March 2012 Archives

An unknown, untraceable organization called "Protecting Oklahoma Values" has sent three postcards to voters in support of Oklahoma House District 71 Democrat candidate Dan Arthrell and attacking Republican nominee Katie Henke. The District 71 seat is the ballot next Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in a special election to fill the vacancy left by Dan Sullivan.

Apparently unable to find anything negative about Henke personally or poiltically, the shadowy group behind the postcards seek to label the female candidate in the race as the anti-woman candidate by linking her to what is described as a "disgusting pattern of behavior towards women" by "the right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol."

The postcards supporting Arthrell make a series of claims, most of which are accompanied by footnotes with long URLs, which add credibility, but which are too long to tempt a voter to type them in order to compare assertions to reality.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "tried to cut funding to a Tulsa County program that provides nutrition for women and their children."

FACT: No source material was identified to back up this assertion.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "passed a law saying that birth is not a qualifying event for health coverage."

FACT: The item linked in the footnote is an emergency rule issued by the Insurance Department, not a law passed by the legislature. The rule deals only with "child-only" medical insurance policies and an adjustment in language to encourage more insurance companies to participate in the next open enrollment period and to write child-only medical policies in Oklahoma:

The lack of participation by insurers in the 2011 open enrollment period necessitates change to the rule in an effort to encourage insurers to participate in the 2012 open enrollment periods. During an open enrollment period, children under the age of nineteen (19) shall be offered coverage on a guaranteed issue basis, without any limitations or riders based on health status.

So the Republican Insurance Commissioner was trying to encourage more options for all children to have medical coverage.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "passed laws that may restrict women's access to infertility treatments and are forcing women to have invasive ultra sounds."

FACT: The first half of the statement refers to a claim by an infertility doctor that personhood legislation would hurt his business. One personhood bill, SB 1433, passed the Senate and is pending in the House. The other, HJR1067, which would put a constitutional amendment before the voters, appears to be dead for this session.

The second half of the statement refers to the 2010 law requiring that an ultrasound showing the unborn child be done prior to an abortion. The claim that an ultrasound is invasive is ludicrous compared to the invasiveness of the instruments used to scald, poison, and dismember an unborn child in an abortion.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "required personal information about women's gynecological history be reported to state agencies."

FACT: The footnote refers to the Statistical Abortion Reporting Act, 63 O.S. 1-738, which requires an abortion provider to submit a form to the State Department of Health for each abortion and a separate form for any abortion resulting in medical complications. The forms do not contain personally identifying information about the former mother on whom the abortion was performed. The purpose of the law is to gather accurate and complete statistical information about abortion in Oklahoma.

CLAIM: Right-wing Republicans at the State Capitol "continued to take away local control from our schools, interfering in our decisions about the education of our children."

FACT: The link is to a story about Tulsa Metro Chamber President Mike Neal, complaining about the prospect of the State Department of Education bringing in outside management to fix low-performing Hale High School in Tulsa. If our schools can't meet minimum standards, what does it say about "our decisions about the education of our children?" And what about the Democrats and local school officials who oppose school choice and sued to toss out the Lindsay Nicole Henry Scholarship law? Aren't they interfering in parents' decisions about the best education for their children?

The postcard goes on to try to plant blame on Katie Henke for the vulgar email sent by an insurance department employee (he was fired for his offense) and out-of-context comments by State Rep. Sean Roberts and State Rep. Sally Kern.

The postcards bear a strong resemblance to those sent out by an anonymous group in last year's Tulsa City Council election. Could the postcards be an act of revenge by a Republican political consultant against a Republican candidate that didn't purchase the consultant's services or an attempt to clear the way for a consultant-backed Republican candidate to run against Arthrell, who would, as a Democrat, be vulnerable in the regular general election in November? (NOTE: Consultant Fount Holland phoned to say that his firm had nothing to do with these mailers, and that in fact his firm is involved with independent expenditures in support of Katie Henke, and that he would never be involved with a pro-abortion or anti-pro-life mailer.)

A lifelong Tulsan, Katie Henke is a school teacher and is active in Tulsa civic organizations. As a Republican in an overwhelmingly Republican legislature, Henke would be in a much better position than Arthrell, a Democrat who would be part of a tiny minority, to influence legislation at the State Capitol.

UPDATE: Current speculation among insiders is that this mailer is the work of Democratic consultants, former Democratic operatives within the state party and state legislative apparatus.

MORE 2012/04/05: Ethics filings show that Protecting Oklahoma Values was organized on March 24 (Kimberly Grayson, chairman, Reid Nichols, treasurer), with the purpose of "To run an independent expenditure in HD 71." It was funded by George Krumme ($5,000 on March 26), Anthony Laizure ($1,000 on March 29), and Ed Abel ($2,000 on April 2). The funds were spent with Heartland Media of Oklahoma City: $4,186.16 for mail on March 27 and $1,000.00 for phones on March 30.

If the government seized all the mansions in Beverly Hills, the cost of every Super Bowl ad and the salaries and winnings of every major league athlete, the wealth of the Forbes 400 and the global profits of the Fortune 500, how long would it finance federal spending? Blogger Iowahawk took pencil to paper and figured it out last year, reporting his results as "Feed Your Family on $10 billion a Day."

Motivational guru Tony Robbins took Iowahawk's post, updated the numbers for this year, excised some of the "inflammatory" turns of phrase that might offend moderates and liberals, and turned it into an effective data visualization.

To his credit, Robbins not only mentions his source but puts Iowahawk's web address on screen.

The cool thing about the Internet is that, if you do something brilliant, people will find it.

Thumbnail image for rino-768px.pngThere's a theory being circulated among conservative bloggers and Tea Party activists that we shouldn't worry about the likelihood of bailout-backing, mandate-loving, flip-flopping Mitt Romney winning the nomination. Anyone can beat Obama, the theory goes -- even with Romney unable to run against Obama on Obamacare -- and if we focus on electing more solid conservatives to Congress they'll be able to keep Romney in check and push him to be more conservative.

But that's wishful thinking, divorced from political dynamics in the real world. Far from being shaped by conservative activists and legislators, a Republican executive tends to reshape the party in his own image. This is true at every level of government, but especially true when there's a Republican president. Republicans have a tendency to defer to the executive of their own party. They find it much easier to resist and block bad ideas from a Democrat executive than from a leader of their own party.

Even before winning the presidency, the nominee begins to shape the party in his own image. His team has a great deal of influence over the platform, the convention rules, the party rules for the next four years, and who gets to speak at the convention. Delegates on the convention committees are under a great deal of pressure to conform to the presumptive nominee's wishes. (That's another reason why a convention without a presumptive nominee would be a good thing.)

A Republican President of the United States is titular head of the GOP. He gets to pick the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who in turn has a great deal of influence over who staffs the party and which consultants are hired. The president has political appointments in the executive branch, ambassadorships, and federal judgeships to hand out. The president has superstar fundraising power: His blessing and support can open the floodgates for a candidate, and his disfavor can cause funding to slow to a trickle. And heaven help a Republican legislator if the Republican president, governor, or mayor opts to back your primary opponent.

But I think the tendency to defer to the executive goes deeper in the Republican mindset than mere access to money and power. Perhaps it's rooted in the long decades when we could elect Republican presidents, but we were in the minority in Congress.

When a Republican is the executive, many legislators and party officials see their job as defending and upholding the Republican executive, rather than holding them to account. It's much easier for GOP party leaders and legislators to oppose a bad idea if a Democrat proposes it. If a Republican official proposes a bad idea, the best you can hope for from Republican party leaders and legislators is silence.

I've seen this at work here in Tulsa. In 1997, a Democrat mayor proposed a 3.5 year, 1/2 penny sales tax and increases in hotel/motel and car rental taxes to fund a new downtown arena, stadium, and natatorium and expansion of the convention center -- $140 million in local tax increases. The county Republican Executive Committee unequivocally opposed the measure, and it failed at the polls.

In 2000, the same Democrat mayor proposed a rehash of the previous project, with some minor differences and funded entirely by sales tax -- 7.5 years, 1/2 cent, to raise $263 million. The county Republican Executive Committee unequivocally opposed the measure, and it failed at the polls.

In 2003, a Republican mayor and a Republican county commission chairman backed a sales tax hike to fund an arena that was about four times bigger and porkier than the plans the Democrat mayor had proposed. 13 years and a full-penny, county-wide sales tax increase for a total of $887 million. This time the Republican Executive Committee fell silent. Many members of the Executive Committee were now political appointees at City Hall and the County Courthouse, and they wouldn't wish to embarrass their bosses. Other Republicans were simply worried that opposing the initiative of Republican elected officials would divide the party. (Never mind that these officials were dividing the party by betraying fiscal conservatism.) Major Republican donors backed the plan and made it clear that there would be consequences if the party or elected officials opposed it. One Republican activist who led the effort against the Democrat mayor's initiatives became outspoken in support; after the election he wound up with a job funded by the new tax. The tax passed.

More recently, in 2009, Tulsa elected a Republican mayor. This gentleman had endorsed the Democrat incumbent for re-election before she opted not to run, despite her embrace of global warming and anti-gun hoohah and the runaway budget growth under her watch that left the city in fiscal peril in 2009. Many Republican leaders ignored the apparent lack of conservative convictions in this candidate and lined up behind him because he was the son of a former governor and senator and had money to self-finance a campaign. (Sound familiar?)

He won the primary and the general election. Tulsa's new Republican mayor then set about demonizing and alienating the Republican supermajority on the City Council. Rather than defend the Republican councilors or at least try to make peace, leading Republican funders and their allies attacked the councilors as bickerers, sued them, and created a redistricting plan that cut them off from their core constituencies, completely drawing the Council's strongest fiscal conservative out of his own district.

Any Republican Tea Party senator or congressman that dares to oppose President Romney's big new entitlement program is likely to meet a similar fate.

The same calls we are hearing now to unite behind our leader will only become more strident and carry more weight with a Republican in the White House and the power that comes with incumbency.

The same arguments being deployed today to get conservatives to fall in line behind Romney's candidacy were used to get conservatives to back Dubya's expansions of government (think No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and of course, the TARP Bank Bailout), and the same arguments will be used to rope conservatives into backing any big-government policy President Romney wants to pursue. We'll be told that opposing the president will damage his presidency, will weaken the Republican Party, and will strengthen the liberals. We'll be told that Romney's policy may be awful, but it's a much better option than what the liberals propose, and those are the only choices on the table.

I'm saddened by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's decision yesterday to endorse Romney and to call for an end to the competition for the presidential nomination. Does Sen. Rubio not remember when the National Republican Senatorial Committee called for everyone to line up behind Gov. Charlie Crist, because Crist's nomination was inevitable, and it was important to avoid a messy primary that would damage the party's chances in November? Isn't Sen. Rubio glad that activists and donors didn't take that rotten advice?

