Archive for August, 2006

TABOR Opposition Groups Applaud Supreme Court Decision

August 31, 2006

Group to remain vigilant in opposing failed TABOR idea

Oklahomans for Responsible Government, the ballot campaign representing over 70 prominent Oklahoma business, social and community groups, strongly praised today’s Supreme Court order rejecting State Question 726, the so-called Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, or TABOR.

“This is an important victory for Oklahoma democracy,” said Kell Kelly, CEO of SpiritBank and spokesperson for the Oklahomans for Responsible Government committee. “The SQ 726 petition drive was conducted by out of state operatives that engaged in fraudulent and deceptive signature-gathering processes that threatened to make a mockery of our laws.”

Kelly was among the two-dozen business and civic leaders that filed a lawsuit challenging SQ 726 that the court upheld today.

Oklahomans for Responsible Government vowed to remain vigilant in opposing in what the group calls the “flawed and dangerous ideas behind the TABOR proposal.”

The organization’s chairs, Ike Glass [CEO of Glass Trucking and Chairman of The State Chamber], Steve Turnbo [Chair of Schnake Turnbo Frank, Inc and Chair of the Tulsa Metro Chamber of Commerce], and Kirk Humphreys [CEO of Humphreys Real Estate Investments, LLC and Board of Directors Member for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce], stated:

“We want to send a clear message that TABOR is not a solution for Oklahoma. TABOR has already been tried in Colorado and it took them may years and millions of dollars to undo the damage.” They continued, “as Oklahomans, we are fully able to develop our own fiscally responsible ideas that will allow for adequate support for vital public services. We do not to recycle a failed bill of goods passing itself off as a bill of rights.”

Coalition members of the organization were encouraged by today’s Supreme Court decision, and expressed their “resolve to oppose future attempts that would seek to impose this failed policy in Oklahoma.”

Oklahoma Supreme Court Throws Out TABOR

August 31, 2006

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Supreme Court Thursday threw out the proposed “taxpayer bill of rights” petition to reduce growth in government spending.

The court ruled the petition lacked sufficient valid signatures to send it to the ballot.

The proposal was aimed at limiting increases in state government spending to the growth of inflation and population.

The order indicated the justices agreed with a referee’s report that tens of thousands of signatures were gathered illegally by out-of-state circulators.

State Senator Randy Brogdon said the court opinion disenfranchises 300,000 people who signed the petition. He says backers will continue to work to get it on the ballot, even if it means they must collect new signatures.

Daily Oklahoman & Tulsa World Biased?

August 31, 2006

One of the age old arguments in journalism is the perception of bias in the reporting of events and of public figures. Similar to two people viewing an auto accident and giving entirely different accounts of the same event, you can have two folks of different political persuasions read or watch a particular news story and nine times out of ten they’ll disagree on its alleged slant.

We are all human and have our distinct preferences and dislikes, and most of us can appreciate that. The problems arise when the media puts on the facade of neutrality when its obvious they have an agenda. The immense popularity of the “right wing media” and the “blogosphere” is due simply to the fact that they don’t attempt to hide they lean towards a certain perspective. You know what your going to get and your free to accept or reject it.

The Tulsa World and the Daily Oklahoman are no exceptions to the charge of bias in their reporting. Since proving bias is often a subjective exercise, poignant examples of alleged bias should be presented to readers so they can decide for themselves. This is what we’ll attempt in this article.

Our fellow blogger Michael Bates at batesline.com has exhaustively chronicled The Tulsa World’s alleged bias and their unconstitutional attempts to silence him. Below is an excerpt from an August 17th blog post regarding alleged bias in reporting a joint townhall meeting Senator Coburn had with Rep. Dan Boren:

Tom Coburn, passed along correspondence concerning several attempts by Coburn’s office to correct errors appearing in the Tulsa Whirled.

