Thursday, February 27, 2014

House Republicans Expected to Pass Ryan Budget Which Hurts Senior Citizens

When you think Republicans cannot sink any lower, along comes Speaker Boehner and Ryan to prove otherwise as I just learned from an email:
Republican Speaker John Boehner just broke the news that Republicans in the House expect to pass Paul Ryan's disastrous budget this year. As you know, Paul Ryan’s budgets have called for slashing seniors’ health care benefits, ending the Medicare guarantee, and handing huge tax breaks to the top 1%. 
Some things don't change with today's Republicans favoring the top 1% and the rest of us can pound salt for all they care.  Never seen anything like it and it is starting to filter down to Republicans in the States.  What happened to the Republican Party of old?  How long have they been like this and many of us missed the signs?  Many of the office holders some of us worked for their elections and know personally are not the same people and come up with some of the dumbest comments day after day.  Hard to equate a party many of us worked for to today's party of the rich.  Can remember for years being told the Democrats have the most wealth -- more narrative versus facts.  Have to admit the GOP PR machine has been better at churning out lies then the Democrats over the years.

How can you not guarantee Medicare when it has been guaranteed for years?  Makes no sense but then little of what the GOP does today makes sense.  Their oath is to support and defend the Constitution not support and defend the Koch Bros and their millions.

I 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.
Rep Ryan (R-WI) who heads the House Committee on the Budget and was Romney's VP candidate, is one of the more dishonest people in the house as he says one thing about his budget but when you read it, his comments are hollow.  Just went to the site of his Committee and all I can find is info from the 2013 budget -- it is like the 2014 budget is cloaked in secrecy.

Why do they want to cut Medicare benefits to the people but protect what doctors get paid?  Talk about class warfare -- that describes the GOP efforts today to make sure their wealthy donors, Koch Bros, and others get what they want out of Congress.  We now know the attacks on the EPA over the years was to lessen regulations on polluting and other things so the Koch's had a free reign to pollute at will.  
Republicans have launched a party-wide attack blitz against Democrats over payment cuts to private insurers under Medicare Advantage, which covers one-third of Medicare beneficiaries. The savings were enacted under Obamacare, then included in the Ryan budgets for each of the last three years. Nearly all Republicans voted for them.  
Instead of using the money to finance Obamacare, Republicans used the roughly $150 billion in savings to help cover the cost of their tax cuts and meet their deficit reduction targets. (The Medicare cuts to providers and insurers under Obamacare total about $700 billion.) Without them, it'd be harder to make the Ryan plan's numbers add up. It's already awkward for Republicans to attack cuts they've supported without a fuss in the past, but it'd be more embarrassing to vote for cuts they're simultaneously using as a key campaign issue in the 2014 elections. 
Then there's Social Security. Republican leaders have been attacking President Barack Obama for rescinding a provision in his budget to cut future benefits. "This reaffirms what has become all too apparent: the president has no interest in doing anything, even modest, to address our looming debt crisis," said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). 
Notably, the provision -- known as Chained CPI, which slows the rate of inflation for benefits -- was not included in any of the GOP's own budgets, which left Social Security untouched. But if it's a mere modest step toward avoid a debt crisis, as they now say, Republicans would have a tough time justifying excluding it from their budget. 
That said, if they do take up the policy, Republicans would make themselves vulnerable to attacks for seeking to cut the highly popular retirement program. Democrats would pounce, and the attacks could be especially damaging among elderly voters, who vote in large numbers and tend to prefer Republicans. They would also be undercutting their own election arm's attacks on Democratic candidate Alex Sink of Florida for speaking favorably about a comprehensive deficit-reduction plan that cuts Social Security. 
Read More at Talking Points Memo
These people are not fit to govern when you only consider what is best for the top 1% of the Country.  Let's vote them out in 2014!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rep Sander Levin Calls out the GOP Dark Money Groups on Floor of House!

Democrats in the House are fighting back against the Republicans in the House who lied about the IRS scandal and costs the American taxpayers $14M to keep hiding the dark money donors to Karl Rove's American Crossroads GPS and two Koch owned organizations:
Then Levin got all truth buster on the GOP and brought up the explosion of dark money groups after the Citizens United ruling, “Why is this important? Because applications for 501(c)(4) status have nearly doubled between 2010 and 2012 to 3,357, and 501(c)(4) spending has skyrocketed. In 2006 $1 million was spent by 501(c)(4) organizations. In 2010, $92 million was spent. And in 2012, $256 million was spent by 501(c)(4) organizations.” 
Levin pointed out that this designation allows the organizations to keep their donors secret. And that this secrecy is actually what Republicans are trying to protect, “That is exactly the secrecy that the Republicans are trying to preserve. Why? Because the three largest spenders representing fully 51% of the total are a who’s who list of Republican political operatives. Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS spent $71 million. Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers, spent $36 million. The American Future Fund, also the Koch brothers, spent $25 million.”

Can I say FINALLY?  The Democrats are on the offense against the fake IRS Scandal to protect the Republican dark money organizations.  Watching Rep Levin call them out for their lies and using a narrative to fool the American people, made my day.  I love it:
Levin didn’t shy away from the truth, “If you live in a targeted state and you turn on your television, you have probably seen these groups that work at distorting the Affordable Care Act. That is why we are here today purely and simply. Not because Republicans want to stand up for the rights of social welfare organizations, and they often talk about small ones, but to preserve the secrecy around the Republicans’ big campaign efforts.” 
And now, after all of the public drama, we get to the entire point of the Republican fable about the IRS, which we explained to you as it was going on. Yes, this is all about protecting dark money. It always has been. Levin demanded, “Why are we standing here and saying to the IRS don’t look at 501(c)(4)s. Don’t look at the possible massive abuse. Don’t look at what has happened in the last few years where political operatives, under the guise of 501(c)(4), have moved from $1 million in many cases to $256 million as reported to the FEC.” 
Why are Republicans trying to force the IRS to look the other way? Because Republicans can’t win elections without dark money spreading lies about Democrats. Republicans can’t afford to run on issues. They have to run on smears, since their policies are determined by the Koch Brothers et al, and thus benefit the top 1% instead of the people.
Read More at Politicususa
Not sure if Karl Rove has an honest bone in his body any more than the Koch Bros -- they are all about scamming the American people to get their way.  None of the dark money groups care one iota about the American people and worse about our Constitution.  They are a bunch of lowlife win at any cost mentality types who will lie, cheat, and if that doesn't work steal the election.  One thing to remember about Republicans is that they will accuse the other side of what they are doing.  The 2012 election was a perfect example of them accusing the Democrats of voter fraud when the fraud that was found was Republican.

Been saying for a long time that anything Cong Issa (R-CA) is involved in investigation is most like tainted. How many people do you know who insure a building for a much higher amount, make sure a computer is not in the building, and a few weeks later it burns down or stole cars, or threaten people with guns, etc?  Why won't the media call him out?  Who is controlling the media today?  Frankly disheartening to see so many so-called journalists 'forget' to ask pertinent questions preferring to deal with fluff:

Rep. Darrell Issa's past includes arrests for weapons charges and auto theft, suspicions of arson, and accusations of intimidation with a gun, but you'd hardly know it from the media's recent coverage of the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. While Issa was substantially mentioned in 15 articles in the nation's largest newspapers since the last election -- including several major profiles -- only one of those articles mentioned any of these allegations. Likewise, interviewers did not ask Issa about his alleged criminal past in any of the cable or network interviews he sat for during that period.
1982: Issa Suspected, But Never Charged, In Arson Incident At Manufacturing Plant. According to the Los Angeles Times: "A suspected arson fire ripped through [Issa's Ohio] manufacturing plant in 1982. No one was ever charged in the fire, but authorities were troubled by a dramatic escalation in the facility's fire insurance just weeks earlier. Even before the blaze was put out, investigators began peppering Issa and his partner with 'crazy questions' regarding their whereabouts before the fire, Issa recalled." [Los Angeles Times, 5/23/98, via Nexis, emphasis added] 
Read Full Details at Media Matters 
My basic question for sometime has been how did Issa with such a shady background get chosen to head the House Investigation Committee?  If you were into conspiracy theories you would look at the arson fire was at a warehouse in Ohio and the Speaker who chooses heads of committees is from Ohio.
Draw your own conclusion but it sure does smell.  What better person to put in charge of investigations then people you can control because of their background?