MORE: The best hope for conservative policy at the federal level is to stop Mitt Romney from winning the Republican nomination. The only way to do that is to keep him from getting enough delegates, and the only way to stop him from accruing delegates is to support the candidate running closest to him in the polls.

Romney can't get enough bound delegates to have a majority until June 2. If Santorum can win 365 more bound delegates -- and there are more than enough delegates still to be bound in the south, border states, and midwest to make that possible -- Romney mathematically can't lock up 1144 before the convention.

Rick Santorum is the only man standing in the way of Romney's nomination. A Santorum win in Wisconsin is crucial; you can help by making calls from home now through Tuesday.

STILL MORE: A friend remarked recently that Romney seemed Reaganesque, and noted that both Reagan and Romney changed their minds about abortion rights. There's a crucial difference: Reagan's change of heart against abortion put him at odds with mainstream GOP thinking of the time and hindered his candidacy in 1976. Romney's changes of position always coincide with whatever will help him win.

Back-porch bald eagles

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Someone posted the first in this series of videos on Facebook, showing a bald eagle perched on a porch railing, sharing the porch with a couple of cats and a fox, none of whom were bothering the others, like something out of a Peaceable Kingdom painting.

The rest of the videos posted by this resident of Unalaska, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands, are remarkable, too, with more interaction between her cats and the eagles, and a few videos of large numbers of bald eagles feasting on fish. Here's a playlist to let you watch all the videos back to back.

OKGOP-logo.jpgThe following Statement of Principles was adopted as part of the 2012 Tulsa County Republican Platform at the Tulsa County Republican Convention on Saturday, March 24, 2012. It is identical to the Statement of Principles section in the 2011 platform and is nearly identical to the Statement of Principles in the 2003 platform, differing by only 20 words or so. The 2003 statement is not original to that year, but constitutes a consolidation of the preamble to the platform as a whole and preambles to individual sections as found in the 2001 platform. Much of the text almost certainly predates 2001. It is the work of many people over many years.


"God who gave us life gave us liberty." - Thomas Jefferson

The United States has attained its position as a world leader and champion of freedom by protecting our God-given liberties.

We believe our rights come from our Creator. We believe in the unalienable rights of the individual. It is a government's first duty to protect these God-given rights: to life; to liberty; to property; to the pursuit of happiness.

Government is but one institution among many that exist to serve the common good. Families, religious communities, businesses, the press, and a host of voluntary societies have their roles to play in meeting the needs of society. As Republicans, we seek to reform government so that it performs its proper role with excellence and efficiency, while leaving room for the other institutions of society to thrive.

We believe that today's government is too large and intrusive, exceeding its proper scope, doing things for which individuals and private organizations are best equipped. We believe families, communities, and institutions of faith can best teach the American values of honesty, responsibility, accountability, hard work, compassion, and mutual respect.

We believe that the functions of government should be handled at the level nearest and most accountable to the people. The Tulsa County Republican Party seeks to apply these time-honored principles at all levels of government:

  • Faithful adherence to the U.S. Constitution as originally intended;
  • The sanctity of human life, from the moment of conception to its natural end;
  • The equality of all people before the Law - that individuals should be judged without regard to race, gender, creed, disability or age;
  • Public integrity - enforcing and administering the laws justly, in the fear of God;
  • Restoring and preserving Judeo-Christian morality in our culture;
  • Respecting the dignity of each individual and the integrity of families;
  • Fiscal responsibility and restraint;
  • Defense of property rights;
  • Promotion of free markets, free trade and freedom throughout the world.

At the Federal level, we call for maintenance of a strong national defense, protection of our freedom of religious expression, and protection of our rights as law-abiding individuals to keep and bear arms.

We support the right of Americans to retain their hard earned wages through the substantial reduction of the federal income tax rate and the establishment of a fair system of taxation.

We believe in personal responsibility and individual accountability. We desire to limit government involvement in the lives of families and individuals. We believe that a sound, traditional family unit is essential to the strength, stability, and success of our nation. We will defend the institution of the family against those who seek to use the levers of government to undermine or redefine it.

We believe inefficient government programs have displaced individual responsibility, compassion, and involvement in our communities. We will work to reform or eliminate impersonal, inefficient and redundant programs, while encouraging individuals, families, and private organizations to exercise their civic responsibilities, act with genuine compassion and offer assistance and care to people in need.

We believe it is the right and responsibility of parents or legal guardians to direct the upbringing and education of their children, without interference, regulation, or penalty from the government.

We therefore support the right of parents or legal guardians to choose the method of schooling for their children, whether public, private, charter, home schooling, or other means of education, without interference from the government at any level.

In our public schools, we seek to restore academic excellence. We believe the primary goal of our educational system should be to teach proficiency in the essential subjects, not to indoctrinate children in a worldview at odds with our nation's heritage.

We believe the best choices are not always the easiest, and that decisions which take commitment, sacrifice and perseverance result in more honorable, longer-lasting solutions. We believe the Republican Party provides the best opportunity to translate these ideals into positive and successful principles of government.

The intent of this section is to set out the timeless principles that motivate our involvement in the political process as Tulsa County Republicans. The remaining pages of the platform consist of detailed platform planks, applying these principles to current concerns.

This year's platform committee approved a draft containing a preamble which replaced the statement of principles. Gone from this preamble were any references to the sanctity of human life, the importance of marriage and the family (as traditionally understood), religious institutions, and other mediating institutions to the health of our society. There were no mentions of public integrity, education, parental rights, or morality.

Eleven members of the Platform Committee, led by Steven Roemerman, signed a minority report, proposing to replace this new preamble with the Statement of Principles from previous years, which you see above. Here is the text of the motion:

Whereas conservative social values such as the sanctity of human life, marriage, and the family and public integrity are core values of Tulsa County Republicans and therefore warrant prominence in our party's platform,

Whereas social issues have had prominence in the Statement of Principles for our Tulsa County Republican Platform for many years, but have been omitted from the Preamble submitted in this year's proposed platform,

We, the undersigned members of the Platform Committee to the 2012 Tulsa County Republican Convention, offer this minority report to the Convention, to wit, amending the Platform Committee's report to substitute the Statement of Principles from the 2011 Tulsa County Republican Platform (attached) in place of the committee's proposed Preamble.

After debate, the motion was approved by the convention by an overwhelming margin. The resulting platform consists of the above Statement of Principles and the individual platform planks that had been approved by the 2012 Platform Committee.

During my remarks (which, like Roemerman's, focused on the issue at hand and did not cast aspersions at any individual or question anyone's motives), I quoted Congressman Mike Pence, who was quoted in a recent column by Mark Steyn (well worth reading in full):

To those who say we should simply focus on fiscal issues, I say you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government you would need if the traditional family collapses.

(In a similar vein, Phyllis Schlafly's latest column is titled "Phony Divide Between Fiscal & Social Issues.")

I will have more to say about this in the next day or two, but for now I wanted to get the substance on the record.

MORE: Here is the Tulsa County platform committee majority report (1 MB PDF), with the Preamble (the section that was replaced) highlighted.

Tulsa County Republican activists gathered today at the Union High School Performing Arts Center to decide on delegates to the congressional district and state Republican conventions and to adopt a platform that will inform the work of platform committees at the state and national conventions. The only dispute in the peaceful and surprisingly brief convention involved restoring the long-time "bold colors" Statement of Principles to lead off the county platform, in place of the watered-down "pale pastels" preamble that had been approved by this year's committee. (I'll detail that dispute in a separate entry, but thanks to Steven Roemerman and several other members of the platform committee for their willingness to present a minority report.)

After the chaos at many Missouri county caucuses last Saturday (see first-time attendee Duane Lester's account of the Nodaway County caucus) and reports of strife at the Oklahoma County convention earlier in the month, there was some nervousness about a conflict in Tulsa between newcomers supporting Ron Paul and long-time conservative activists at our convention.

As it happened, the convention went very smoothly, starting with the final gathering of the rules committee before the gavel this morning. The rules committee, made up of supporters of a variety of presidential candidates, unanimously approved a couple of final tweaks to the rules. And although a SNAFU resulted in an earlier version being printed distributed to delegates, only one delegate, a Ron Paul supporter, got upset by the lack of an accurate printed copy, and the upset didn't last long. The platform dispute I mentioned didn't break along lines of presidential preference, but boiled down to an old-timer who has been trying for years to water down the platform and got farther this time than ever before.

The need to hear and resolve 30 credentials appeals delayed the start of official business by nearly an hour and a half. The appeals panel of five heard from people who tried to attend their caucus, but it wasn't held at the advertised time and place, people who were elected as county delegates but whose name was left off of the precinct's delegate list, and a couple of people who just registered to vote and thought they should be able to participate.

While waiting for the credentials committee to complete their work, we heard from Congressman John Sullivan on his energy-independence efforts, Corporation Commission chairman Dana Murphy and Commissioner Bob Anthony, Oklahoma's longest-serving statewide official, State Auditor and Inspector (and former GOP state chairman) Gary Jones, state chairman Matt Pinnell, Tulsa County Commission chairman John Smaligo, Insurance Commissioner John Doak, and State Senator Rick Brinkley, among others.

The oddest moment of the day: After concluding his speech and starting up the aisle away from the stage, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr stopped at my row, extended his hand to me for a handshake, waited for me to look up -- I was typing on my laptop and wasn't paying close attention -- and said, "Where'd you get all that gray hair? What happened?" I shook his hand and gave him a puzzled look in return. (I've had all this gray hair for about seven years. I don't dye it.)

But once started, things rolled quickly, with adjournment coming at 2:45 pm, more than an hour before the expected close of business. The reports of the credentials (who's qualified to vote in this convention), rules (how we conduct business in this convention), and delegates (who will we send to the next level of conventions) committees were adopted with near unanimity.

Four proposed changes to the state party rules were approved for recommendation by wide margins -- these will be brought before the state convention in May. The proposed rule changes would:

  • eliminate any gender quotas on members of state and district committees,
  • remove the right to seats at the county convention for precincts with no voters and for precincts that fail to hold caucuses by the state deadline,
  • require that only elected county convention delegates and elected officials can be delegates for their counties at the district and state conventions, and
  • require Republican candidates to declare their areas of disagreement with the state party platform.

In their pre-convention session, the rules committee adopted two last-minute changes. One of the changes was to allow candidates wishing to address the convention (including some candidates challenging incumbent Republicans) a few minutes to speak during the lunch break.

The other change simplified the process of determining who would go as Tulsa County's delegation to the state and congressional conventions, where national convention delegates are selected. If the county voted to send an "open" delegation to both higher-level conventions, those delegations would consist of every delegate elected by their precinct to the county convention, rather than requiring delegates to sign up. While it is theoretically possible that a thousand or so delegates would show up to share Tulsa County's 331 votes, the usual situation is that a fraction of the total will show up, particularly to the state convention. This approach to filling the delegate list broadens the possible pool of Tulsa County delegates, improving the likelihood that we'll be able to claim all of our votes. And, at my instigation, we made this form of open delegation the default, in the event that delays or disruptions prevented the convention from electing delegates before adjournment. (This topic deserves an entry of its own for a full explanation.)