I was shocked that your paper reported that I had “barred (my) office from answering questions on the meeting” I am holding jointly with U.S. Representative Dan Boren when I have no such blanket policy of not discussing this meeting and when no such policy had been communicated to your paper from my office. Your paper also reported that my office had not weighed in with FEMA on behalf of Oklahoma when our state was ravaged by wildfires when we had, in fact, weighed in with FEMA officials.

No one should have to remind any newspaper that manufacturing facts and indirect quotations is highly unethical and unprofessional and a serious offense to subscribers and readers. No provision in our Constitution grants news organizations the right to invent facts or quotations.

Bates along with Chris Medlock of Medblogged have both received cease and desist orders from the paper to immediately stop “infringing” on the World’s copyright by “reproducing articles in whole or in part and by linking to World’s articles without authorization.”

The Oklahoma Political News Service received a cease and desist email from the Daily Oklahoman at the beginning of this venture in June. Admittedly, we did reproduce some of their articles in whole and in part, only because other Oklahoma bloggers were doing the exact same thing. In fact, still are. We wonder why they haven’t received cease and desist orders as well?

In the January/February 1999 Columbia Journalism Review, The Daily Oklahoman was cited as one of the worst papers in the nation. Below is an excerpt of part of the reason they came to that conclusion:

Former staffers say it wasn’t long ago that the complexion of the front page, not just the newsroom, was influenced by race. “When I was on the city desk in the late seventies,” says former city editor Splaingard, “the rule was you didn’t run pictures of blacks on the front page.” And while everyone says the “rule” is long dead, it’s not always easy to tell.

In two months selected at random, January and August 1998, the paper ran 187 front-page photos, featuring nearly 200 individuals. Only ten photos had blacks identified in the cutline, and only four of those actually accompanied stories featuring blacks. Even more recently, says former Oklahoman reporter Charolette Aiken, “the Oklahoman put black faces on the front only if they were athletes, a black Republican, or a bad guy.” Observer editor Troy once wrote of the paper’s plantation mentality: “The paper has been quietly and effectively racist in all its long history.” Gaylord refused requests from cjr for an interview, but in a brief phone conversation from his home the publisher reacted testily when asked if putting blacks on the front page ever displeased him: “Oh, come on, you’re crazy,” he drawled. “Quit bothering me. Go on home.” Then he hung up.”

For those of you not aware, the editor of the Oklahoma Political News Service is an African American. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. We’ll let you decide.

Daily Herald Seeks Questions For Rep.Istook

August 31, 2006

By MIRANDA GILBERT
Staff Writer

What matters to local voters most in regards to choosing who should be the next Oklahoma Governor?

U.S. Congressman Ernest Istook (R), gubernatorial candidate running against Democratic incumbant Gov. Brad Henry, will be visitng the Guymon Daily Herald on Friday to discuss such conservative issues as taxes, spending, and the economy, life, family and culture, illegal immigration, guns and education and home schooling.

In our effort to report what matters most to locals, we are excepting questions for Istook’s interview until Thursday at 5 p.m.

Questions may be dropped off in the office or by submitted by email to editor@guymondailyherald.com with the subject line of “questions for Istook.”

Interview questions and answers will be printed in this weekend’s edition of the Guymon Daily Herald.

Representatives Campaign to OU’s College Republicans

August 31, 2006

The Norman Transcript

By Althea Peterson

Even for incumbents, two Republican representatives encouraged students not to take elections for granted.

U.S. Congressman Tom Cole, R-Moore, and Oklahoma state Rep. Thad Balkman, R-Norman, spoke to the University of Oklahoma College Republicans Wednesday at Oklahoma Memorial Union. Both representatives said state and federal elections will be very competitive.

Cole said at a federal and a local level, the sixth year of an eight-year election cycle is one of the most difficult election years.

“When any party is in the White House, it is a tough year of politics,” Cole said. “There are no safe seats and there are no safe elections. It’s like prevent defense in football — it’s a bad idea. We intend to campaign very hard.”

