consensus on any one issue as currently exists about standardized testing's negative effects on students' education and teacher morale.  
"As an old football player, I think of things in sports terms," said Thomsen, who played for the University of Oklahoma from 1985-1988. "You want to see a coach that gets long-term results because people work really hard for them? It's a coach that coaches out of optimism, of appreciation, of respect, and as a teammate. The leadership style that has been implemented is one that is motivation by fear. We do it in the name of 'reform,' but that's our fancy way of justifying that we use a stick to try to improve education." 
Rep Thomsen (R-Ada) has always been upfront and tells the truth -- once again he is right on the money from what I have heard from others.  He still has the same common sense he had when he was elected by a small percentage in a predominately Democrat area.  There are few like him in the State Legislature but not enough.  Emily Virgon (D-Norman) is another Rep with common sense who stands up for Oklahomans.  We need more of these kind of people running for office from both parties for Oklahoma State Government positions who put Oklahomans over their Party and special interest once elected.

You have to hand it to ALEC who is closely aligned with the Republican elected officials in Oklahoma -- they don't read the laws on bills any better then the GOP.  Now in a bi-partisan effort supporting firefighters, the Workman's Comp Law pass in the last session is being challenged as unconstitutional. One of the reasons is that the bill is not a single subject bill but multiple subject which has caused bills to be tossed out in the past by the Courts  What is with the Governor's Office and Attorney General that they let these bills become law?  More tax dollars wasted.
Oklahoma workers' comp law challenged 
Two legislators and firefighters group call workers' comp law unconstitutional.
By Nolan Clay Published: September 19, 2013 
The Oklahoma Supreme Court is being asked to throw out a new law that overhauls Oklahoma's workers' compensation system. 
State Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, state Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, and the Professional Fire Fighters of Oklahoma filed the challenge Tuesday. They gave the Supreme Court almost a dozen reasons why they think the law is unconstitutional. 
“It's wrong that a firefighter or any other injured worker should have to pay back benefits after returning to work. This is just one of many problems with this new law,” Coates said. 
A key argument in their challenge is that the changes violate a state constitutional requirement that a bill cover a single subject. Justices repeatedly have tossed laws because of this issue. 
Most recently, legislators met in special session to address lawsuit reform after the Supreme Court ruled a 2009 tort reform law was unconstitutional because of the single-subject rule. 
Gov. Mary Fallin signed the workers' compensation bill in May. It changes the workers' compensation system from a judicial system to an administrative one. It also allows businesses to opt out of the workers' compensation system as long as they provide equivalent benefits to injured workers. 
Opponents said it is unfair to injured workers because it will reduce their benefits. The law is set to be in effect in full on Feb. 1. 
The State Chamber of Oklahoma claimed Wednesday that attorneys for injured workers actually were behind the challenge. 
Excerpt:  Read More at The Oklahoman
The Chamber who has bought and paid for most GOP in the legislature is behind the push for this Workman's comp legislation but now are mad because it is being challenged.  Waiting for ALEC to weigh in as well.  Chamber can dish it out but seems they cannot take it when something goes against them.  They are used to pretty much having their way with Oklahoma elected officials.

Then there is this from the Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Doak which makes my blood boil.  Doak allowed our home owner's insurance rates to sky rocket the other year -- mine went up by $1,400 until I found a new company, USAA, who didn't gouge the consumer.  Kim Holland, from Tulsa, was a much better Insurance Commissioner as she was for all Oklahomans not just special interest.  There were rumors about Doak in 2010 that should have led us to defeat him but we have a problem here with straight party voting on the ballot which should be removed.  You need to vote by individual not by party on the ballot.  As consumers we are finding out how much he is in the pockets of the insurance companies and their agents:
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner continues threats against health law navigators 
On the same day that officials at Little Dixie Community Action Agency in Hugo, Okla., won a $580,000 federal grant to help consumers sign up for coverage under the federal health law, Doak issued a warning. If the consumer guides perform any of the duties of state-licensed insurance agents, he said, "we will put a stop to it."  
James Mills, assistant general counsel for the Oklahoma Insurance Department, says his agency is simply trying to clarify the distinct roles of agents and navigators, but adds, “Obamacare is not something our state wants.” 
He said navigators can show people information about health plans and their benefits, and help consumers fill out online applications. They can also tell older people that their premiums will be higher than those of younger people. But showing them why they may be better off choosing a silver plan instead of a gold plan to save money “would be going too far,” he said. 
Read more from Kaiser Health News.
Because Oklahoma Republicans don't like the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, our Insurance Commissioner has decided that people looking for insurance are not to be given advice about the plans so the people can save money.   I certainly hope that Kim Holland runs again to oust these people from the Insurance office.