County Chairman J. B. Alexander, Vice Chairman Mike McCutchin, convention chairman State Sen. Dan Newberry, convention parliamentarian former State Rep. John Wright, convention secretary Melinda Voss, and credentials committee chairman Ted Darr deserve much credit for the smooth convention. Following state rules strictly and developing and following strict guidelines to cover ambiguities in the state rules may be the difference between a peaceful convention and a contentious convention.

standupbanner.pngAmericans will rally in 140 cities across the nation at noon tomorrow, Friday, March 23, 2012, to protest the Obamacare HHS mandate requiring nearly all private health insurance plans to cover "all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs," overriding an employer's moral convictions.

Tulsa's rally will be held at LaFortune Park, 5801 S. Yale Ave. Speakers will include Tulsa constitutional attorney Leah Farish. In 2005, Farish received Marshall-Brennan Constitutional Law Project's Mary Beth Tinker Award for her successful defense of the right of a Muslim high school student in Muskogee to wear a headscarf at a public school.

Dozens of pro-life and religious liberty organizations have joined forces to organize this nationwide event, including the Pro-Life Action League, Concerned Women for America, and the Becket Fund for Religous Liberty.

Social liberals often complain that social conservatives want to use government power to impose their views on everyone else. As the Obamacare HHS mandate demonstrates, it's the other way around: Lefties want to use government to force everyone to conform to their moral judgments. We need to stand up for religious liberty if we want to preserve it.

Pipeline monument, Cushing OK
As President Obama visits Cushing, Oklahoma, tomorrow, conservative Oklahomans will gather tomorrow morning in Cushing to voice their support for a common-sense energy policy that allows exploration and development of America's energy resources.

The Obama administration has been blocking the development of the Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands of Canada to Oklahoma and the development of oil reserves under the Gulf of Mexico and on Federal lands in Alaska. As a candidate, he announced that under his energy plan, electricity prices would necessarily skyrocket.

This morning on TV, CNN prominently displayed the headline "Obama to fast-track Keystone XL pipeline." In fact, Obama's denial of the necessary permit to build the pipeline from Canada to the US still stands. TransCanada decided to go ahead with the pipeline from Cushing to the Gulf (which doesn't require the President's permission), and now it appears that the president wants to stage a photo op to take credit for that.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner balked at the idea that President Obama could claim credit for speeding up the approval process of the southern segment of the pipeline. "This is like a governor personally issuing a fishing license," Brendan Buck said. "There is only a minor, routine permit needed for this leg of the project. Only a desperate administration would inject the President of the United States into this trivial matter. The President's attempt to take credit for a pipeline he blocked and personally lobbied Congress against is staggering in its dis-ingenuousness. This portion of the pipeline is being built in spite of the President, not because of him."

Here is the email blast from Americans for Prosperity about Obama's visit to Oklahoma and tomorrow's rally:

It's not enough that President Obama refused to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, denying thousands of jobs and lower gas prices at the pump. Now he's coming to Cushing, Oklahoma to grandstand credit for a private sector energy success - and he hopes you aren't paying attention.

Prove him wrong.

Join Americans for Prosperity tomorrow morning when President Obama visits Cushing.

Click here to register for our rally!

Let's show the President that we are paying attention and we aren't going to let him off the hook. AFP will show up with a simple message: stop playing politics with America's energy.

What:We Can't Wait Rally in Cushing
When:Thursday, March 22nd @ 8:30 a.m.
Where:  Fechner Pump and Supply, 1402 North Little Street in Cushing, OK
Who:You and your fellow Americans for Prosperity activists

Just a few weeks ago Obama said that oil is a "fuel of the past." Now he's talking out of the other side of his mouth and thinks no one will call him on it.

Economists have found that the Keystone XL pipeline that Obama is halting could create over 100,000 jobs, increase refining capacity by 700,000 barrels, lower prices at the pump, and bring millions in tax revenues to Oklahoma and the surrounding region.

America needs commonsense energy policy - not political grandstanding.

Help AFP call out the President and demand real energy solutions.

Photo credit: Pipeline monument, Cushing OK by roy.luck, on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license


Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin didn't cancel her spring break vacation plans to rush back to welcome Pres. Obama to the state, and some are complaining that she's being disrespectful and even racist by not doing so. I used Storify to capture a Twitter conversation between myself, Jennifer James, Steve Lackmeyer of the Oklahoman, Joe Fairbanks, with a few others.

Gov. Fallin issued a statement about the president's visit:

"I am pleased that President Obama is able to make his first visit to the great state of Oklahoma this week and to personally see the good work going on in Cushing. The TransCanada pipeline to be built there will connect Oklahoma to oil markets on the Gulf Coast, resulting in the creation of more than 1,000 Oklahoma jobs. This project will help to bolster our energy industry and security for years to come.

"I am glad the president supports the construction of the pipeline connecting Cushing to the Gulf. Impeding the progress of something which is so obviously beneficial to both the economy and the energy security of the United States would have been nothing short of irresponsible.

"Unfortunately, President Obama and his administration are practicing exactly this kind of obstructionism on the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried oil from the Canadian oil sands and several U.S. markets to Cushing. As a result, the United States must go without the hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment that would have otherwise been available to stimulate our economy. Just as importantly, the administration's decision undermines U.S. energy security and alienates our closest trading partner, Canada.

"I hope that while President Obama is in Oklahoma he takes some time to listen to our citizens, many of whom work for the energy industry which he claims to support. I think they will tell him that - far from supporting the responsible domestic production of American-made energy - his administration has undermined it at every turn. Rather than embracing the truly remarkable technological breakthroughs that have resulted in the discovery of an additional 100-year supply of natural gas, the president and the EPA continue their hostility to basic and time-tested practices like hydraulic fracturing. The president and his party in Washington continue to support an aggressively anti-energy agenda that will severely hamper the American economy and put the United States at a competitive disadvantage to the rest of the world.

"In Oklahoma, we recognize that the energy industry is an important ally in job creation and economic development. We believe that American energy is a resource, not a hazardous waste. My great hope is that some of that attitude will rub off on our president, who has lost his way on energy policy and so many other issues."

MORE: U. S. Rep. John Sullivan talks about the Keystone XL pipeline and Obama's visit on Fox and Friends this morning. Sullivan calls Obama's about-face on part of the pipeline a "con job," comparing it to Al Gore taking credit for inventing the internet. Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy notes that the absence of the northern part of the pipeline would require oil from the Canadian tar sands to be shipped by other means, such as the Warren Buffett / Berkshire Hathaway-owned BNSF railroad.

afpok.jpgThe Oklahoma chapter of Americans for Prosperity has posted its list of key bills for the Oklahoma legislature's 2012 session. Groups like AfP use their announced key bills as the basis for rankings of state representatives and state senators. Each bill has information on the sponsor, the purpose of the bill, AfP's support or opposition and their rationale, and the current status of the bill.

AfP opposes requiring out-of-state companies with subsidiaries or affilates in Oklahoma to collect Oklahoma sales tax, supports the various bills to phase out the state income tax, supports elimination of transferable tax credits, supports the establishment of statewide virtual charter schools, supports steps to make state employee pension funds solvent and to prevent fiscally irresponsible changes to pensions, supports workers' compensation reform, opposes creation of the Oklahoma Healthcare Exchange, and supports applying spill-over money from the rainy day fund to reduce Oklahoma's unfunded liabilities. See the AfP website for specific bill numbers and detailed rationale for support or opposition.

just-a-minute-cd.jpgFans of quick-witted British comedy and verbal virtuosity will enjoy a BBC Radio 4 Extra special about the long-running radio panel show Just a Minute.

Just a Minute involves four players and a chairman. The chairman gives a subject to one of the players, who is to speak on the subject topic for 60 seconds without repetition, hesitation, or deviation. If the speaker falters, any other player can buzz in with a challenge. If the challenge is upheld, the challenger takes over the subject for any time remaining. Whoever is speaking when the whistle blows after 60 seconds wins the round. Points are awarded for successful challenges, overruled challenges, winning a round and sometimes just on the chairman's whim. The rules of the game put a premium on thinking on your feet and a rich vocabulary.

Half the fun is the banter that takes place while the clock is stopped for a challenge. (For example, I'm listening to a show from June 2, 1982, in which the topic of bathing a baby has turned into a debate over proper technique for supporting an infant.) For most of the first two decades, the show featured three regular panelists, author and politician Clement Freud, comedic actors Kenneth Williams and Derek Nimmo, and a guest, usually female, in the fourth chair, with actor Peter Jones (who played the Book in the original radio version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) as a frequent substitute. Comedian Paul Merton has been a regular panelist since 1989. Nicholas Parsons has served as chairman since the show's inception in 1967.

There is renewed interest the radio show as Just a Minute returns to BBC television later this month and the CDs of classic episodes have been re-released.

You can listen online to the three-hour BBC Radio 4 Extra special "Just a Minute: Without Hesitation," featuring highlights of the game's four-and-a-half decades, through midday (Tulsa time) March 24, 2012. BBC Radio 4 Extra runs a new episode most weeks, which you can find here.


Just a Minute fan website with episode guides, cast lists, and streaming episodes.

The origins of Just a Minute

Let's call it Wills Park


Bob Wills with his brothers and father

The Wills boys, from left to right, youngest to oldest: Brothers Billy Jack Wills, Luther J. "Luke" Wills, Johnnie Lee Wills, and Bob Wills, and their father John Tompkins "Uncle John" Wills. From

The George Kaiser Family Foundation is looking for public input on the name of the park GKFF is building on Brady Street in downtown Tulsa:

As Downtown Tulsa continues to blossom into a center of creativity and an economic hub benefiting the greater community, it soon will be a destination for those wanting to spend time in an outdoor setting at the park located on Brady and Cincinnati.

We are looking for input regarding the name of this new park in the Brady District. The name should commemorate a person with Tulsa roots, who has an enduring legacy through their contributions to the community in the areas of arts, music, culture or education; or, in the alternative, should simply reflect Tulsa's history in these areas.

Learn more about the park in the Brady District on our website -- and submit your ideas for names to

My idea, which I've already passed along to the folks at GKFF, is to name the park in honor of Bob Wills and Johnnie Lee Wills, two brothers who together ruled the Tulsa music scene for a quarter-century and built a musical legacy that has spread their fame around the world. They amply fulfill GKFF's criteria.