People of California need to vote Issa out in 2014 along with Republicans controlling the House and the Agenda because they are the party of NO unless it is their idea which has the Country at a standstill. The Republican Party of today is flat out worthless who are told what they are to do by the likes of the Koch Bros, Rove, Fox News, and other wealthy donors.  Seems their brains are hooked on donor money and the vast majority of American people can 'shove it' in their opinion.

To see Rep Levin take on the Republican trash in the House leaving me smiling.  The GOP House has not earned anyone's respect but instead have earned our distrust and disdain.  Send the GOP to the unemployment line in 2014 and see how they like no federal benefits they chose not to renew.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

AZ Discrimination Bill Could Cost the State the Super Bowl!

Last week, the Arizona state legislature passed SB 1062, which would allow businesses to deny service to anyone on the grounds of "religious freedom." In effect, it would legalize discrimination against same-sex couples.  The way the bill comes across the business people of Arizona can basically discriminate against anyone on religious grounds not just same-sex couples.
SB1062 redefines and expands the state's definition of "exercise of religion" and "state action" to protect businesses, corporations and people from lawsuits after denying services based on a sincere religious belief. 
According to the bill, "A person whose religious exercise is burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or a defense in a judicial proceeding, regardless of whether the government is a party to the proceeding." 
View the bill on the Arizona State Legislature's website 
The bill also establishes a set of needed guidelines for when this potential defense could be used in court: 
- The person's action or refusal to act is motivated by a religious belief
- The person's religious belief is sincerely held
- The state action substantially burdens the exercise of the person's religious beliefs
My questions is why you would be in business serving the public if want to determine who you serve based on your religious beliefs.  Does that mean if you wear a turban or a veil over your head, you won't be served.  Next are they only going to serve blonde, blue eyed people?  This is how ridiculous it sounds.  Instead of concentrating just on gays, why not tell the American people that it could be more than just gays not served but other religions like Muslims, Jewish, Amish and the list goes on and on. Are they going to not serve someone because their religion frowns on people with a different skin color.  Thought this was settled years ago in the early 60's at lunch counters across the South but looks Arizona once again didn't get the message.

What is wrong with Arizona and more importantly with their Governor to even have to think if she is going to sign or veto?

Was waiting for the NFL to weigh in on the stupid discrimination law in Arizona passed by the hard right GOP legislature and sitting on Governor Brewer's desk for signature.  Was not disappointed in the NFL as they had a few words for the Arizona legislature and Governor Brewer hoping to force her to veto the bill:

On Monday, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee condemned the bill and the effect it would have on the state:
We share the NFL's core values which embrace tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination. In addition, a key part of the mission for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is to promote the economic vitality of Arizona. On that matter we have heard loud and clear from our various stakeholders that adoption of this legislation would not only run contrary to that goal but deal a significant blow to the state's economic growth potential. We do not support this legislation. Instead, we look forward to continuing to promote the NFL's values while focusing on the economic momentum apparent in Arizona and capturing the positive worldwide attention associated with hosting Super Bowl XLIX.

The Arizona Cardinals, the state's only NFL team, also came out against the bill:
What so many love about football is its ability to bring people together. We do not support anything that has the potential to divide, exclude and discriminate. As a prominent and highly-visible member of this community, we strive to bring positive attention to the state. We are concerned with anything that creates a negative perception of Arizona and those of us who are fortunate to call it home.

It isn't the first time that Arizona's Super Bowl has been put in jeopardy. In 1990, the NFL pulled the 1993 Super Bowl from the state over its refusal to recognize Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a state holiday, costing the state more than $100 million in economic activity. 
The NFL is so far not taking a stance on SB 1062, telling The Huffington Post on Monday, "Our policies emphasize tolerance and inclusiveness, and prohibit discrimination based on age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other improper standard. We are following the issue in Arizona and will continue to do so should the bill be signed into law, but will decline further comment at this time."
You would think that Arizona would have learned after the NFL pulled the 1993 Super Bowl but no the GOP is still the same party of intolerance in Arizona it has been for sometime now.  How Governor Brewer can even consider signing this bill is beyond me.  What is she thinking?  Or is she not thinking which seems to be the likely scenario.

I have no doubt that the NFL will pull the Super Bowl once again from Arizona if she signs the legislation costing the state millions of dollars.  If I was the owner of the Phoenix Cardinals, I would be making plans to leave Arizona permanently.  At the same time, the baseball teams that do Spring Practice in Arizona might want to move to SoCal or the Phoenix Suns NBA team might start looking around.  Does Brewer have any clue how much revenue this bill could cost the state or is she more worried about her re-election?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Republican Party Rhetoric Hitting Rock Bottom

The Republican Party and some of its spokes people are hitting rock bottom with many of us wondering how we ever stayed Republican for so long. What I have learned in the last six years makes my head swim today! How could you even defend such a Party when it starts rotting from the head down with the RNC Chair Priebus being unethical starting with his days as head of the Wisconsin GOP. He is a perfect fit to head the GOP -- still unethical using RNC funds to support Governor Walker during recall while sending out letters looking for donations to the RNC for their Convention but like so many of the worthless Republican National Committees in the past they chose to look the other way!  

On a sidenote -- a very good friend and I tried to get the RNC Chair canned in 2000 by contacting all the members of the Committee as the RNC Chair was showing a bias in the Presidential primary for Senator McCain.  Effort failed but looking back that was probably my start of being disgusted with Republican politics.  
Email shows RNC chair Reince Priebus leaked info to Scott Walker about primary opponentRepublican National Committee chair Reince Priebus gave Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) inside information leading up to his 2010 election, Isthmus reported Wednesday night. Among the thousands of emails recovered as part of a recently-concluded investigation…
On a sidenote, you would think with as much as I have written against RNC Chair Priebus and the RNC not to mention emails and phone calls telling them to 'shove it' that someone would have taken me off their snail mail list.  That would be wrong -- received another fundraising letter yesterday except unlike in the past they didn't include any dollar bills to send back.  Wonder how much they lost on that scheme -- I was one of those who kept the money.

Anyone who has any type of reading comprehension, knows Preibus and Gov Walker are not very ethical and with the release of emails in Wisconsin the people of the state are finding out that neither one of them have any ethics and don't care.   Still recovering from the people around Governor Walker being a bunch of racists according to emails that have been released.

Taking a lot around at some comments out of Republicans this week makes me extremely happy that I have told them to get lost.  From CNN:
IGOR BOBIC – FEBRUARY 20, 2014, 10:35 AM EST14691 
Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott (R) was happy to campaign with conservative troll Ted Nugent this week, despite the fact the rocker once called President Obama a "chimpanzee" and a "subhuman mongrel." 
Asked repeatedly by CNN's Ed Lavandera whether he thought it was appropriate to associate himself with someone with such a history of vitriolic and racist remarks, Abbott deflected by saying Nugent was instrumental in going after his opponent. 
"Ted Nugent was a way to expose Wendy Davis for her flip-flopping on gun related issues," he explained about the Democrat's support of an "open carry" gun law. 
At one point in the video, Abbott's communications director tries to cut off the reporter in front of the camera. 
Watch below:

This tells you a lot of Texas Governor candidate Gregg Abbot and none of it good -- he puts his own campaign ahead of decency and responsibility by admitting that with Ted Nugent with him he brings in more people.  Nugent is pure slime and to use him to get people out are not the kind of people I would want supporting me.  Unbelieveable at how low the GOP candidates are going in 2014.  Always thought Abbott would do and say anything to get elected and he is still proving me right.  GOP Attorney Generals for the most part in the states are some of the worst and most hard right who are wasting a ton of money on lawsuits they cannot win but make them feel good while costing the taxpayers of their states. 
Not to be outdone for stupidity, out comes Michelle Bachmann again:
Michelle Bachman Says President Obama Got Elected Because of Slavery
By: Jason Easley 
Thursday, February, 20th, 2014, 2:24 pm
Republicans aren’t even trying to hide their racism anymore. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) that Barack Obama was only elected president because white people felt guilty about slavery. 
Bachmann told Cal Thomas that she didn’t think America was ready for a woman president, then she gave her race based theory of why Barack Obama was elected:
Bachmann says a lot of people “aren’t ready” for a female president. “I think there was a cachet about having an African-American president because of guilt.” (Presumably she means because of slavery and the lengthy denial of civil rights to blacks.) “People don’t hold guilt for a woman,” she says, adding that while people vote for women for virtually every other office “I don’t think there is a pent-up desire” for a woman president.
How does she explain how President Obama also won in 2012?  Answer is she doesn't -- she is stuck in the same GOP mantra that President Obama was elected because he was black not because the Republican Party put up such lousy candidates.  If the House Districts were not so badly gerrymandered,  the Republicans would not be in charge of the House either.  Republican Party and its hard right are turning off common sense Americans including Republicans who have had it with their anti-rhetoric if it is not their idea.  The 'my way or no way' are fully in charge of the Republican Party at all levels today with common sense thrown out the window.