Then there is this from Governor Fallin who has decided that she has more authority then the Federal Government when it comes to the National Guard and doesn't have to abide by what is ordered by the Department of Defense and the President on benefits for same sex couples:
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered the National Guard to stop processing requests for military benefits for same-sex couples, her office confirmed Tuesday, despite a Pentagon directive to do so. 
Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said the governor was following the wish of Oklahoma voters, who approved a constitutional amendment in 2004 that prohibits giving benefits of marriage to gay couples. 
"Because of that prohibition, Gov. Fallin's general counsel has advised the National Guard not to process requests for benefits of same-sex couples," Weintz said. "Gay couples that have been legally married in other states will be advised they can apply for those benefits on federal facilities, such as Tinker Air Force Base, rather than state run facilities." 
Fallin ordered the policy change on Sept. 5, Weintz said.  
(snip) 
The Pentagon announced last month that same-sex spouses of military members will be eligible for the same health care, housing and other benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex spouses starting Sept. 3. That decision followed consultation with the Justice Department and the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in June on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. 
After the U.S. Department of Defense began allowing same-sex couples to apply for identification cards and benefits, National Guard officials in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana said they would refuse to process the applications. Like Oklahoma, all three states have gay-marriage bans and are led by socially conservative Republican governors.
Fallin's decision prompted the president of a support group for gay military families to call for the Defense Department to "stop this discrimination." 
"Since the governor of Oklahoma has decided to join Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana in playing politics with our military families, we need immediate and decisive action from the administration and the defense department in affirming that all military spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, will be treated equally," Stephen Peters, president of the American Military Partner Association, said in a statement.
First of all, the ban on gay marriage in Oklahoma passed in 2004 does not take into consideration how the thoughts of people have changed in the last nine years.  States that never would have passed gay marriage now have passed them, the Defense of Marriage Act was thrown out by the Supreme Court, and the vast majority of the people in this Country just don't care if gays marry because it has no affect on their lives.  I fall into the latter category as I fail to see how it impacts me at all.  Would rather have a gay couple move into my neighborhood then hard right GOP who seems to always be angry at the world about something.

Here is the info about the National Guard today and how it it falls under the Department of Defense:

May 21, 2008
DA&M
SUBJECT: National Guard Bureau (NGB)
References: 
(a) Title 10, United States Code
(b) Army Regulation 130-5/Air Force Mission Directive 10, December 30, 2001
(c) Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 1001.01, “Joint Manpower
and Personnel Program,” December 28, 2004
(d) Title 32, United States Code
(e) through (h), see Enclosure 1
1. PURPOSE
Pursuant to the authority vested in the Secretary of Defense under section 113 of Reference (a), this Directive establishes policy for and defines the organization and management, responsibilities and functions, relationships, and authorities of the Chief, NGB, and: 
1.1. Establishes the NGB as a joint activity of the Department of Defense. 
1.2. Supersedes the NGB charter dated September 1, 1995, as promulgated by Reference (b).
Excerpt:  Read More at DoD Directive on NGB 
Fallin told the Oklahoma National Guard to send members to Tinker AFB but why should Tinker personnel have to deal with the paperwork when it is the responsibility of the National Guard?  What part of the word 'National' do some of these GOP hard right Governors not understand?