Name it Wills Park, then name individual park features and facilities to honor Bob Wills, Johnnie Lee Wills, and key Wills sidemen like guitar pioneer and arranger Eldon Shamblin and steel guitar legend and Tulsa bandleader Leon McAuliffe. (Maybe we could even find a spot to acknowledge Junior Barnard, the proto-rock guitarist from Coweta who played for Johnnie Lee, Bob, and Luke Wills.)

Bob Wills brought together ragtime, blues, swing, and traditional frontier fiddle music and turned it into something new, something that would eventually be known as western swing. Bob Wills was also a pioneer with regard to amplified stringed instruments -- Leo Fender was a western swing fan -- and using them to carry the melody, in place of horns an important evolutionary step on the path to rock 'n' roll. It's why Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys were inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 as an Early Influencer.

Chased out of Texas by a vengeful ex-boss who pulled advertising from any radio station that dared to put him on the air, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys found a home at KVOO in Tulsa when station manager Bill Way refused to knuckle under to Pappy O'Daniel's threats. Wills settled in at Cain's Ballroom, home base for daily broadcasts and twice-weekly dances.

Tulsa became Bob Wills's hometown. He bought a ranch in Osage County north of town -- near the present-day Million Dollar Elm Casino on 36th Street North -- and brought his extended family from Texas to Tulsa to live there with him. He held fiddle contests and founded a rodeo. The band played dances six nights a week all over Oklahoma and surrounding states and often spent Sunday playing for the funeral of a Texas Playboys fan somewhere within driving distance of Tulsa.

GKFF has already honored Woody Guthrie by acquiring his library and establishing a center about his career. It would be even more fitting for GKFF to acknowledge these musicians with a much stronger and longer connection to Tulsa. While Guthrie was in New York singing and raising awareness of the common man's burden, Bob Wills was here in Tulsa playing music to lift the common man's burden for a little while each day.

Bob married a Tulsa girl -- well, a few Tulsa girls, but the last and longest marriage was to a Tulsa girl named Betty Anderson. Bob dreamed of making Tulsa his home for the rest of his life, surrounded by his family and his Texas Playboys, but World War II changed all that. California, then Texas, became home base for a while, but he came back to Tulsa often to see family and to perform at Cain's. He came back in the late '50s to reunite with brother Johnnie Lee in Tulsa for a few years. After his death, he was remembered in a service at Tulsa's Eastwood Baptist Church and laid to rest at Memorial Park Cemetery.

Johnnie Lee Wills, next oldest of "Uncle John" Wills's four sons, launched his own band to help cover the high demand for western swing music in the Tulsa area. When brother Bob left for a brief stint in the Army, Johnnie Lee Wills kept things going at Cain's and on KVOO. After his service ended, rather than take the spotlight back from his brother, Bob headed out to California. Johnnie Lee Wills and All His Boys continued the daily radio program, the weekly dances at Cain's, and the dance hall circuit through the end of the 1950s, rejoined by Bob for the last few years.

But Johnnie Lee did more than carry on. He was an innovator and a great bandleader in his own right, and he had hit songs of his own, two of which -- Milk Cow Blues (1941) and Rag Mop (1949) -- have been suggested as candidates for the first rock 'n' roll song.

Johnnie Lee Wills carried on with the annual rodeo -- the Johnnie Lee Wills Stampede -- and opened a western wear store on the south side of 21st Street just east of Memorial. Tulsa remained his home for the rest of his life.

The musicians who defined the "Tulsa Sound" in the '60s and '70s grew up listening to Bob and Johnnie Lee, and I know of at least one -- Rocky Frisco -- who actually performed a few times with Johnnie Lee at Cain's Ballroom.

(I don't want to leave the rest of the Wills boys unacknowledged. Luke Wills and Billy Jack Wills each had great bands based in California. Billy Jack returned to Oklahoma; he's buried beside Bob at Memorial Park. Luke settled in Las Vegas, but many of us remember him performing at Texas Playboys reunion concerts in the '80s and '90s. Their father, Uncle John Wills, played his fiddle at ranch dances all over Hall County, Texas, and had his own band for a time after the family moved to Tulsa.)

There is already an effort underway, spearheaded by artist Lee Roy Chapman, to rename the district north of the Frisco tracks as the Bob Wills District. Its current name, Brady Arts District, is taken (indirectly, via Brady Street) from Tulsa founder Tate Brady, who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan and a supporter of vigilante violence. Brady's history notwithstanding, it makes more sense to name an arts district to honor an internationally famous man whose music put Tulsa on the map.

Whether the name Bob Wills District ever catches on, there still ought to be some public space named in his and his brother Johnnie's honor. This new park, just a couple of blocks from Cain's Ballroom, would do nicely.

Western swing music has an international fan base, and every country in Europe seems to have a few western swing bands who play the music of Bob and Johnnie Lee Wills. (See previous entries in the western swing category for a few examples.) Tulsa should have a public place where visiting fans can connect with their musical legacy. To some extent Cain's Ballroom fulfills that role, but Cain's is a working music venue and can't be a full-time tourist attraction. Having a public, always-open space nearby to honor the Wills boys would complement Cain's irreplaceable spot in the heart of western swing fans from around the world. In that regard, it's crucial to have a name that will turn up in web searches.

Bob Wills Stage at Wills Park would be a great venue, along with Cain's, for the International Festival of Western Swing that Tulsa should have every year.

If you agree with me that Wills Park is the perfect name for the new park in downtown Tulsa's arts district (or even if you don't), sit right down and drop a line to the folks at GKFF -- -- and let them know what you think.

The Oklahoma Legislature is considering a constitutional amendment that would give the State Auditor and Inspector the power to initiate and conduct performance audits of state agencies. If approved by the legislature, the amendment will come before voters for final approval in November. It's a good idea, and legislators should send it to Oklahoma voters. If you agree, you need to contact your legislator today -- action is required by Thursday to keep the proposal alive.

While regular audits evaluate compliance with existing procedures, rules, and laws, performance audits look at whether an agency's processes are effective and efficient.

The legislation is authored by government modernization guru State Rep. Jason Murphey (R-Guthrie), who calls the legislation "one of the most important components of this year's House government modernization effort." (Murphey's work on behalf of online and open government is highlighted in my Government 2.0 story in the current issue of This Land.)

It is important for the proposal to be approved as a constitutional amendment to ensure the performance audits remain free from political interference (legislators can not amend the Constitution). Thorough performance audits may make many politicians very uncomfortable as they will tend to shine the light of day on the failure of state government to perform efficiently. I also suspect they will reveal a large number of state government processes that are highly vulnerable to corruption.

Currently, the Auditor can conduct these audits at the request of the Governor, the Legislature, or the head of an agency. As you might image, it is highly unlikely agency officials from a poorly performing agency would ever request the Auditor to audit their agency.

Murphey says that, not only would the audits directly identify waste and inefficiencies, saving taxpayers much more than the cost of the audits, but they would generate indirect savings by inspiring agency heads to make improvements in advance of an audit.


Performance audits would help Kazakhstan government, too.

The proposal also provides for a dedicated funding mechanism, which also works to ensure the auditor's independence from the good will of agencies and officials he seeks to audit. No one can threaten to withhold his funding.

As you might imagine, there is resistance, and it's coming from those with the most immediate and direct access to legislators' ears.

Duncan blogger and columnist Steve Fair notes:

Giving Jones the authority and the money to do performance audits is not without some opposition. Critics of HJR1075 correctly point out the proposal would expand the powers of the State Auditor's office. While that is true, isn't identifying and eliminating government waste what most taxpayers want from their elected officials, especially the State Auditor?

Fair predicts the amendment would pass by a 3 to 1 margin at the ballot box. "Taxpayers, regardless of party affiliation, want to know how their tax money is being spent." Fair writes:

What could possibly be a valid reason for a state legislator to oppose HJR1075? That is a good question and one I would urge you to ask your legislator. Passage of HJR1075 simply lets the voters decide the issue of accountability in government expenditures. If it is such a bad idea, then it should be soundly defeated. Legislators should not be trying to protect ourselves from ourselves. They should let the process play out in the arena of public ideas. Oklahoma voters get it right an overwhelming majority of the time.

Visit Oklahoma's "Find My Legislator" page to find out who represents you and how to get in touch on this issue.

Duane Lester, the All-American Blogger, links to an article in Der Spiegel about a photographer, Stefan Koppelkamm, who toured former East Germany in 1990 and 1991, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and returned a dozen years later, re-photographing the buildings he captured twenty years ago. These buildings had survived World War II and more than 40 years of Communist urban renewal, and they looked as if nothing had been done to repair or renovate them since the war. The photo gallery is stunning. Within 10 years after the end of Communist rule and reunification of the West, private owners had turned ruins into beautifully restored, useful buildings.



Duane Lester is right to say that these photos "tell an economic story leftists either can't comprehend or simply refuse to believe." 45 years of Communism did little to restore East Germany's cities. The economic incentives weren't there: Rent control kept a building owner's income too low to fund renovations. From Der Spiegel's story:

Neither housing associations nor private owners had the money to renovate the older buildings. From the end of the war onwards the government had fixed rents in the GDR and in practical terms they remained constant -- at between 0.40 and 1.20 East German Marks per square meter. On average the estimated cost of restoring an old building in East Berlin was 75,000 Marks, the equivalent of 80 years' rent for a GDR citizen. Many owners preferred to pass their dilapidated buildings onto the state to avoid the cost of the repairs. But the state wasn't in a position to save the buildings either.

Within 10 years, private capitalists had done what a Communist government couldn't do in over 40 years.

The photographer lamented that the renovations had spoiled many of the buildings. For example, a massive former stables in Zittau with exposed exterior masonry had been renovated, including plastering and painting the exterior. Perhaps the result was less romantic than a dilapidated building, but it's surely closer to the original condition of the building when it was being carefully maintained. In Germany, they plaster over brick and stone and whitewash or paint it.

It gave me a sense of hope that came to mind again as I took a walk downtown last night. and looked up to see the Tulsa Club at 5th and Cincinnati, a lovely Art Deco building, but long-abandoned with broken windows, tattooed with graffiti and smoke. I thought of the old Temple Israel synagogue building at 14th and Cheyenne, just a burned out shell. If these dilapidated East German buildings could be restored and returned to profitable use, surely Tulsa's abandoned historic buildings can be restored, too.

FearAnIarthair.JPGI want to call your attention to an excellent essay on the excellent blog Fear an Iarthair (that's Irish for "Man of the West"), entitled "What is conservatism?"

This brief essay will not take you long to read -- five minutes or so -- but it is one you will want to re-read and ponder, possibly even memorize certain passages. The author says that it is "not quite done," the beginnings of a work in progress on the differences between conservatism and libertarianism, but it seems fully baked to me.

Some quotes to entice you to read the whole thing:

In the end, though, Conservatism is less a laundry-list of political points than an approach to life and to governance that presupposes certain truths, certain ideas....