Speaker Boehner now says Congress may be done with meaningful legislation before the election.  Guess you could call it a Boycott of Legislation by Republicans?  This is February 20th and they don't plan on anything meaningful until after the November 4th election?  Yet the American Taxpayers are paying those lowlifes to do nothing but start and expand investigations that have no basis in reality?  Time for the American people to wake up and vote them out of office because they have turned their backs on us and the oaths they took when they were elected.  Politics trumps all for the hard right Republicans while passing bills to help Americans and run the Government comes in dead last.

To anyone out there thinking they want to stay a Republican -- read that paragraph above and tell me why?  There is not a legitimate answer that I can come up with on why anyone with a working brain could remain a Republican.  The hard right has taken over the entire Party and from what most of us can see the effort by the Chamber and other more mainstream Republicans is failing.  How can anyone support a Party that uses Ted Nugent as a spokesman for the face of the party?

Only one answer for November since no one wants to start a new Centrist Party:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

University of Oklahoma Reports Rules Violation to NCAA for Three Football Players Eating Too Much Pasta!

After being serious about what the ALEC Oklahoma Legislature is doing this week, figured on hump day you could all use a laugh.  University of Oklahoma self-reported to the NCAA a rules violation of 'too much pasta' -- you read that right 'too much pasta' being eaten.  Laughed when I first heard it and found the account of what happened at The Oklahoman:
Oklahoma football: Gabe Ikard, Austin Woods ate the pasta 
Staff reports • Published: February 19, 2014
Oklahoma's Gabe Ikard (64) celebrates after a touchdown that put the Sooners up for good over the Cowboys during the Bedlam college football game between the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Following a report from The Oklahoman's Ryan Aber, news of Oklahoma's self-reported violations went national on Wednesday.
The one violation most media organizations kept referencing was the now-infamous "PastaGate." 
From the report:
Describe the facts associated with the request/case: On May 10, 2013, the athletics department hosted a graduation banquet for graduating student athletes. Three (3) of the student-athletes graduates from the University of Oklahoma (redacted) but returned to the University to compete in their final season of competition. At the graduation banquet, the student-athletes were provides a pasta serving that is in excess of the permissible refreshments that may be provided by an institution pursuant to A breakdown of the invoice indicates that the per person cost of the pasta serving was $3.83 ($575 (cost of pasta)/150 (people in attendance) = $3.83).What are any relevant mitigating circumstances that should be considered when reviewing the request? Upon a review of the Food and Beverage Expense Certification Form, the institution determined a violation occurred and requested that the student-athletes pay the amount of the extra benefit to a charity of their choice.
Small potatoes. So small, in fact, that former OU offensive linemen Gabe Ikard and Austin Woods proudly put their name on it via Twitter:
Gabe Ikard @GabeIkard  @SportsCenter  @AwesomeWoods_50 and I are proud to be 2 of these infamous pasta eaters. Also, we donated $5, not $3.83.  #Boomer

Austin Woods @AwesomeWoods_@GabeIkard @SportsCenter that was some great pasta! We felt we ate more than $3.83 so we donated $5.  They got five on it. 
Gabe Ikard @GabeIkard We were served an extra pasta buffet at our student-athlete graduation banquet in May. So, we donated $5 to charity to be eligible to play.
NCAA has a lot of quirky rules but this one may take the cake -- being served too much pasta and in order to play,  have to increase the amount to $5.00 for the pasta is laughable.

Doesn't the NCAA have better things to do like rewrite the rules to stop hurry-up offenses in the NCAA Div 1 Football which Alabama Coach Nick Saban wants after The University of Oklahoma beat him in the Sugar Bowl.  Thought it was a joke but it is not -- Saban is lobbying to slow down hurry-up offenses so he can substitute his defensive players.  Talk about a spoiled sport -- Saban comes to mind. Guess that loss to OU in the Sugar Bowl didn't sit too well with Saban.  Today while having lunch with my son in Midwest City, I wore my Sooner Magic shirt which is the same shirt worn by the Sooners following the win.  Ordered the locker room shirts for the family from the Official Sooner site. Guess we might not want to wear them in the Tuscaloosa area of Alabama if we might run into Coach Saban.

 Boomer Sooner!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Oklahoma Legislature has $188M Less to Spend Then the Original $170M

Why am I not surprised that the amount for the legislature to budget is less not up?  That means the garbage some Republicans have been feeding the Oklahoma taxpayers that the legislature would have more to spend was wrong.  Note that it is due in large part to Corporate Income Tax Collections.  Yet the Republicans refuse to budge on raising the horizontal drilling tax from 1% back to 7% where it was originally when in the early 90's they decided oil and gas needed a tax break on horizontal drilling. Excuse me but that industry is recording record profits today yet the tax is still 1% and has not been raised.

But then, I want to know why the prices at the pump here in Oklahoma are skyrocketing since the people at the local 7/11 are as shocked as the consumer.  No one has come up with a good explanation except the guy behind me in line said Northern Keystone Pipeline -- raise all our prices at the pump to declare they will come down with the Northern Keystone approved.  Do I believe he could be correct -- you betcha.

The truth is out -- $17M less for the OK Legislature to spend then was projected in December -- OOPS!  Will someone tell the legislature to quit passing social conservative bills that the taxpayers have to foot the bill for defending in court?  At the same time tell the current Attorney General Pruitt to quit wasting our tax dollars on trying to overturn the Affordable Care Act -- not happening and tired of wasted money on a pipedream of the hard right.   
February 18, 2014 
Okla. Legislature to have $188M less to spend 
Associated Press 
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Legislature will have even less revenue to appropriate this year for state services than initially projected, in large part due to volatile corporate income tax collections. 
A state board headed by Gov. Mary Fallin on Tuesday certified $6.9 billion in available revenue for the Legislature to spend on state programs for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
That amount is more than $188 million less than the Legislature appropriated on state services last year, and $17 million less than was projected in December.
Finance officials say the main reason for the sharp decline since December is a decrease in the estimate on corporate income tax collections, and Fallin asked two members of the board to develop recommendations for better estimating those figures
That doesn't even account for the fact that Governor Fallin and the legislature want a tax cut to keep up with Kansas.  How is that working out for Kansas BTW -- not well but why let that stand in the way of an ALEC Tax Cut? From the Oklahoma Policy Institute comes this article about Kansas Economic Growth -- not exactly a glowing picture and makes you ask why would Fallin and the GOP want Oklahoma to be like Kansas?
Annie McKay is Executive Director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth (KCEG). This post previously appeared on the KCEG blog. 
Ever since Kansas enacted substantial income tax cuts in 2012 and 2013, we have eagerly awaited the prosperity and Texas-sized job growth that we were promised would be spurred by these changes. 
Unfortunately, our efforts to be like Texas aren’t paying off for most Kansans. In fact, after two years of tax cuts:
  • The vast majority of Kansans aren’t seeing their paychecks grow.
  • Surrounding states that held the line on income taxes are doing better than Kansas.
  • The jobs we are adding aren’t lifting Kansans out of poverty.
Back in November, we heard from the experts who estimate revenues for the state. The bad news? They scaled back earlier expectations of personal income growth in the state for the coming three years. It’s now expected to be below the national average all three years. Where else has this pattern occurred? In states that significantly reduced their incomes taxes in the 1990s and early 2000s. 
Recently, Kansans have been told that we’re adding 1,000 private jobs per month, but that’s hardly something to celebrate. It’s less job growth than we’ve seen in surrounding states, where income taxes were not cut. Once again, we trail the national average for job growth. The dismal results for Kansas were predictable: They repeat the sluggish job growth in states that cut income taxes in the 1990s and early 2000s. 
Read More
President of The University of Oklahoma David Boren has weighed in on the Gov Fallin tax cuts -- you could say that President Boren speaks for a lot of Oklahoma taxpayers who believe in education. We just passed two schools bond issues here in Norman by a sizeable percentage so the home of The University of Oklahoma is very pro-education -- shame a lot of the rest state is not or our legislature would not even consider more cuts to education at any level after Oklahoma leads the nation in cutting education since 2008 when the Republicans took over the legislature with cuts of well over 20%.