Cole said the key to winning elections is not about spending the most money on advertisements.

“The most important thing you can do is to go door to door and encourage people, especially Republicans, to vote,” Cole said. “You can have all the TV ads and mailings in the world, but you cannot replace personal contact at the door.”

Cole said there is a good chance Republicans can maintain majorities at a federal level, as well as in the state House. However, he said there is also a chance that the majorities could change.

“I like campaigning when there is a lot on the line. In my opinion, this is one of those elections,” Cole said. “These are the elections that make the difference. I think the Democrats have a chance of taking the House and the Senate.”

Balkman said it is important for voters to educate themselves, because the issues decided at the Capitol directly affect them. He cited Governor Brad Henry’s recent veto of a bill that would allow legislators to control college tuition rates as an example.

“That shows you how important it is who represents you,” Balkman said. “That would have been a great tool to keep (tuition) low.

“The state Senate is still in the hands of liberal Democrats. We have a good opportunity to take it back.”

Cole will face Democratic challenger Hal Spake of Norman, while Balkman will face Democrat Wallace Collins, who is also from Norman, in the Nov. 7 general election. The OU College Republicans will host lieutenant governor candidate Todd Hiett of Kellyville and Republican state Senate District 16 candidate Ron Davis of Purcell in two weeks.

Representatives Campaign to OU’s College Republicans

August 31, 2006

The Norman Transcript

By Althea Peterson

Even for incumbents, two Republican representatives encouraged students not to take elections for granted.

U.S. Congressman Tom Cole, R-Moore, and Oklahoma state Rep. Thad Balkman, R-Norman, spoke to the University of Oklahoma College Republicans Wednesday at Oklahoma Memorial Union. Both representatives said state and federal elections will be very competitive.

Cole said at a federal and a local level, the sixth year of an eight-year election cycle is one of the most difficult election years.

“When any party is in the White House, it is a tough year of politics,” Cole said. “There are no safe seats and there are no safe elections. It’s like prevent defense in football — it’s a bad idea. We intend to campaign very hard.”

Cole said the key to winning elections is not about spending the most money on advertisements.

“The most important thing you can do is to go door to door and encourage people, especially Republicans, to vote,” Cole said. “You can have all the TV ads and mailings in the world, but you cannot replace personal contact at the door.”

Cole said there is a good chance Republicans can maintain majorities at a federal level, as well as in the state House. However, he said there is also a chance that the majorities could change.

“I like campaigning when there is a lot on the line. In my opinion, this is one of those elections,” Cole said. “These are the elections that make the difference. I think the Democrats have a chance of taking the House and the Senate.”

Balkman said it is important for voters to educate themselves, because the issues decided at the Capitol directly affect them. He cited Governor Brad Henry’s recent veto of a bill that would allow legislators to control college tuition rates as an example.

“That shows you how important it is who represents you,” Balkman said. “That would have been a great tool to keep (tuition) low.

“The state Senate is still in the hands of liberal Democrats. We have a good opportunity to take it back.”

Cole will face Democratic challenger Hal Spake of Norman, while Balkman will face Democrat Wallace Collins, who is also from Norman, in the Nov. 7 general election. The OU College Republicans will host lieutenant governor candidate Todd Hiett of Kellyville and Republican state Senate District 16 candidate Ron Davis of Purcell in two weeks.

Hobson Predicts Dems Will Take Control of Senate

August 31, 2006

The Norman Transcript
By M. Scott Carter

Democrats will turn back a GOP drive to take control of the state Senate this fall, the Senate’s former leader predicted this week.

Lexington Senator Cal Hobson — who served as Senate president pro tempore from 2002 to 2005 — said Republican efforts to take control the Oklahoma Senate for the first time since statehood will not only fail, but also cost the GOP a seat in the effort.

“We’re going to hold all our seats and even pick up an additional one,” Hobson said Wednesday. “We’ve got a good chance to get rid of Randy Brogdon. We came within two percentage points last time. This cycle, I believe we’ll do it.”