Conservatism, you might say, is the practice, perhaps the reflexive practice, of prudence, the prudential working-out of some basic ideas about the Divine and Man....

Conservatives might differ on exactly what the role of government should be or what the rewards and perks of governing should be, but they never really doubt that government is a necessary, normal, inevitable, and even Divinely ordained facet of human existence....

If, then, Conservatives are generally people who believe in the Divine and divinely-ordained concepts of right and wrong, they necessarily believe, necessarily presuppose, that Man has certain inherent rights. They also think that if government is part of the Divine Order, then it must have a purpose and it must, too, have bounds....

Government is Divinely ordained, but so are limits to government's role in human life (and this is explained at great length in Lex, Rex). The Conservative abhors lawlessness, but despises tyranny, at the same time acknowledging that human nature being what it is and human limits being what they are, the perfect balance between too little and too much government will not be achieved in this world....

The Conservative approaches the prospect of changing long-established practice and custom, not with hubris, but with humility and respect. This does not mean that the Conservative reflexively opposes all change; he knows that a society must be capable of prudent changes to survive and thrive. Nevertheless, change must be thoughtful and prudent, not hasty, not emotional, not sweeping aside the whole of existing society. The Conservative knows, deep in his bones, that it is all too possible for the cure to be worse than the disease and it is probably better to put up with some small, bearable grievances than to risk catastrophe for the sake of quickly implementing wholesale change, the consequences of which are very hard, if not impossible, to foresee and manage....

The essayist notes that much of what he says in this essay is found in succinct form in the Declaration of Independence.

The essay offers links to more food for thought: Edmund Burke's writings on the American and French Revolutions, Samuel Rutherford's Lex Rex, and Russell Kirk's list of ten conservative principles.

His "about" page is worth reading, too, for its thoughts on Western Civilization, education, leadership, martial arts, and barbecue.

ricksantorumlogo.jpgAlthough the Oklahoma primary is behind us, Oklahomans who support Rick Santorum can still make a difference, through the miracle of modern technology. The Santorum HQ at 6969 E. 71st St. in Tulsa will be open for volunteers to make calls to voters in Tuesday's primary states. Alabama and Mississippi are both considered too close to call, with a danger that conservative votes split between Santorum and Gingrich would allow Romney to finish first. For more information on helping call from Tulsa, phone 918-928-7776.

You can also make phone calls from home into primary states via

Here is a spreadsheet with the results by congressional district, as reported on the Oklahoma State Election Board election night results website. I've combined the results into a workbook with two tabs, one for Republicans, one for Democrats.

Final Republian delegate tally appears to be Santorum 14, Romney 13, Gingrich 13. In the Democrat primary, the delegate result is Barack Obama 35, Randall Terry 7, Jim Rogers 3.

Turnout was way off from 2008 in both primaries. This wasn't unexpected in the Democrat primary with an incumbent president on the ballot, but Republican turnout dropped from 335,054 in 2008 to 286,523 in 2012 -- about a 15% drop in a more exciting primary. Perhaps it was the barrage of negative ads, mainly from Romney and Paul attacking Santorum, and from Gingrich attacking Romney. (I never saw a Santorum ad in Oklahoma.)

Originally published March 5, 2012. Bumped to the top on March 9.

The presidential election is at the forefront for anyone who pays attention to politics, but what happens with state and local elections has as much of an impact on your daily life as the current Occupier of the White House. Filing for this fall's elections in Oklahoma is only about one month away.

One week after the presidential primary, American Majority will hold a candidate training seminar at Reasor's in Jenks, Tuesday evening, March 13, 2012, from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm.

Details and registration info after the jump.

MEND marks 25 years

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mend_logo.gifEarlier this evening, I attended the annual fundraising banquet for MEND Medical Clinic and Pregnancy Resource Center. MEND was founded in 1987 to provide pregnant women in crisis pregnancies in the Tulsa area with the resources they need to say "yes" to the new life growing within.

In 2011, MEND worked with over 1,500 clients, and provided tens of thousands of diapers, infant and maternity clothes, baby food and formula. MEND's clinic conducted 278 ultrasounds, and of 226 pregnancies confirmed through ultrasounds, 204 clients chose life. MEND accomplishes much with a small staff and a small budget. They are happy to receive gently used maternity and baby clothing and equipment, but their greatest needs are for volunteers and financial support, so that they can expand the number of women they can help.

According to their website, MEND can help with limited ultra sound, limited STD testing, confidential counseling, childbirth and parenting classes, adoption referrals, medical, legal, and housing referrals, maternity and baby clothes, baby furniture, diapers, formula, and baby food, abortion information and education, and support groups.

The MEND wish list includes $3,400 to buy a new outdoor sign for the facility, $1,300 to cover the cost of pregnancy tests, $750 / month to rent a billboard to advertise MEND to women in need of help. It also includes 30 committed volunteers: Spanish speakers, client mentors, client advocates, and clerical and computer help in the office.

Contrary to the caricatures of the pro-abortion industry, pregnancy resource centers are there to help women for the long haul, providing support and encouragement through pregnancy and after the baby is born. At the same time, they offer help and support to those hurting from abortions in their past.

There was a special acknowledgment of recently retired cofounder and director Nancy Roe, who spoke about the founding of MEND, how it was inspired in part by Bernard Nathanson's film "Silent Scream" and her own experience helping a young woman in a crisis pregnancy and the sense that God was calling her to respond with action.

Nancy Roe's successor as executive director is Forrest Cowan. He noted the incongruity of being a man in an organization with an overwhelmingly female staff, but the situation has already brought opportunities for him to talk with the young men who sometimes come along with women to the clinic. Many times what makes a pregnancy a crisis is the absence of a man to support and care for the mother and the baby. While it isn't MEND's core mission to address the deficit of male leadership, commitment, and responsibility, that deficit is one of the reasons a place like MEND is needed.

A highlight of the evening was a live pre-natal ultrasound. MEND Medical Director Dr. Matthew Stevens and his assistant were in a partitioned room with the mom-to-be, while the images were shown on big screens at the front of the room. It brought back happy memories of seeing the ultrasounds of our three children to see this little one wiggle and kick, and to see and hear its tiny heart beating.

I was pleased to see State Rep. Pam Peterson, who served on the MEND board prior to her election to the legislature and who has authored many pro-life bills, including the heartbeat bill in the current session; State Sen. Brian Crain, who is the lead sponsor for the personhood bill; and Rogers County Republican vice chairman Jason Carini, who is a candidate for State House District 23, a seat that is open because Rep. Sue Tibbs is term-limited. The political aspect of the pro-life cause is important, but these politicians understand the vital needs filled by an organization like MEND, which is there to provide direct assistance to women in crisis.

It was also encouraging to read the names of companies in the list of donors: Apache Corp., Thermal Windows, Warren Clinic/St. Francis Health System, Dixie Moseley Interiors, KCFO, Improving Lives Counseling Services, Coreslab Structures, Helmerich & Payne, Paradigm Construction & Engineering, Smith/Latta, Trinity Chemical., Glenpool Flowers, Heart's Desire Baskets and Gayle Falconer, and Jim Weems, Doug & Norma Latta, musician Faith Kelley, and graphic designer Anna Rose were acknowledged with special thanks for their in-kind contributions to the fundraiser.

Eight churches were on the list of donors, demonstrating their commitment to the sanctity of human life: Christ Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church of Tulsa, Grace Lutheran, Kirk of the Hills, Northside Christian Church, Trinity Lutheran, Tulsa Christian Fellowship, Victory Christian Center.

If you believe in the sanctity of human life, I urge you not only to vote your values on election day, but also to get involved with MEND. Give -- you can sign up online for a one-time contribution or a recurring contribution. Encourage your church to support MEND as part of reaching the local "mission field." Volunteer to be a mentor. Pray for the women who come to MEND, for women who in crisis pregnancies who are looking for support but have yet to find a place like MEND, and for the staff and volunteers who work with them.

MEND Medical Clinic / Pregnancy Resource Center is located at 6216 S. Lewis, Suite 100, Tulsa, OK 74136, 918-745-6000.

First Love, a local band featuring the singing and songwriting talents of Camille and Haley Harris, wrote a fight song for the Rick Santorum campaign. The song "Game On!" came together in the wee hours of this past Sunday night / Monday morning, after they heard Rick Santorum speak and met him at Grace Church in Broken Arrow on Sunday evening. It's a catchy song, and the girls have great pop voices with a bit of a folk edge.

The song has received some national attention, earning a thanks from Rick Santorum on his campaign blog:

What a great anthem for our campaign -- I haven't been able to get the song out of my head! I feel so blessed to have such ardent supporters of our vision for America's future, and am grateful to the entire Harris family for their continued faith in our campaign.

The song has been mentioned by bloggers for Time, The Hill, the Houston Chronicle, Buzzfeed.

I met the Harris girls and their parents Tuesday night at the Santorum watch party. They were being interviewed on an online radio talk show as I sat nearby uploading the latest results by congressional district to the Santorum national campaign team. I thought I remembered seeing another video by First Love, a western swing song.

Sure enough, Haley and Camille sang "Blue Bonnet Lane" (one of my favorite Bob Wills tunes) with the Tulsa Playboys back in January:

S3016667Undeterred by Andrew Breitbart's untimely death last week, his team at is carrying out their founder and namesake's vision with a relaunch of his websites and the first salvos in a serial exposé of Barack Obama's radical past, publishing materials that were withheld from the public in 2008, stories that the mainstream media chose not to pursue. The initial salvo includes a fulsome introduction of radical racialist Prof. Derrick Bell, video that Obama's law school mentor, Charles Ogletree, says was deliberately kept hidden in 2008.

The last piece written by Breitbart introduces the series with Obama's participation in a panel discussion following a play called "The Love Song of Saul Alinsky." The intro to Breitbart's last article explains the vision:

Prior to his passing, Andrew Breitbart said that the mission of the Breitbart empire was to exemplify the free and fearless press that our Constitution protects--but which, increasingly, the mainstream media denies us.

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" - "Who guards the guardians?" Andrew saw himself in that role--as a guardian protecting Americans from the left's "objective" loyal scribes.

Andrew wanted to do what the mainstream media would not. First and foremost: Andrew pledged to vet President Barack H. Obama.

Andrew did not want to re-litigate the 2008 election. Nor did he want to let Republicans off the hook. Instead, he wanted to show that the media had failed in its most basic duty: to uncover the truth, and hold those in power accountable, regardless of party.

From today through Election Day, November 6, 2012, we will vet this president--and his rivals.

We begin with a column Andrew wrote last week in preparation for today's Big relaunch--a story that should swing the first hammer against the glass wall the mainstream media has built around Barack Obama.

twitchylogo.pngMeanwhile, conservative columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin has launched a new content aggregation service called Twitchy. The site employs a number of self-described "social media junkies" who mine Twitter 24/7 for stories of interest in U. S. politics, global news, sports, entertainment, and media. Several of the sites editors and contributors are bloggers I've had the privilege of meeting in recent years, including Jimmie Bise, Jr., who blogs at Sundries Shack, and Sarah Desprat.