From The OK Policy Institute:
Fallin’s tax cuts and lack of funding for higher education also led University of Oklahoma President David Boren to write that both policies are a mistake. 
"Can we afford another tax cut when we can't give another tax cut without cutting vital services?" - University of Oklahoma President David Boren. 
Boren told the Tulsa World residents need to start asking, "what kind of state do we want to be? Who are we as a people? I don’t think we want ignorance and lack of opportunity to be our legacy.” 
Boren points out in the 1970s state funding made up about half of OU's budget. It is now down to 17 percent, resulting in what he calls a privatization of public higher education.
He is says he is also concerned colleges and universities have to make tough decisions about whether to keep quality programs or start offering narrow opportunities for students. 
Had one person tell me after President Boren's editorial in the Tulsa World that is just OU but it is not just OU, as an OSU economics professor weighed in on Gov Fallin touting Tax Cuts to the OKC Chamber or as some of us like to say -- the ALEC Agenda:
The governor also says such cuts attract more jobs and companies to Oklahoma. 
But the evidence for such an economic boost is thin, according to a guest blog post for the Oklahoma Policy Institute by Oklahoma State University economist Dan Rickman:
“Evidence from my own studies and those of many others suggests that adjustments in state and local taxes and spending can, at most, spark marginal gains in economic performance. Across the United States in recent decades, states and localities have adopted more similar tax and spending policies, leaving less room for improvement.” 
Rickman’s research also indicates Fallin’s statements that the evidence shows income tax cuts boost overall revenues to government is without backing.
“Crucially, there is no evidence that tax cuts pay for themselves by boosting future growth and tax collections. For public officials, there is no escape from carefully considering how various balances of taxes and spending affect both government budgets and surrounding economies.” 
Both of our Major Universities know that education cannot continue to take these cuts to higher education along with cuts to public education.  Why would the Governor Fallin push more tax cuts which will lead to less funding for education at all levels?  Being stubborn is not becoming to a Governor.  It makes no common sense and hasn't from day one why with less dollars to spend the Governor and some of the legislature want more tax cuts?  How beholden are they to ALEC who writes a lot of bills as we see the same wording for bills in various states.   Have Republicans become that devoid of independent thinking?  Sure looks like it in Oklahoma from a lot of the bills submitted in this legislature.   With over 2,000 bills submitted in the Legislature, it makes your head swim at how such a small state can be so over governed by a Party who is for smaller Government.

Just shake my head and hope in November of this year, we can start to take the State of Oklahoma back to Common Sense!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Forty-Three Ted Cruz Hard Right House Republicans Planning to Sue President Obama for Doing His Job as President

When I think it is impossible for the Republican Party to get any dumber, along comes some of the House Republicans to prove me wrong once again.  One of those jerks is running for the Oklahoma Senate seat being vacated by Senator Coburn at the end of the year -- Republican James Lankford of the 5th District.  BTW, when is he going to resign?  The Speaker of the OK House, TW Shannon, resigned to run for the seat but not heard a peep out of Lankford.  TW would make a much better Senator than Lankford any day of the week. Would bet TW is happy to be out of the OK House and having to deal with some of the hard right because he is not that hard right -- it must have driven him up a wall.    Will bring you more on the OK Senate races as it gets closer to our summer primary and probably gets nastier.

Some of the hard right House Republicans have jumped over the cliff with their latest attacks on President Obama for doing his job.  One of my favorite writers, Jason Easley, Politicususa had this to say:
Forty three House Republicans Want to Sue Barack Obama for Being President
Forty three House Republicans are sponsoring a bill that if passed would force the House to sue President Obama for behaving like a president. 
According to The Hill, “Forty-three Republicans have cosponsored the resolution since Obama’s State of the Union address, where he threatened to enact policies if Congress didn’t act. The “Stop This Overreaching Presidency (STOP)” measure, introduced by Rep. Tom Rice (S.C.), now has 104 co-sponsors, including Senate GOP hopeful Reps. Jack Kingston (Ga.), James Lankford (Okla.), Steve Stockman (Texas), Paul Broun (Ga.), Steve Daines (Mont.) and Phil Gingrey (Ga.).” 
The House Republicans are upset because Barack Obama had the nerve to act like a president. They are angry that he delayed the employer mandate, implemented the DREAM Act for the executive branch, let people keep their substandard health insurance policies, and ended work requirements for welfare recipients. 
Courts have ruled for decades that presidents have the constitutional power to delay the implementation of a law. Like all presidents, Obama’s executive orders only cover the executive branch. President Obama didn’t implement the DREAM Act for all of the country, just for the executive branch.  Read More
It dawns on you that these current hard right Republicans in the House and Senate could care less what the Constitution says about three equal branches of Government.  No place does it say the House is Supreme to all other branches but you would never understand that from the hard right rhetoric aka lies coming from the mouths of the Senator Ted Cruz Republicans in the House:
House Republicans are trying to sue the president for exercising his constitutionally granted powers. This is another attempt to delegitimize this president. Republicans are upset that the president is working around their obstruction, so they are taking him to court to try to get him to stop behaving like a president.
How much influence has Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had on this current action of suing the Presiddent since he convinced the House to shut down the Government last fall?  My guess is a lot seeing some of the people involved.  In doing the research I found this 5 Feb 2014 article from the Houston Chronicle's, Texas on the Potomac Blog:
Cruz report accuses Obama of “assault on Texas”Posted on February 5, 2014 | By William T. Brown 
Sen. Ted Cruz has issued a report on “The Obama Administration’s Assault on Texas.”
The freshman Republican from Texas  is the ranking minority member of a Senate Judiciary subcommittee which deals with the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. 
This report, the third in a series written by Cruz on what he sees as Obama overreach, “ goes through 10 cases where the Obama administration has advocated for overbroad views of federal power and has been over and over again repudiated by the federal courts,” Cruz said in a Fox News interview.  Read More
Question of the Day:  Can a sitting Senator can also be Speaker of the House since the Speaker does not have to be an elected House Member?   Seems that Ted Cruz is already the de facto head of the hard right in the House so why not be Speaker?  Cruz must be livid at Speaker Boehner for finally getting the courage to go against the House's hard right to pass a clean Debt Ceiling Bill as Cruz was determined not to let a clean bill pass.  Then Cruz lost in the Senate, when Minority Leader McConnell grew a backbone for a few hours and rounded up votes to stop a Cruz filibuster.  Now the hard right who has raised more money than the Chamber and middle of the road Republican groups are out for blood in the 2014 election wanting to elect hard right ideologues and don't care if they beat Democrats in November as long as they stand on principle.