Is Oklahoma trying to be like Texas with Rick Perry?  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Are Tea Party Anarchists Pulling the Strings of the House GOP Leadership on the Budget Continuing Resolution?

"We're now waiting to see what the House of Representatives is going to do, how absurd it's going to be, what they're going to send us," Reid said Wednesday. "We know it's going to be something really strange and weird because the speaker has to do everything he can to mold a piece of legislation that will meet the needs of the tea party -- the anarchists -- and I say that without any equivocation. They do not want government to work on any level."  Majority Leader Reid

After coming down off the ceiling most of the morning, I went to lunch and then did a few errands only to come home to this nonsense from the Republicans in the House.   Senate Majority Reid is right that some of these people are anarchists:
WASHINGTON -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed Wednesday to push ahead with a bill to defund Obamacare or shut down the government -- an effort that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) panned as an "absurd" ploy inspired by tea party "anarchists." 
With Congress facing a Sept. 30 deadline to figure out how to keep paying for the federal government, Boehner said in a Capitol Hill news conference that defunding President Barack Obama's health care reform was a key part of that effort. 
"We're going to continue to do everything we can to repeal the president's failed health care law," Boehner said. "This week, the House will pass the CR [continuing resolution] that locks the sequester savings in and defunds Obamacare." 
Many mainstream Republicans have repeatedly slammed such an approach as "stupid," and Boehner himself has tried to avoid linking Obamacare to a potential government shutdown. But after a summer break in which tea party leaders toured the country pushing for the defunding bid -- and Boehner failed to find a compromise -- the Republican House leader has decided to push ahead. 
"We've got a lot of divergent opinions in the caucus," Boehner acknowledged, but suggested that tea party demands were still leading the way. "I was here in the Gingrich era. He had a little plaque that was in his office. It's a management model: 'Listen, learn, help and lead.' We listened to our colleagues over the last week. We have a plan that they're happy with. We're going forward." 
But Obama is expected to veto any bill that defunds his signature domestic accomplishment, and Reid has insisted such a measure would not pass the Senate, guaranteeing an upcoming government shutdown. 
Reid hammered those Republicans insisting on such a path, suggesting they would like a government shutdown.   Excerpted:  Read More a Huffington Post
Boehner wouldn't know what it is like to lead as he has been led around by the Tea Party since they hit Congress in 2010.  What a joke for a speaker.  Will no one look into to how Boehner went from being middle class to millionaire in Congress or his investment in the Keystone Pipeline?  Why does this all stay buried from the MSM that the GOP loved to hate which seems to be in their back pocket today.

We may have the answer to the media.  If you listen to some of the media like Chuck Todd at MSNBC, you find out has determined it is not his responsibility to point out the Republican lies when reporting.
MSNBC host Chuck Todd said Wednesday that when it comes to misinformation about the new federal health care law, don't expect members of the media to correct the record. 
During a segment on "Morning Joe," former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) speculated that most opponents of the Affordable Care Act have been fed erroneous information about the law. Todd said that Republicans "have successfully messaged against it" but he disagrees with those who argue that the media should educate the public on the law. According to Todd, that's President Barack Obama's job. 
"But more importantly, it would be stuff that Republicans have successfully messaged against it," Todd told Rendell. "They don't repeat the other stuff because they haven't even heard the Democratic message. What I always love is people say, 'Well, it's you folks' fault in the media.' No, it's the President of the United States' fault for not selling it."
Already been disgusted by lack of ethics in our media in Oklahoma over an SI story about corruption at Oklahoma State University where the local media mantra was to take aim at the authors of the story not researching for facts.  Todd is no different -- not his job to find facts.  Todd needs fired at MSNBC but then there probably be another unethical person to take his place.  Once Congress is cleaned out, then time the media got cleaned out.  How do you do that?  Quit talking to them so they have no stories and tell their bosses until you get honest reporters my door is closed.