I find that when I go to Twitter's site, I often see echoes of an important story, reactions to a big news item. Finding the actual story requires going back quite a ways in the timeline, something that new-new-new Twitter has made increasingly hard to do. And of course, any story more than a few days old is almost impossible to find on Twitter.

Twitchy fixes that. Twitchy provides an easily scanned arrangement of top stories on Twitter and elsewhere on the web. Click on a story box, and you'll get to a collection of tweets or a news story excerpt, with links for further reading and a place to leave comments. Twitchy items have a permanent link, so you can blog about them and link them and post them on Facebook and Twitter.

Best wishes and bona fortuna to the Breitbart empire and Michelle Malkin and company on their new ventures.

In recent years, a local foundation has purchased two significant properties along the east side of Tulsa's Riverside Drive: The Blair Mansion and grounds, just north of the Midland Valley trail, and two apartment complexes just south of 31st Street on either side of Crow Creek -- Sundance and Legacy (known for many years as Place One).


The Blair Mansion is a Tulsa landmark, its expansive lawn stretching along a quarter-mile of Riverside Drive. It was built as a replica of Beauvoir, Jefferson Davis's house in Biloxi, Mississippi. Tens of thousands of Tulsans pass it daily, heading to and from work.

Not as visible from the road, to the south of the house, there's a wooded area that comprises a third of the site. Back in October, my family was there for a special event with our homeschool group.

Place One apartments was my first (and last) home on my own. I liked living within walking distance of River Parks and Brookside.

Together, the two sites could create a stronger connection between the river, the residential neighborhoods to the east and north, and the Brookside commercial district.


The foundation's desire is to turn these properties into public spaces that the entire community can enjoy and to do so in a way that respects the history and ecology of the sites and connects well with the surrounding neighborhoods and parks. A website called A Gathering Place for Tulsa explains the foundation's aims for the sites.

  • Create a public gathering space that is a recreational, civic and cultural destination for Tulsans from all walks of life to enjoy.
  • Incorporate the community's input regarding creative concepts and park activities for the property.
  • Enhance the River Parks system while preserving the area's natural ambience and integrate the new space into the greater River Parks area.

After an extensive selection process, the foundation hired Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, a landscape architectural firm with extensive experience in turning urban properties into public spaces, dealing creatively with physical and regulatory barriers to create places where people feel at ease.

I've been impressed by what I've read about MVVA's work. In the forward to MVVA's portfolio, Paul Goldberger wrote:

You couldn't imagine Van Valkenburgh designing a plaza solely to set off a modernist building....

No Van Valkenburgh design begins with a clean slate. Every one of them starts iwth a series of givens: the natural history of a site, the built history of a site, the surrounding urban context.


The foundation is not seeking any taxpayer funding, but it is seeking public input. Last night, and again tonight, March 7, 2012, the foundation is holding a public meeting to talk about their plans and to find out what Tulsans want to see in these places.

What: A Gathering Place for Tulsa, public input session
When: Tonight, March 7, 2012, 6 p.m.
Where: TCC Center for Creativity, northwest of 10th and Boston downtown


Two things I'd like to see: Some sort of kiddie park -- a carousel, train, and other gentle amusement rides aimed at younger children, like the one they have in Bartlesville -- and a monument to Betsy Horowitz. The persistence of Betsy and her Maple Ridge neighbors blocked the Riverside Expressway; had it gone through as planned, the beauty of these areas would be greatly diminished.

For what it's worth, the local foundation is the George Kaiser Family Foundation. While I have had and no doubt will have disagreements with their initiatives, their acquisition and preservation of these sites is a good thing, and I like the approach that they are taking so far.

IVoted.jpgTimestamp set to keep this post at the top until the polls close at 7 p.m.

It's presidential primary election day in Oklahoma, with polls open across the state from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Both parties have a primary today. Click here to see the full list of candidates. Republicans have a choice of seven candidates: Santorum, Gingrich, Romney, Paul, Bachmann, Huntsman, and Perry. Democrats have five options, including President Obama, anti-abortion activist Randall Terry, and Midwest City resident Jim Rogers, who was the 2010 Democratic nominee for U. S. Senate.

Click "Continue reading" for details on today's municipal elections, how to find your polling place, showing ID at the polls, how delegates will be bound, and where to find up-to-the-minute election results.

ricksantorumlogo.jpgI had decided some time ago that when Oklahoma's turn to vote came around, I would cast my vote as necessary to block Mitt Romney's progress toward the Republican nomination. Whoever was ahead of Romney in the polls or the closest to beating him would get my vote.

(Dan McLaughlin, aka Baseball Crank, in his recent entry "Mitt Romney, the Unconvincing Convert," details four of the problems with Romney -- "the unconvincing nature of his political conversion, the hazards of becoming enamored with candidates whose primary rationale for running is their money, the unprecedented difficulty of winning with a moderate Republican who lacks significant national security credentials as a war hero or other prominent foreign policy figure, and Romney's vulnerability arising from his dependence on his biography" -- and at that blog entry, you'll find links to McLaughlin's 2007 series on Romney's electoral liabilities.)

But as the presidential field narrowed and the Oklahoma primary approached, I've come to the conclusion that the last remaining conservative alternative, Rick Santorum, is not merely the best tactical vote, but the candidate closest to my views on economic, social, and defense and foreign policy issues and the best candidate to fight and win the general election against the incumbent.

On economics, Rick Santorum supports bold entitlement reform and immediate action to address the climbing national debt, not kicking the can down the road for another decade as some have proposed. He rightly identifies the importance of manufacturing to economic recovery, particularly for the middle class, and his corporate tax plan, combined with regulatory reform, would make it easier for manufacturers to bring jobs back to the US. His personal income tax plan is a significant simplification over the current complicated tax code -- two brackets, five deductions -- but it has the advantage of being politically plausible. It's not the sort of shocking departure that would be easy to demagogue. It retains the deductions that most taxpayers use and expect.

As a senator, Rick Santorum was a leader on the issue of welfare reform, understanding the moral and economic imperative of helping Americans by helping them move from dependency into self-sufficiency.

Energy is a major focus of Santorum's speeches. He sees the controversy over hydraulic fracturing, a practice that dates back to World War II, as nothing more than the Green Left's latest fundraising gimmick, now that manmade global warming has run out of gas. Santorum rightly identifies the political agenda behind the Obama administration's restrictions on energy exploration, production, and transportation. To Obama and his allies, higher prices are a feature of the Obama energy policy, not a bug.

On foreign policy, Santorum understands the essence of the threat faced by western civilization and is willing to give it its proper name. Santorum says the "Global War on Terror" is a misnomer. Terror isn't an enemy; it's a tactic used by the enemy, which he correctly identifies as radical Islamism. A President Santorum will not bow to foreign potentates.

When asked by an ORU student to contrast his foreign policy with that of Ron Paul, Santorum said, "I believe in peace through strength; he believes... well, maybe I'll just say, he doesn't. I believe that America is the source of stability in the world.... If we do what Congressman Paul has suggested.... there are forces in the world that would replace us, that would not have our best interests in mind. There wouldn't be a vacuum." He noted that radical Islamists, China, and Russia are poised to move in in response to American disengagement from the world.


The media has made Santorum out to be the social issues candidate, but social issues haven't been the focus of his campaign materials or his speeches. His thoughts on social issues line up perfectly with the majority of Oklahomans, and while other candidates (including President Obama) pay lip service to these issues but shrink back apologetically when challenged by the liberal media, Rick Santorum patiently defends his views, which are grounded in first principles. Santorum was a leader in the fight against the barbaric practice of partial birth abortion and in the effort, inspired by the plight of Terri Schindler Schiavo, to protect the incapacitated from being starved and dehydrated to death.

Yes, Rick Santorum has made some disappointing compromises during his 16 years in Congress. But so have the Oklahoma politicians who have endorsed Romney, a man whose entire political career has been about morphing his political positions for political expediency.

(When a planet wobbles from its predicted orbit, astronomers know to look for a hidden force pulling on the planet. It's how we discovered Neptune and Pluto.)

Some Republicans are laundry-list conservatives -- they can check all the right boxes on the candidate survey, but they miss the heart of the matter. As I wrote about the 2010 governor's race:

In my years of involvement in conservative and Republican politics, I've noticed that there are those politicians who profess support for the laundry list of conservative positions on the current list of hot issues and then there are those who understand the issues of the day in terms of the bigger picture -- a coherent philosophy of government, society, and human nature and a view of the long-term consequences of today's decisions. Elected officials in the latter group seem less likely to be led astray; when a new issue comes along, they have a philosophical compass to guide their decisions, while members of the former group are susceptible to lobbyist suasion.

I'd rather have a laundry-list conservative in office than the left-wing equivalent, but I'd much rather have a leader who sees today's issues in terms of our future liberty and prosperity, guided by a coherent conservative philosophy.

Rick Santorum is that kind of leader. It shows in his personal life and in the politically costly stands he has taken, common-sense stands that sent the nasty, radical Left into conniptions.


Like Ann Coulter used to believe, before she drank the Jim Jones powdered drink mix, I believe that Romney would be a disaster as the GOP's general election candidate. He doesn't provide enough of a contrast to Obama on the big issue that drove the big Republican gains in 2010: Obamacare and the need to repeal it before it comes into full effect. Back on September 7, 2011, the Wall Street Journal editorial board called Romney's economic plan "surprisingly timid and tactical."

The attempt by Romney fans to end things quickly and create a bandwagon through endorsements underscored his inability to withstand scrutiny. The best hope of the Romney camp was to dishearten conservatives, to crush their hope of a conservative alternative, to convince them to surrender early on to the inevitability of the Romney nomination and not waste their contributions and volunteer time on another candidate.

Romney is this year's "it's his turn" candidate, the latest representative of a 24 year pattern in which Mr. Second Place becomes front runner for the next go-around, attracting endorsements and cash from bandwagon-jumpers who like to bet on a sure thing. States leapfrogged each other on the primary calendar in hopes of having some voice in the process, but the plurality-takes-all delegate allocation rules in most states made an early win essential for all but the most well funded candidate. In 2008, the race was all but over by Valentine's Day. Romney threw in the towel the day after Tsunami Tuesday. Republicans then spent the next 10 months with a bad case of buyer's remorse, mitigated only for a week or two after McCain's vice presidential pick.

Despite brazen violations by a few states, the new GOP rules for 2012 have had the desired effect of slowing down the process, allowing for more states and more Republicans to have a meaningful say in the choice of a nominee, providing time for voters to take a close look at potential nominees before they have the nomination practically sewn up.