These excerpts from the article at Alternet, Tea Party and the Right, basically say what many of us who were lifelong Republicans until 2010-2012 have been saying:
This week, the Tea Party aligned Senate Conservatives Fund called on House Republicans to force out Speaker John Boehner in an email that read, “Unless we install a new leader who will actually go on offense, Democrats will never fear us and we will never have any leverage.” 
We may be witnessing the genesis of another temporary or permanent fracture of the Republican Party, for what was once a happy coalition of secular and social conservatives, united to defeating Obama and liberalism, has turned into an openly hostile civil war for control of party, and by all measures the Christian Right/Tea Party faction are winning in their objective of purging what they believe are Republicans In Name Only. 
This is a war establishment Republicans cannot win for not only is the Christian Right/Tea Party faction the most reliable and agitated voting bloc within the party, but also they’re now out raising Chamber of Commerce-sponsored establishment candidates thanks to a cabal of hyper-religious organizations, the Club for Growth, and the Koch brothers. Since August, the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity has spent more than $27 million on ads, which puts it on pace to outstrip its overall $38.5 million spent on the 2010 election. 
It’s worth noting that there barely remain any open shirted “moderate Republicans.” Almost two-thirds of House Republicans voted against bipartisan efforts to reopen the federal government and prevent the U.S. defaulting on its loan obligations. The non-partisan Mann and Ornstein write in Its Worse Than it Looks, “The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier – ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
Lost count of the number of times since 1998 that I have been in dust ups with the 'my way or no way' crowd on conservative websites for their stupid mantra of not caring if their candidate wins as long as they stand on principle.  My shock is that they are now in charge of the Republican Party.  According to everywhere I turn, the hard right have outraised the establishment types led by the Chamber who were attempting to wrest control of the Republican Party away from the hard right.  Looks like a dismal failure from establishment groups after what I am hearing from people I know in various locations.

Koch Bros are willing to let the hard right have their theocracy as long as they get what they want -- no Government rules and regulations so they are free to pollute at will and kill the vibrancy that has always been the hallmark of American ingenuity.   Koch Bros who want more money for themselves discovered they could get the hard right to be their puppets because it is obvious the hard right are more inclined to be puppets when you use the right mantra then think for themselves.  They have been sitting in hard right churches for years being told what to think and what to do.  Cannot fathom that.

Took me years but finally found out my trouble here in Oklahoma from the time we moved to Norman was with the hard right Republicans who make up most of the GOP in Oklahoma.  I am an independent thinker and that falls outside the norm for loyal GOP party members who are told which candidates to support. Here is an example:  In 2006 in the GOP primary for Governor, a nasty hit piece went out around the state by some County Chairs in support of Ernest Istook for Governor.  I was supporting another candidate.  When I got sent the letter as the Vice Chair of the County, the nitwits at OK GOP had left in faint grey lettering - Paid for by the Ernest Istook Campaign for Governor.  OK GOP and some County Chairs had sent out an obvious partisan Istook document and the worst part is a good many Republicans believed the document.  You cannot fight stupidity.

I can think of a few others that had the same trouble with the hard right who is now firmly in charge the OK GOP and calling the shots in the Governor's office.  The allegiance to ALEC and the Koch Bros in this state by some of the Republicans in the Oklahoma Legislature along with some statewide elected officials is mind boggling.  Cannot fathom being led around by some ideological group -- guess that is why I gave up Rush Limbaugh years ago -- found myself yelling at my radio in the car -- very seldom listened at home since the early 90's when he had all the parodies which were funny -- my all time favorite was the one on Ross Perot, "They are coming to take me away."  It was hilarious but Limbaugh hasn't been funny in years -- now he is just a shrill hard righter spouting lies and hate.

In 2007/2008 after supporting Rudy in the primary and getting clobbered by so many people on conservative websites, I started backing off posting where I had posted for years.  The Washington Post even had me as part of the purge of the GOP in the fall of 2006 from a website but I was in FL not posting.  It took awhile but almost immediately after the mid terms, I realized that the Republican Party had left me a long time ago and I just wouldn't admit it.  Was never a hard right ideologue -- always considered their 'my way or no way' mantra stupid and still do.  No way to run a Government.

Meeting more and more Republicans who live in the hard right red states who have had it and are changing parties or supporting Democrats in 2014.  This hard right takeover that leaves no room for independent thinking is my last straw.  Wish I could say it has been fun to be a Republican in Oklahoma but I would be lying.  At times it has been horrible, terrible, and nasty with attacks from the hard right that I cannot fathom toward more centrist GOP.  First time in my life to be considered a liberal Republican is in Oklahoma.  When you meet the Tea Party/Religious Right here you understand why.  You finally wake up one morning and realize I cannot deal with these people any longer.  Mine came in the spring of 2012 when I decided to support President Obama and drive my neighbors nuts. Never regretted it for a moment.  The words I use are 'Freedom, Liberated, and Relief'  as I can now express my feelings and not be called names by those on the progressive side.

Finished Reading Former Florida Governor Charlie Crist's new book, The Party's Over -- How the Extreme Right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat.  Enjoyed the book from start to finish and found myself agreeing with the current Democrat candidate for FL Governor over and over again. Gov Crist speaks my language.  You understand when someone as high profile as the former Governor can write a book like this that you are on the right track with supporting Democrats across America in 2014 and telling the GOP to 'Shove It!"

Friday, February 14, 2014

Republican Party in Chaos -- Who is in Charge?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There isn’t a Republican Party. I wish there were, I wish there was a Republican Party. I wish there was one person we could sit across the table from, make a deal, make a compromise and know when you got up from that table it was done.” -Vice President Joe Biden, weighing in on the fractured GOP

Vice President Biden has nailed -- there is no Republican Party -- it is fractured beyond my comprehension.

Am currently reading former Florida Governor Charlie Crist's new book, The Party's Over,  on "How the Extreme right Hijacked the GOP and I Became a Democrat."  I am about halfway through and extremely impressed while I keep nodding in agreement and saying to myself "exactly." He has nailed my sentiments in what I have read so far.

There is one thing about the Florida Governor's race I find amusing -- that his Democrat opponent calling Charlie Crist a conservative.  He lost to Rubio because he was not a conservative.  I cannot remember ever considering Crist a conservative starting with his race for AG.  Charlie is someone who works with both sides of the aisle for the good of the people of Florida unlike the current Governor Scott who I would have a hard time finding anyone who likes him. Still haven't recovered from his Lt Governor Jennifer Carroll having to resign as Lt Governor due to ethical problems.  Guess you could say Rick Scott and ethics are probably not friends and you would be correct.  Scott is one of the many problem Governors in the GOP.

MSNBC take on the Republican Party chaos today:
MAINSTREAM VS. MAD HATTERS: The gloves have come off and now the contenders are ready to throw their punches. According to a new report, House Republicans are blaming Sen. Ted Cruz for killing the GOP’s immigration reform efforts. 
It may have once seemed promising that Boehner and House Republicans would work with Democrats to reach a compromise on immigration reform, but now any realistic hopes of progress have been dashed after Cruz blasted the party’s plan as “amnesty” and led to some constituents voicing anger at their representatives. “After that it was ‘We’ll get back to you on immigration reform,’” an anonymous Republican congressman said. 
Meanwhile, Cruz introduced a bill earlier this week that would “amend chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, with regard to the definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’ for Federal purposes.” Sound familiar? That’s because it looks a lot like the Defense of Marriage Act–which was struck down last year by the Supreme Court. 
So now the question everyone should be asking: who’s really in charge here? Is Speaker Boehner really leading his caucus? Or have individuals like Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee taken over? We’ve said this before, but it begs repeating during a discussion like this: if the party can’t unite on one road this year, they’re looking at another rough primary season ahead of the 2016 presidential election–and if 2012 was any indication of how that might end for the GOP, it’s not looking too positive.
Add in the GOP State Governors along with GOP dominated state legislatures and you are asking yourself where did these people come from.  Have never seen anything like it as I have been writing on here for a long time.  I still think my choice for the #1 idiotic bill introduced anywhere is a bill to End Marriage in Oklahoma to keep Gay Marriage out -- went viral around the Country and provided all kinds of humor.  It is so outlandish I thought it was a joke but it is an actual bill that was submitted. This is how loony the right has gotten over time. These hard right social conservatives never should have been elected to office because all they care about are social issues and making sure the wealthy donors get their fair share.  The more I read about the OK Legislature, the more I shake my head that common sense has totally left them and the Republican Party as a whole.