Boehner is going to save us all by taking away our health care?   The word that comes to mind starts a 'b' and ends with 'd' because that is exactly how I feel about the man today.  I apologize for putting this video on the site but you have to see just how bad the Republicans have become so they can be voted out of Congress.  Jason Easley of Politicususa has the full story today:
In a speakership that has been full of blunders, this one takes the cake. At a press conference today, Speaker John Boehner promised to protect America’s families by denying them healthcare.   
Video:
At a press conference today, Boehner said, “We’re going to continue to do everything we can to repeal the president’s failed health care law. This week, the House will pass a CR that locks the sequester savings in, and defunds ObamaCare. The president has signed seven bills over the last two and a half years to make changes to ObamaCare, and I sincerely hope our friends in the Senate have plans to make this an eighth time. The law is a train wreck. The president has protected American big business, it’s time to protect American families from this unworkable law.” 
John Boehner is currently under federal investigation for taking illegal campaign contributions from corporations in 2012, but he is trying to convince the American people that he is fighting for them. More odious than Boehner’s claims of middle class hero are the tactics that he is using to “protect America’s families.” Speaker Boehner is fighting tooth and nail so that the American people never have to know the horror of being able to go to the doctor. Boehner is battling hard so that the American people never have to fear the trauma of not being buried in a lifetime of medical debt. 
(snip) 
In case you didn’t understand what the Speaker was really saying today, John Boehner went on the record as promising to takeaway healthcare to millions of uninsured Americans. He is also promising to deny people with preexisting conditions coverage, and to put the insurance companies back in charge of your medical decisions. 
John Boehner’s leadership of the House majority has been a historic disaster, but vowing to take away the healthcare of the American people might be the biggest and final mistake of his tenure as speaker.   
Excerpted:  Read the Full Story at Politicususa

How can people support Republicans?  Having been one for years, I quit supporting them when I found out they were lying about President Obama and a lot of other things.  The Tea Party in 2010 did me in completely and now there is no way I would ever vote for any Republican including my Congressman who doesn't have the backbone to stand up to them and tell them they are dead wrong and quit this nonsense.

Do you know how bad it is going to be with a Government shutdown?  Going to be horrible as programs get shut down one by one from DoD to food inspection to safety for employees to clean water, worker's salaries, etc. as the list is endless.   First hit should be checks to members of Congress and their staffs - they don't deserve to get paid anyway as few of days as they have worked.  The very idea they are voting this week to defund Obamacare as part of a continuing resolution and taking off next week is totally irresponsible and they should be booted from the halls of Congress.

That doesn't even including the anarchy they are supporting.  As mad as I was at Democrats over the years, it does not come close to the anger I feel at today's Republicans who are right there with the scum of the earth with their lack of empathy for the American people.  These House Republicans don't deserve to be called Congressman because they have broken their oath they took as they turned their back on all but the wealthy donors:

The oath used today has not changed since 1966 and is prescribed in Title 5, Section 3331 of the United States Code. It reads: “I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.” In contrast to the presidential oath, where it’s used only by tradition, the phrase “so help me God” has been part of the official oath of office for non-presidential offices since 1862. 
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” — U.S. Constitution, Article VI, clause 3
Unfortunately some of the enemies of the United States sit in the House of Representatives with their obstructionists and failure to do their job according to the Constitution:

“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.”
— U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7, clause 1
 
“No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”
— U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 9, clause 7
Republican leadership has refused to send representatives to a Conference Committee on the Budget to reconcile differences with the Senate budget passed in the spring.  For a few years the House ranted and raved the Senate did not pass a budget.  Now that the Senate passed a budget on time, the House refuses to negotiate which means they are refusing to do their Constitutional duty and should be recalled by their States which is not going to happen but should IMHO.

Vote these 'Tea Party clowns' out of office ASAP.  BTW, the word 'clowns' is what Senator Graham used about their bonehead moves on the continuing resolution containing defunding of Obamacare.  Most of Obamacare is not discretionary spending which is the only spending they are talking about in the budget.  Obamacare, Social Security, and other things are mandatory spending not subject to the whims of the 'Tea Party clowns.'

This whole debacle by Republicans shows they cannot govern because they are beholden to wealthy donors who pull their strings.