Back in December, when Rick Santorum was barely polling above Jon Huntsman and Buddy Roemer, I dismissed him as an also-ran, handicapped by the 2006 loss of his Senate seat and his unwise endorsement of Arlen Specter.

But as I wrote that, Santorum, accompanied by his wife Karen and their children, was working harder than any other candidate, campaigning in every county in Iowa. His persistence paid with a first-place finish on Iowa caucus night, a shoestring campaign finishing just ahead of the candidate with all the money in the world.

Unlike the other not-Romneys who emerged and faded under scrutiny, Santorum has shown staying power. I believe it's because his positions on the issues are really what he believes. They aren't calculated for the sake of political expediency. Santorum has thought through the big issues that challenge our nation.

Even if I haven't persuaded you to support Santorum on his own merits, I hope you'll consider the tactical case for a Santorum vote in Oklahoma.

If you're an Oklahoma conservative who doesn't want a nominee who has flip-flopped on all the big issues, who has rejected and embraced Reagan and the conservative movement on an as-needed basis, voting for Rick Santorum is the best way to block Romney's momentum and keep the Republican Party's options open. If you're an Oklahoma fan of Gingrich or Paul, voting for Santorum is the best thing you can do to block Romney and keep your man's candidacy viable.

Tactical voters have to begin from the starting point of the latest polls. Who is in a position to finish first? Who is in a position to win delegates? The number of tactical voters is small enough that you can only hope to tilt a closely balanced race. In a recent poll, Santorum was leading statewide and in each congressional district. Right now, what's in the balance is a win for Santorum big enough to deny Romney any Oklahoma delegates under Oklahoma's proportional delegate allocation rules. It's an important step toward knocking out Romney and opening up the race.

In Georgia there's a different answer to that question, and if I lived in Georgia, I'd cast a tactical vote for Newt. If I lived in Virginia, where only Romney and Paul are on the ballot, I'd vote for Ron Paul. But in every other Super Tuesday state, including Oklahoma, Ohio, and Tennessee, Santorum is the best tactical choice.

But I think that if conservative Oklahoma voters will listen to his speeches and compare his record to the other candidates, you'll come to the same conclusion that I've reached: Rick Santorum is the best candidate to carry our conservative Oklahoma values into the general election and on to the White House.


This is a preliminary report, mainly so I can get the audio and some photos online. I plan to transcribe additional quotes as I have opportunity.


Sen. Rick Santorum spoke to a standing-room only crowd of about 1000 people at Grace Church last night, March 4, 2012, focusing attention on his energy and tax plans and the importance of Republicans nominating a candidate who presents voters with a clear choice in November.

The backdrop for the event were big video displays with the slogan, "The courage to fight for American jobs." At the heart of the speech was Santorum's emphasis on promoting job growth by supporting the development of domestic energy resources and a simpler tax system.

Santorum called for throwing out the tax code and replacing it with two rates, 10% and 28%, and retaining only five deductions: children, charities, pensions, healthcare, and housing. "Maybe I'm for a simple tax code for a selfish reason.... Unlike everyone else in the race, I actually do my own taxes."

Corporations would be a simple net profit tax with a single rate of 17.5%, half the current maximum rate. (The US maximum rate will be the highest in the world as of April 1 when Japan is set to cut their rate.) In order to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, Santorum proposes a rate of 0 for manufacturing and processing.

He noted that the complex tax code puts small businesses at a disadvantage to larger rivals, as it's harder for a small business to find the loopholes that big companies use.

On energy, Santorum focused on Obama administration obstruction of energy exploration. He mentioned a visit to a shale oil well-head Tioga, N. D., and the hindrance caused by the lack of a pipeline that could bring that oil more efficiently to market.

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Santorum, accompanied by his wife and three of his children, expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome they've received in Oklahoma. Noting that Gingrich and Romney both have home states with primaries on Super Tuesday, while his home state of Pennsylvania won't be voting, "if I feel like I have any home state up on Super Tuesday, it's here in Oklahoma."

After the speech, Santorum worked the rope line taking pictures with everyone who wanted one. Later, he and his family posed with Jim Bob Duggar and family, here from Arkansas to campaign for Santorum.

Shortly after Santorum began to speak, he was interrupted by a heckler, who, I was told, was an Occupod. (I mistakenly tweeted that the heckler was a Paulbot, which was not the case.) The heckler was shown the door. From my side of the auditorium it was impossible to make out what the heckler was shouting.

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1170 KFAQ morning show host Pat Campbell kicked off the event by explaining his break with usual practice in endorsing Santorum, rather than revealing his choice after the election. (Co-host Eddie Huff has also endorsed Santorum.) Campbell was a new talk show host in Erie, Pa., in 1994, when Santorum ran against an appointed incumbent Democrat to win a seat in the Senate. Campbell said Santorum is the only politician he's ever endorsed.

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Campbell spoke about the mockery being directed by the mainstream media at Santorum's faith, specifically comments he made in a 2008 speech at Ave Maria University:

But the reality is those things that Rick Santorum talked about at Ave Maria -- I believe them, you believe them. When they laugh at Rick Santorum, they're laughing at us. They don't get us. We're flyover country.... If Rick Santorum, his wife Karen, and their children were to move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, tomorrow, they'd fit right in, because he is one of us. He gets it. All of the things that we cherish and hold true and sacred, Rick Santorum holds true and sacred.

Campbell stated that Santorum presents the strongest contrast in the general election to Barack Obama, noted the endorsement Santorum received from Jim Inhofe, and called on the audience to volunteer, explaining the importance of getting Santorum over the 50% mark to win all of Oklahoma's 40 delegates.

In her introduction, Rep. Peterson called Santorum "the real deal... the most authentic conservative that is running today... a sincere, authentic, genuine conservative, and he's been that way for years, and he hasn't changed."

Peterson recalled meeting Ronald Reagan in Tulsa in 1976, when the conventional wisdom said that Ronald Reagan was too conservative to be elected, and Gerald Ford was nominated because he would be electable. Ford went on to lose to Jimmy Carter. "We had to wait four years for a real conservative" to be the Republican nominee in 1980. This time around, Peterson said, "we do not have four years to wait for a real conservative to run for president." She concluded by calling on the audience to "stand to your feet, cheer, shout, and welcome the best choice for president of the United States, Rick Santorum." The audience complied enthusiastically.


I started recording in the middle of Pat Campbell's introduction -- sorry, forgot to start the recorder before the meeting began. For the sake of completeness, I have my recording of Santorum's speech below, but KFAQ has much better audio at this link. (Unfortunately, they don't have the introductory material.)





Pat McGuigan reports for Capitol Beat OK on Santorum's visit to the State Capitol earlier in the day.

State Rep. Mike Reynolds, an Oklahoma City Republican, introduced the former Pennsylvania senator at the rally, at one point recalling Santorum's vigor in defending the U.S. against "radical Islam" in an appearance at the University of Oklahoma in Norman several years ago. Santorum remembered, "Mike Reynolds was talking about that event I did in Norman some five or six years ago I think it was. Gosh, here were all sorts of protestors. It was very hostile. I never expected that in Oklahoma."

The Occupods were in OKC, too, but they were harder to budge there:

A group of a dozen demonstrators disrupted the first half of Santorum's speech with a "mic check" -- the prelude to a verbal attack on the candidate. The group tore Santorum signs, screamed at him as he gave his speech, and denounced his views repeatedly. After about 20 minutes, Capitol police met quietly with the demonstrators and encouraged them to leave, which they did.

KOTV News on 6's Emily Baucum has a good video synopsis of Santorum's Tulsa speech. You may be able to spot me snapping some of the pictures you see above. (Hat tip to reader Art Fern.)

OKGOP-logo.jpgIn the wake of the Michigan Republican presidential primary, in which Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney won an equal number of congressional districts, each worth two delegates, there was a dispute over whether the two at-large delegates should be divided between Romney and Santorum (since no candidate received a majority of the statewide vote) or both given to the candidate who received the plurality. Had the Michigan Republican Party published its delegate allocation rules in advance of the primary, the dispute and the consequent accusations of bad faith could have been avoided.

In doing my own research on delegate allocation in each state, I have noticed that state party websites rarely have updated information about anything, and they're especially bad about not posting rules, resolutions, and other "party business" documents.

In light of that problem, and in order to avoid a repeat of the Michigan mishegoss, I urged Oklahoma Republican Party leadership to publicize Oklahoma's allocation rules in advance of Tuesday's primary. This evening, Oklahoma GOP vice chairman Pam Pollard sent me the official 2012 National Delegate Award Methodology (PDF). This methodology was approved last year by the Oklahoma Republican State Committee, which is the governing body of the state party, consisting of the County Chairman, Vice Chairman, State Committeeman and State Committeewoman from each county, and all Republican state and federal elected officials.

Some key points (my paraphrase of the official rules):

  • The three Republican National Committee members (Chairman Matt Pinnell, National Committeeman James Dunn, National Committeewoman Carolyn McLarty) will not be bound by the primary result.

  • It takes a majority (50% + one vote) to win all the delegates in each congressional district (3 each) and statewide to win all 25 at-large delegates.

  • If no one has a statewide majority, the 25 delegates will be split among all candidates with at least 15% of the statewide vote in proportion to their share of the vote among the candidates with at least 15%. If rounding results in an unallocated delegate, it will go to the top vote-getter.

  • In any congressional district, if three or more candidates get 15% of the vote, the top three candidates get one delegate each. If only two get 15% of the vote or more, the top candidate gets two and the second-place candidate gets one. If only one candidate breaks 15% or if a candidate gets 50% or more, he will get all three delegates

After the jump, the full text of the document:

Fellow Rick Santorum supporters, your help is needed today. From Oklahoma Santorum HQ:

The Duggars Are Coming Back To Tulsa

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar want your help.

The stars of TLC's reality television series invite you to come help this Sunday afternoon. We will be reaching out to Oklahomans, to get out to vote this Tuesday for Rick.

Teams all across Green Country are organizing to impact the state with sign-waves from 3-5pm. Others are manning the phone banks in our headquarters from 2-5pm.

The many volunteers of the Santorum Oklahoma campaign are thrilled to see so many great people coming to Rick Santorum's side during this important election for the future of our nation.

Tulsa area volunteers; please meet at the headquarters at 2pm.

Santorum Tulsa HQ is at 6969 E 71st Street, just east of Mai's Tailor Shop and behind Señor Tequila's Restaurant.

You may be thinking that because the polls show Santorum with a big lead in Oklahoma, you don't need to help, but you'd be wrong. If Santorum can win 50% statewide and 50% in each congressional district, he gets all of Oklahoma's 40 delegates at stake. Less than 50% only wins a share. And a shellacking of his rivals -- winning by large margins -- would help him win big in the next round of primaries.