Hobson said Brogdon, of Owasso, was politically weak because he was “more interested in the TABOR initiative” than in serving his district. “And that could be his undoing.”

With their slim, 26-22 margin, Senate Democrats have been on the defensive all year. But Hobson said GOP Senator Nancy Riley’s late summer switch lifted spirits and changed the face of the election. “Picking up Senator Riley’s seat was huge. It was an incredible boost to morale, and a major PR victory.”

However, before Democrats can plan victory celebrations, they must hold several key seats, including:” Read more…

"400lb Gorilla" Ron Black Offers Advice

August 30, 2006

Serve me or serve the devil. Yeah, right.

I have been checking out some of the Republican blogs of late and I am absolutely amazed at the garbage being strewn about. There is this undergirding of hatred for Brad Henry so deep that supporters of Ernest Istook are going so far as to leave the impression that if you have policy differences, any concerns whatsoever with Istook, you are “aiding Henry.”

I posed the question, “So, if you don’t forsake all and follow him, you’re aiding Henry?” I admit that it is a trick question because the premise of the question is ridiculous on its face. And the theological symbology isn’t an accident either.

We have seen this strategy rear its ugly head before, and it is the same type of rhetoric that has ensured a defeat for other political candidates. It is not a coincidence that this tactic is being used again – the players are the same.

Let me roll up my sleeves here for a moment and tell it like it is: The Istook campaign is not helping Istook by any stretch of the imagination. His people need a great big dose of STFU, and Istook needs to take charge over there. I consider myself to be a fan of Istook, a friend if you will, and to date, he has listened to no one but those who are steering him down the wrong path. Read more…

"On The Move" Tour Hits Another Pothole

August 30, 2006

Governor Henry’s “on the move” rv tour has hit another pot hole. Commenting to reporters on why he’s embarking on this trip, Governor Henry replied:

“Oklahoma is on the move, and I want to tell people how we can build on our accomplishments and meet the challenges of the future.”

We reported Tuesday the dismal turnout for the first stop of the tour. The turnout was so abysmal that campaign workers resorted to handing out Henry t-shirts to “working” construction crews. According to the Community Action Project, the average Oklahoman’s economic fortunes are also “on the move” but not in the direction the governor would like.

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) A Tulsa-based anti-poverty agency says the average Oklahoman is being left out of the current economic boom and the state’s poverty rate is rising.

The Community Action Project says it’s conclusion is based on an analysis of U-S Census Bureau data.

A Census Bureau survey released today shows the median household income of Oklahomans fell to 39-thousand-292 dollars during 2004 and 2005. That’s down from 39-thousand-519 dollars for the two previous years.

The survey also found the poverty rate in Oklahoma increased from eleven-point-eight percent in 2003-2004 to 13-point-two percent in ’04 and ’05.

David Blatt of the Community Action Project says the numbers show the average Oklahoma household and those at the bottom are being left out of the state’s overall economic growth.

*The McCarville Report Online posts today on Henry’s small crowds.

"Almost 100 Excited Voters?"

August 30, 2006

OKPNS wonders if Governor Henry’s advance team is handing out rose colored glasses and purple Kool-Aid with those t-shirts?

From okbluenotes.com:

Henry Big Hit In Norman

Governor Brad Henry’s RV tour of Oklahoma started in Norman today and a crowd of almost 100 excited voters was on hand to welcome him and First Lady Kim Henry. My job was simply to get everyone’s attention, and then introduce the man who will lead our ticket to victory in November! After some great remarks, a pizza lunch was served, and the First Couple spent thirty minutes talking with college students and Norman residents. If one theme was present in the Governor’s remarks, it was how much he will miss the presence of Cal Hobson next session at the legislature…it was good to see my former law partner, Col. Bill J. English, in the crowd, and to talk to Senate 16 nominee John Sparks.