Jason Easley, Politicus, had this to say at the end of January:
The Republican Party is in shambles because they are accurately viewed by most Americans as the uncaring party of the rich. Republicans can pay lip service to the middle class and claim they care about poverty, but they aren’t fooling anyone. 
The GOP has been branded as the party of the wealthy few. President Obama’s efforts to reach across the aisle, and fight for the American people are paying off. Obama and the Democrats don’t get credit in the media for what they are doing, but voters understand who is really on their side. 
President Obama has turned the Democratic Party into the party of middle class populism. There is only one party of the people in this country right now, and it isn’t the Koch fueled GOP. President Obama isn’t just setting the Democrats up for victory today. He has successfully exploited the desire of the Republicans to represent only the wealthy few to lay the groundwork for Democratic victories for years to come.
Republicans today rely on a narrative with no basis in fact yet most of the media goes right along with the narrative and are only now beginning to think instead of just take the GOP narrative at face value and run with it like it was fact.  It is like the reporter who gets a press release from a company and that's what they use for the article instead of making sure the press release is factual.  Many of the media have covered for the Republican Party because they are frankly lazy and refuse to do the research to see if something is true or they are stupid.  I think most are just lazy.  If you see Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post, pushing a narrative, you are going to run away from that narrative.  She is so blindly partisan that how anyone can pay attention to her except for a laugh is beyond me.  Republican narratives as many already know describes Fox News reporting.  That said, it is not just Fox News but some reporters in other news organizations that are also pushing the narrative -- at times CNN has sounded like Fox light recently.

If you are a Republican who is not hard right, you are in for some tough times ahead because the party is falling apart right before our eyes now as the fights are going public like the one on the clean debt ceiling where Speaker Boehner finally did the right thing and the hard right is clobbering him.  If I was Boehner, I would tell the House to shove it and go register as a Democrat but deep down he does care about the Country even when he doesn't show it or he would walk away and allow the hard right in the House to take control.  He is catching all kinds of grief from the Tea Party and all the hard right Koch organizations.  Same with McConnell in the Senate who had to round up five votes to end the Cruz filibuster.  Must admit that I would love to see that Kentucky Senate seat of McConnell's flip to Blue with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes defeating Mitch McConnell.  Think she can do it from what I heard from friends in Kentucky.  That would make my evening on election night on 4 November 2014.

Enjoy Valentine's Day and the weekend -- expected to reach almost 70 degrees here in Norman on Sunday after 8 degrees last week -- can take hot weather much better than cold.  Let the celebration begin that spring is just around the corner as one good friend put it -- Major League Baseball Camps are opening = spring has arrived.

Happy Valentine's Day

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Very Familiar Headline in Oklahoma: Abortion Bills Clear Oklahoma House Committee

Where is the Common Sense in Oklahoma?  Republicans have found a new way to attack abortion with feigning concern for the Mother's life in an abortion.  How about the Mother's life if she is forced to carry a child to full term when the child is not viable which could cause physical or mental issues after a doctor recommends a pregnancy be terminated?  You have many doctors who for their own personal reasons will not perform abortions but they will refer their patient to an abortion clinic if they feel an abortion is necessary.  Now the OK legislature is going to tell women they know more than their doctor?

How much more time is going to be spent in the Oklahoma Legislature on abortion bills when Oklahoma has pressing needs to debate like fixing the State Capitol from crumbling, the infrasture that is failing across Oklahoma, or our education system so that a student in rural Oklahoma receives the same high quality education as the larger school districts.  When are legislators going to be willing to bite the bullet and consolidate some of these small school districts and quit worrying if they will get reelected as they need to do the right thing.  Instead once again abortion is front and center in the legislature in a state with some of the toughest laws against abortion on the books.

It is a waste of our tax dollars as the decision should be between the woman and her doctor not the legislature when the procedure is legal across this Country.  Guess they missed the part that abortions are dropping.  Will someone explain to me how a Party that is so dead set against abortion for any reason is also against contraceptives.  What am I missing?  Never has made any sense.
February 13, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY — Two measures to further restrict abortion in Oklahoma easily cleared a House committee on Tuesday over the objection of outnumbered Democrats who argue the bills are unnecessary.

The first bill that the House Public Safety Committee approved would require abortion providers to have clinical privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice, while the second would restrict the use of abortion-inducing drugs. Both measures head to the full House.

The bills are among several anti-abortion measures that have been introduced this year in Oklahoma’s Republican-controlled Legislature, which has become a testing ground for some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

Rep. Mike Ritze, an osteopathic physician, said his clinical privileges bill is identical to one approved in Texas and is designed to provide a safety mechanism for women who may develop complications as the result of an abortion.

“It’s a safety issue. A person can hemorrhage to death very quickly,” said Ritze, R-Broken Arrow. “If you’re dealing with minutes to save somebody ... you better have a backup plan in place.”
Oklahoma already has a law that requires doctors to either have privileges or an agreement with a local doctor with privileges, prompting the head of Oklahoma’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to question the need for Ritze’s measure.
Read More at the McAlester News-Capital 
Is Rep Ritze (R) grandstanding hoping to run for higher office as his bill makes no sense.  Tired of these males being the judge and jury when it comes to women's health.  This state is regressing not moving forward.   There is one Republican lawmaker with Common Sense which is rare to find in Oklahoma today:
 Not every lawmaker in Oklahoma is pleased with the state’s constant quest to limit women’s access to reproductive health care, however. Last year, state Rep. Doug Cox (R) — who’s a practicing physician — admonished his fellow Republicans for waging a war on abortion and contraception. “What happened to the Republican Party that I joined?” Cox lamented in an op-ed. “What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman’s life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?” 
Maybe someone can explain to me why Oklahoma is emulating Texas.  Must not be Sooner fans because the last thing they would want to do is be like Texas in anything.  This is just dumb to copy a state that has been on the attack against women's rights by the white GOP male dominated State Government of Texas.  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott who is running for Texas Governor is one of the leaders of the War on Women in Texas.  Abbott is opposed by Democrat Wendy Davis who polls close to Abbot almost across the board.  Could Davis flip Texas Blue?  It could happen with the neanderthal GOP and some of their male candidates in Texas where all common sense has been thrown out the window.
Oklahoma Considers Enacting Texas-Style Abortion Restrictions 
Oklahoma lawmakers are currently advancing two measures intended to restrict abortion access even further in a state that already makes it incredibly difficult to end a pregnancy. On Tuesday, a House committee approved a harsh abortion restriction that’s directly modeled after a new law in Texas that has forced dozens of clinics to close in the Lone Star State. 
One of the proposed measures would require abortion providers in Oklahoma to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice. Essentially, doctors would need to enter into a partnership with a local hospital, just in case one of their patients experiences serious complications from an abortion procedure and needs to be transferred there — even though the rate of complications from abortion that are serious enough to require hospitalization is estimated at just 0.5 percent
This type of unnecessary state law is known as the “targeted regulation of abortion providers,” or TRAP. Oklahoma actually already has an existing TRAP law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges. It just doesn’t specify that the hospitals in question must be within a 30-mile radius. 
The state’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is skeptical that it’s really necessary to enact additional legislation in this area. “We’re being given a rationale that’s grounded in providing a safe atmosphere for Oklahoma’s women, but at the end of the day that’s just smoke and mirrors,” the director of Oklahoma’s ACLU, Ryan Kiesel, noted.
Read More at Think Progress
Then there is the new Ohio law.  Shocked some Oklahoma legislator didn't file a bill like that for Oklahoma.  Maybe they did and I missed it since this was enacted last year in Ohio my home state which is getting just as hard right as Oklahoma.  Never thought I would see that happen.
Ohio’s New Abortion Ban Forces Women To Continue Doomed Pregnancies Against Their Doctors’ Wishes 
Thanks to harsh new abortion restrictions in place in Ohio, doctors are warning that they can’t provide the best care for their patients — and sometimes, women are being forced to carry nonviable fetuses to term against the recommendations of medical professionals. 
Last year, Ohio enacted several new laws that further regulate the way that doctors are allowed to practice. Abortion doctors are now required to obtain transfer agreements with local hospitals, an unnecessary requirement that is forcing clinics out of business. And doctors are prohibited from performing abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the fetus is nonviable; by 24 weeks, abortion is outlawed altogether. 
Since the new law doesn’t adequately distinguish between elective abortions and medically necessary abortions, doctors warn that it’s forcing them to withhold critical health services from their patients. Sometimes, serious fetal abnormalities aren’t evident until women are past the legal limit for termination. Thanks to Ohio’s new law, however, doctors’ hands are tied when they encounter those situations. 
Dr. Jason Melillo, an OB-GYN who does not perform elective abortions because he is religiously opposed to the procedure, told the Columbus Dispatch that he will still refer patients to abortion services if it’s medically necessary. For instance, he had a recent patient who discovered that her fetus had a fatal chromosome condition, and he recommended that she should terminate to avoid the risk of future complications. But it was too late. 
“By this point she was 27 weeks. The doctors were saying they can’t do it. There wasn’t even a medical debate about it. Everyone agreed she shouldn’t deliver but were afraid they would run afoul of this law,” Melillo explained. “What if she gets a blood clot? What if she needs a cesarean section? Now you’re putting this woman through risky medical procedures for no good reason.” 
“Nobody likes to end a pregnancy for a fetal problem. But it’s worse to leave a patient without medical care because doctors are afraid of violating the law,” he continued. 
Later abortion procedures are very rare, but they often occur in the most heartbreaking of circumstances: Wanted pregnancies that end up going terribly wrong. In states that have enacted bans on later abortions without adequate health exceptions, doctors have repeatedly warned that cutting off access to medically necessary abortions could end up forcing women to carry nonviable pregnancies to term, risking their health and their emotional well being. These type of later-term abortion bans also disproportionately harm young, low-income women.
Read More at Think Progress 
What is going on with all these abortion bills in the states?  Is this coming out of ALEC?
Kansas House approves bill to tweak state's abortion law
KMBC Kansas City‎ - 2 days ago
South Dakota Bill Could Ban Abortion as Early as Seven Weeks
RH Reality Check‎ - 1 day ago
Some of these are the same males that do not want an exception for life of the mother, incest, or rape. How can you make a woman who has been raped carry that child to full term and relive it every day -- most women could not handle it.

Anti-abortion all-stars. Federal lawmakers made news last year when an all-male House committee convened a hearing on abortion (twice). Male legislators dominate in proposing anti-abortion bills in the states, too. Of the 330 state lawmakers to sponsor such measures last year, 257—more than 75 percent—were men. Seventy-three were women. (According to the National Conference of State Legislators, about 75 percent of state lawmakers in 2013 were male.) About 1 in every 25 female legislators, and 1 in every 20 male legislators, sponsored an anti-abortion bill. The vast majority of the sponsors, 310 in all, were Republicans; 20 were Democrats.
The War on Women continues by the Republican dominated legislatures and House of Representatives.  Time to return Common Sense to this Country and throw out the social conservatives.  For a Party that wants smaller government, they sure do pass a lot of laws trying to regulate how a person handles their health or their lives. Personally don't think it is my business to tell another woman what she should do -- don't walk in their shoes and until someone does, then they have no business dictating.   Very sick and tired of the GOP and the hard right social engineering.  Will voters finally wake up to how much of our tax dollars are being wasted on the hard right's demand that only their agenda be followed.  Enough is enough -- vote them out in 2014!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

What State has a bill to End Marriage, Cut Taxes when There is $170M Shortfall, and Give Additional Tax Breaks to Those Who Stay Married for Starters?


That doesn't include additional social engineering like more anti-abortion bills that just passed committee in a state with some of the toughest abortion bills already.  Like recent bills these will probably get overturned as well and cost the taxpayers as the hard right Attorney General defends them all the way to SCOTUS.  This is becoming a habit in Oklahoma -- State Supreme Court rules they are unconstitutional so the AG takes them into the Federal system and the SCOTUS refuses to hear or finds them unconstitutional either way upholding the Oklahoma State Supreme Court.

My absolute favorite bill that I think is just funny is the one to end all marriage in Oklahoma to prevent gay marriage from happening on non-tribal lands in Oklahoma.  They have no jurisdiction over the tribal lands and cannot tell them who they can marry.

Because most elected Oklahoma Republicans are stuck back in time, our Republican Governor ended all spousal benefits sign-ups at Guard locations to keep gays from getting spousal benefits at local Guard facilities.  Some had to drive a couple of hours to sign up but that didn't affect the Governor. She even referenced a referendum in OK that forbid gay marriage and said the Federal Government cannot tell Oklahoma what to do?  Sitting here shaking head as she is head of the Governor's Association. Whoever pushed Gov Fallin to head the Governor's Association must make some of the other Governor's scratch their heads.

Now that same Republican Governor Fallin wants a reorganization of state agencies and forgot to get input from those agency heads as they were caught off guard. She is running Oklahoma more like a dictatorship.   'What is behind this merger' is the question?  We keep hearing she is involved in who gets contracts and if that is true this would add to big donors getting more contracts IMHO!  
Governor Mary Fallin recommended in her State of the State speech that five state agencies be consolidated into the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation. The directors of those agencies said they were stunned and perplexed by the speech, and it was the first they had heard of the idea.
The head of tourism wasn't consulted, either, said a spokeswoman for that agency. In the governor's State of the State speech, she recommended consolidating the Oklahoma Arts Council, J.M. Davis Memorial Commission, Oklahoma Historical Society, Will Rogers Memorial Commission and Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission into the Tourism Department.
Read More at The Oklahoman   
Just a little background on the Tourism board -- probably one of the more unethical boards under the Governor and has been for years.  I was working a campaign for State Senate where we discovered they were giving contracts to Democrat candidates who were running for office to help them fund their campaigns.  They were outed when we were tipped off what was going on with the opponent of my State Senator and found it is when I picked up the copy of the contracts.  Woman in the office at Purchasing was so nervous she walked into a wall and missed the door.  Then heard her on the phone asking if she had to give me everything so they gave me contracts that were not involved and buried in this avalanche of paper were the details.
Been around Federal contracting for years.  They had a list of companies they went out for bids to make it look like they didn't go sole source but these were the big aerospace companies so they just filled in names -- none of their contracting offices at the addresses given even the solicitation in their files.  Told over and over that their companies were not interested in doing a $50,000 Environmental Impact Study for Lake Thunderbird.  Then we found it is was a contract for a small amount that could grow to $500,000 and ended up sole sources when no one else bid.  The contract was let by Tourism which the current Governor headed as GOP Lt Governor at the time and never did get a straight answer.

More on the Governor's dealings on behalf of GOP donors:
Governor: Oklahoma’s State Parks are Not Yours To Sell! 
(Marshall and Bryan Counties, OK) — For over fifty years, Lake Texoma State Park was a critical economic engine for southeastern Oklahoma.  Then, republican Governor Frank Keating and Lt. Governor Mary Fallin targeted it and other state parks for privatization.  As Lt. Governor, then U.S. Congresswoman, and now governor, Fallin has been the leading  promoter for privatizing Oklahoma’s state park resorts and recreational areas. 
Seven years ago, Lake Texoma State Park was shut down by the Commissioners of the Land Office (CLO), of which she was a key member.  As the CLO’s ranking member, Fallin continues to represent private corporate interests.  Despite her assurances to the contrary, the public has been completely shut out for the benefit of fellow republican, Aubrey Kerr McClendon.
Social engineering continues in Oklahoma.  State representative in Oklahoma has come up with a new angle to keep people married:
Another House Committee narrowly voted to create a tax deduction for married couples that grows based on the length of the marriage.
It sounds like fiction but it is real -- we have a state that has infrastructure falling apart and massive cuts to education in the last few years plus a shortfall of over $170M this year and they want to give a tax break to people who stay married.  How about spouses who lose their spouse through death?

On 31 January 2014 they closed the bridge Between Lexington and Purcell even to foot traffic:
During a routine inspection on Monday, January 20, ODOT engineers say they found cracks in beams on the truss system underneath the bridge. Due to this damage, on Tuesday, January 21, ODOT had to drop the weight limit to travel across the bridge to 16 tons.
However, authorities decided to shut down the bridge on Friday due to safety reasons.   
Tempers flare in the small cities and towns near Purcell and Lexington as motorists try to get used to a new reality in the area. The bridge connecting Lexington and Purcell is shut down and many people now have a 34 mile detour to deal with for a trip that used to be only a mile long.
An example of our failing infrastructure in Oklahoma but then the Legislature and Governor haven't figured out how to fix the State Capitol which has entrances shut off as you might get concrete on your head that falls off the building.  This article from The Gazette in December 2012 is true today -- nothing  has been done to the exterior although the Republican led legislature authorized spending over $5M to upgrade offices and conference rooms inside the falling down Capitol:
January 11th, 2012 
Reality knows a good metaphor when it sees one. The state Capitol building is falling apart. 
Falling chunks of limestone on the building’s southeast side have forced workers to set up scaffolding and fencing. That exterior damage, coupled with needed electrical wiring and plumbing repairs, has an estimated price tag of $130 million, according to state Department of Central Services officials. 
Gov. Mary Fallin, for one, has floated the idea of a bond issue to fund Capitol repairs. For hardcore right-leaning state lawmakers, however, bond issues are about as unpopular as getting hit in the head by falling pieces of building, so how this gets resolved remains anybody’s guess.
The latest from The Norman Transcript two days ago showing that repairs are not progressing because they don't know where to find the money but they found $5M of our tax dollars to fix up their offices and conference rooms?
OKLAHOMA CITY — It’s been more than two years since yellow barricades and scaffolding sprang up outside Oklahoma’s Capitol building to protect visitors from mortar and pieces of limestone falling from it. 
Inside, debate continues among lawmakers on how best to finance repairs to the nearly 100-year-old Capitol’s exterior, antiquated plumbing, electrical wiring and other features.
Some favor a bond issue to raise money for the repairs, which officials estimate could cost up to $160 million. Others support a pay-as-you-go approach that would tap annual state revenue and avoid creating new debt for the state.  
A detailed examination of the building found a concrete beam above the south portico that is crushing the brick that supports it as well as antiquated piping and electrical wiring that are original to the building. There is also extensive cracking of the terrazzo floor in the building’s lower level. 
State Bond Advisor Jim Joseph said bond indebtedness is not an issue in Oklahoma and that the state has plenty of bonding capacity to afford a bond issue. More than 41 percent of the state’s bond indebtedness will come off the books in 2018, and more than 86 percent will be eliminated in the next 13 years. 
“I think we have capacity for additional borrowing,” Joseph said. “Our ratings are strong. The market’s good. The sooner we borrow, the better.” 
Read More at The Norman Transcript
At the time they put the new Keating dome on, I asked the question if anyone had done a structural analysis -- they used a local OKC firm.
Six years ago, Frankfurt-Short-Bruza Architects P.C. of Oklahoma City completed a feasibility study for the project and determined that the existing structure could indeed support a dome. At that point, the Oklahoma state legislature approved an act that would allow the project to proceed using a design-build process.
It stands to reason when you have a project requiring more than 1,200 precast concrete pieces that altogether weighed more than 1,300 tons, the heaviest pieces weighing almost 8 tons which make up a portion of the pieces contributing to what is now an 80 foot-diameter-dome, which projects 157 feet above the existing roof and weighs more than 2,500 tons that a 90 year old building might have trouble supporting 2,500 tons of limestone.  Now the Capitol is shedding limestone and our legislature cannot figure out how to pay for the fix which is getting more costly?  

Another question is how have the earthquakes we are getting in Central Oklahoma near fracking sites affecting the Capitol with that additional 2,500 ton dome?  We are an oil and gas state so you don't mention fracking might be causing problems and no one is going to answer your question.  Asked when earthquakes were hitting Norman and received no answers.

Note to Tea Party -- right now using bonds to fund long term debt is a bargain -- pay as you go when you already have $170M less to spend than last year is convoluted thinking.

Finally a Republican State Rep submitted bill to earmark $3.2B for command ed over the next ten years.  It passed the committee with one dissenting vote.  It would be a a big to increase in funding for common ed after five years of cuts.  Wonder what Tea Party person is going to challenge GOP State Rep Denny of Cushing who came up with the proposal?
 By RANDY KREHBIEL Tulsa World Staff Writer 
A proposal to earmark nearly $3.2 billion for common education over the next decade advanced from a House committee on Monday. 
House Bill 2642 by Rep. Lee Denney, R-Cushing, would create a special account to receive escalating apportionments drawn from tax receipts before they reach the general revenue fund. 
The bill specifies that the money would be in addition to regular school funding.
The account, to be called the Securing Educational Excellence Fund, would receive $57 million in the budget year beginning July 1, with the amount to increase to $575 million in fiscal year 2014.  
The amount going into the fund would remain at $575 million. 
The bill passed the House Common Education Committee on a vote of 15-1, with Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City, the lone opponent. 
"How much is enough, and how do we know it's enough?" asked Nelson, a frequent critic of public education's spending habits. 
Denney said common education has less money than it did five years ago while serving 90,000 more students. 
HB 2642 next goes to the House Calendar Committee, which schedules legislation for floor votes. 
Read More at The Tulsa World
That is one bill for common sense in Oklahoma that has cleared the first committee hurdle -- will it get passed?  Or will the Governor veto it in the end?  One bill for common sense is more than I expected out of this GOP dominated house.

Another extremely important bill in the social engineering agenda of the Oklahoma legislature.  I thought it was a joke like the no marriage in Oklahoma but I was wrong -- this one has passed out of committee:
House committee OKs 'Merry Christmas Bill' 
A bill to allow public schools to observe Christmas and Hanukkah advanced from the House Common Education Committee on Monday. 
Known as the "Merry Christmas Bill," House Bill 2317 would allow districts to "educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations." 
The bill would allow displays such as Nativity scenes or menorahs as long as more than one religion is represented and the displays "do not endorse, favor, disfavor, or encourage adherence to a particular religious or non-religious faith, belief or perspective." 
HB 2317 passed the committee 15-1 with Rep. Jeannie McDaniel, D-Tulsa, as the lone dissenter. The bill next goes to the House Calendar Committee. 
Rep. Ken Walker, R-Tulsa, is among the bill's sponsors. 
From the Tulsa World comes this gem on Tax Cuts.  We have $170M less to spend this year and now a bill in the legislature has increased the amount for tax cuts?
Tax Cuts 
Appropriations and Budget subcommittee on revenue and taxation. The subcommittee met for more than 2 1/2 hours Monday and advanced two competing plans for lowering the top state income tax rate. 
HB 2508 by Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, is similar to the quarter-percentage-point reduction proposed by Gov. Mary Fallin, except Sears' bill would delay implementation until 2016. 
Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, one of the Legislature's leading tax hawks, proposed cutting the top tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4 percent over four years, resulting in an $843.9 million loss in revenue when fully implemented. 
Osborn argued that the figure is based on "static" estimates and predicted that revenue will actually increase if the reduction is adopted. 
Osborn said state revenue has increased every time the tax rate has been reduced. Skeptics claim that the opposite occurred — revenue increased and then taxes were reduced.
In response to a question, Osborn said general fund revenue has been stagnant in recent years because tax rates have not been cut and because of national and international economic factors. 
Two attempts by Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, to curb tax credits were defeated, while a bill to extend the state's $5 million-a-year tax-rebate program for filmmakers through 2014 advanced on a 12-1 vote. 
Legislation passed by the subcommittee next goes to the full Appropriations Committee.
We still have the archaic 1% tax on horizontal drilling that was 7% at one time and the Republican House won't hear the idea that the tax should be raised.  This may be one of the hard headed group of legislators every in Oklahoma with some of their stupid ideas.

Will the new Speaker of the Oklahoma House Rep Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, stick with his original vote to be one of the few Republicans who voted against tax cuts last year or will he flip flop?  He is a more moderate Republican so this should get interesting.  Have no clue what is going to happen but I do know we need some more moderate, common sense people elected to the legislature and state government in Oklahoma.  Hopefully Speaker Hickman is a start but the jury is out.  Have had enough of the hard right running our state into the ground and putting social issues #1 over infrastructure and education.

Decided to support a man who is running to represent all Oklahomans not just the special few.  I say we give him a chance to turn the state around -- we cannot take four more years of GOP rule the way Oklahoma is going in the tank!