Tonight, March 3, 2012, Bob Wills' Texas Playboys will perform at Tulsa's historic Cain's Ballroom in celebration of the 107th anniversary of the birth of the band's founder. Tulsa's Round-Up Boys will lead off the celebration. Doors open at 6:30 and the show begins at 7. Tickets are available online or at the door.

Heading up the Texas Playboys are vocalist Leon Rausch and guitarist Tommy Allsup. Leon started performing with Bob Wills back in the late 1950s. Tommy Allsup played with Waylon Jennings in Buddy Holly's band, then went to California, and as an A&R man for Liberty Records he reunited Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan, the original Texas Playboys vocalist in the 1960s. I don't know the specific lineup for tonight, but past lineups have included trombonist Steve Ham and trumpeter Mike Bennett, steel guitarist Steve Bagsby, and Amarillo fiddler Jimmy Young, who does his Bob Wills impression when they perform Faded Love & San Antonio Rose. Many of these folks also play with the Tulsa Playboys, who play a dance once a month at Cain's. (UPDATE: Not sure why, but none of the Tulsa folks were on stage tonight.)

To my friends (and my son and his peers) who are swing dancing enthusiasts: This music is called Western Swing for a reason. It's meant for dancing, and there's no finer place for dancing than the curly maple floor of Cain's Ballroom. Maybe just for tonight, break away from the usual swing dancing venue, and bring your dancing shoes and your smooth swing moves on down to Cain's.

To give you a sense of what I'm talking about, here's a look at the Cain's dance floor last July when the Tulsa Playboys played "Miss Molly."

Grab your partner and truck on down.

MORE: Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys appeared in several westerns with Russell Hayden and other stars in the 1940s. Finders Keepers Classics, on the web at, is offering a four-DVD set of Russell Hayden movies, including several featuring the Texas Playboys, and a separate DVD with Saddles and Sagebrush, another movie that featured Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. On the homepage, click New Arrivals and scroll down.

This just in from Santorum Oklahoma HQ.

Sen. Rick Santorum will return to Oklahoma for two campaign stops on Sunday, March 4, 2012.

Oklahoma City: 3:30 p.m., north steps of the State Capitol.

Tulsa: 6:30 p.m., Grace Church, 9610 S. Garnett Road.


ThisLand-20120301.jpgThe March 1, 2012, issue of This Land includes my first foray into print in nearly two years. The story is about Government 2.0 and the Oklahomans who are using web and mobile technologies to work for more responsive and accountable state and local government.

It's a big topic and at one point my working draft was twice as long as what I ultimately submitted. There are so many interesting angles and individual stories, and I just managed to squeeze these into the space available:

  • The free mobile app used by Shawnee and Enid to make public info easily available to their citizens, and the former Haskell city councilor who's an evangelist for connecting small cities and towns with inexpensive web technology like this app.
  • The volunteer work a local group of web developers are doing to make it easier for Tulsans to get around, whether in their own vehicles or by Tulsa Transit bus.
  • The former BBS sysop turned legislative committee chairman trying to modernize state government's use of data and its availability to the public, and the think tank that provides an easy way for the public to search and analyze this newly public state government data.
  • The former big city newspaper app developer who used his data journalism skills to learn about the small Texas city to which he was moving.

At the moment the story is only available in print. You can find the latest issue of This Land available for $2 at coffeehouses, restaurants, specialty retailers, and other locations around Tulsa, or you can subscribe -- $40 a year.

Santorum at ORU (portrait crop) (MDB20765)
Some friends of mine, long-time local conservative activists, have endorsed Rick Santorum in next Tuesday's Oklahoma presidential preference primary. They've notified their friends of their endorsement, but for their own reasons can't make the endorsement public. They are however willing to share their rationale, and I think it's worth your time to read.

They also remind that early voting ("absentee in person") is available at your county's election board at the following times.

Friday, March 2, 2012: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 3, 2012: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Monday, March 5, 2012: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Whether you vote early at the county election board or on election day at your precinct's polling place, you must bring a government-issued form of identification -- either your voter ID card or some government issued ID with your photo and an expiration date after the date of the election. The state election board explains what kind of ID is allowed by law.

The Santorum campaign in Oklahoma could use your help. They are making personal phone calls to Oklahoma voters and need more workers to reach all the people they hope to reach. Phone the Oklahoma HQ at 918-928-7776 to find out what you can do. There are opportunities all over the state. A team of Texas volunteers is coming up to work along the southern tier of Oklahoma. (Texas's primary has been delayed until May 29, the result of a court battle over congressional redistricting.)

If you're a homeschooler, by volunteering for Santorum you'd be supporting the first homeschool dad to serve as president since perhapsTeddy Roosevelt. And what better way to teach the importance of civic involvement and how our election process works than to spend a few hours as a campaign volunteer.

I've put the full text of the activists' endorsement after the jump, but here are some of the key points:

  • Santorum has signed the Americans for Tax Reform's Taxpayer Protection Pledge
  • Santorum's endorsement by the Susan B. Anthony List, a political action committee devoted to promoting pro-life candidates: "Among the field of strong pro-life candidates in the GOP primary, one stands out as a proven leader in this great human and civil rights cause of our time. Rick Santorum communicates the vision and has exhibited the strategic and tactical prowess the pro-life movement must have in order to succeed. Women and children deserve his leadership, grounded as it is in affirming the dignity of every person. At this inflection point in the primary process and a tipping point in history on the abortion issue, the Susan B. Anthony List endorses Rick Santorum for the Republican nomination for President."
  • Santorum's A+ lifetime NRA rating and strong career ratings from many other conservative organizations.
  • In line with the mainstream of conservative activists on 2nd Amendment rights, energy production (a major theme of his Tulsa speech), illegal immigration, national defense and foreign policy, and cultural issues in military policy.
  • My friends weren't sure about Santorum's position with regard to Israel, since he didn't address it in his ORU speech, but here's an oped he wrote for National Review in May 2011: Israel in Peril. His concluding paragraph:

    Israel has long enjoyed the support of the United States. Our mutual ties have been historical, cultural, religious, and strategic. Today those ties have been put in more doubt than at any other time in the history of our relationship. Israel hasn't changed, the United States has. But the United States, a large and powerful country, is not in danger of disappearing. The same cannot be said of Israel and it is to our shame that we have increased that risk for the Jewish state. One can only hope this dangerous turn in our foreign policy will change. In the meantime, it is the duty of each and every American citizen who abhors terrorism and supports freedom to stand up and say, "I support Israel."

    Now here's the full endorsement from my activist friends:

    I had planned to post this first thing this morning, but computer problems prevented, and then grim news seemed more important. We all could use some music and laughter about now, I think.

    The four countries of the United Kingdom are of such great antiquity that they can't mark a founding day or independence day as a national holiday, so instead they celebrate the feast day of their patron saints: St. Patrick's Day for Ireland on March 17, St. Andrew's Day on November 30 for Scotland, St. George's Day on April 23 for England, and St. David's Day on March 1 for Wales.

    St. David's Day is traditionally marked by the wearing of a daffodil (now in peak bloom in Tulsa) or a leek on the lapel. The leek was worn by Welsh soldiers to identify each other in the midst of similarly dressed English invaders.


    Photo from

    Other uses of leeks are not recommended.


    Photo from this BBC article about St. David's Day.

    The Principality of Wales has been ruled by England since 1282, was officially annexed to England in the mid-16th century, and regained a degree of self-determination with the creation in 1999 of the Welsh Assembly.

    I've spent all of a day in Wales, just enough to get a sense of what a beautiful country it is.

    Wales is famed as a center of coal mining, as a place of religious fervor, and as a land of singing. In Wales even the Methodists are Calvinistic, and a religious revival in 1904-5 spread from Wales to the ends of the earth. In comedy, the Welsh are often portrayed with a sing-song accent.

    Wales is home to one of the world's longest place names: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Yes, there are four ells in a row in that name.

    Wales gave the world Tom Jones and Catherine Zeta Jones and a host of other Joneses, but one of my favorite Welshmen is the late comedian and tenor Harry Secombe. Secombe, the short and stout fellow in the photos above, played Neddie Seagoon in the Goon Show, the long-running BBC radio comedy that set the stage for the anarchic comedy of Monty Python. Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, is one of the show's most enthusiastic fans.

    No matter how grim things may seem, there's always an episode of the Goon Show available for a listen on the BBC Radio 4 Extra website. Highly recommended for your mental health.

    In later life, he played the lead in Pickwick, the musical version of The Pickwick Papers and served as host of TV series with religious themes, including Highway on ITV and Songs of Praise on the BBC.

    Here is a 30 minute biography of Secombe, an episode of the series Welsh Greats.

    Here, from an episode of Highway, is Harry Secombe and the Treorchy Male Choir singing the hymn Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah, known by the name of its hymn tune, Cwm Rhondda (Rhondda Valley).

    Pioneer new media entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart died today, age 43. He is survived by his wife and four young children.

    Breitbart began his online career working for Matt Drudge at the Drudge Report, then launched his own network of news and commentary websites:,, Big Hollywood, Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Peace.

    Active on Twitter, Breitbart was fond of retweeting unhinged leftist attacks against him.

    His final tweet, at 11:25 pm Pacific time last night, says a lot about him -- willing to be bold in confrontation, willing to back off from a misstep.

    I called you a putz cause I thought you werebeing intentionally disingenuous. If not I apologize. @CenLamar @dust92


    BatesLine photo: Rev. C. L. Bryant interviews Andrew Breitbart for Bryant's film "A Runaway Slave," on the west lawn of the Capitol at the 2010 9/12 March on Washington.

    I met him only once and briefly, although I had the pleasure of hearing him in person at a couple of conferences, most recently at RightOnline 2011. The Right Scoop has video of the full speech, in which he describes his journey from reflexive Los Angeles liberal to conservative warrior.

    I say to my wife, "Do your remember when I was a waiter, I was light-hearted, and I went to movies. I don't do that anymore." My goal now is to take down the institutional Left.

    Fellow bloggers talked about how approachable he was and how happy to help conservative new media activists expand their reach. Kerry Picket of the Washington Times remembers:

    Andrew was willing to take shots that were considered strategically risky and dealt with any blowback that came his way as a result of some of those risks. Budding citizen journalists found it amazing that Andrew would not only give out his e-mail address to strangers he met at conferences but also his personal cell phone number.

    At RightOnline, he walked with a small group of people over to Netroots Nation, the hard-left activist conference which was being held at the same time in Minneapolis. (Netroots Nation types had already crashed RightOnline and were causing a headache for hotel staff as they tried to provoke a confrontation.) In this video, as he's en route, he does a bit of satire of leftist attitudes, then explains to a questioner his role in the conservative movement.

    At the time, Kerry Picket of the Washington Times posted a series of videos of Breitbart's reception by Netroots Nation, which featured a rabid Daily Kos blogger claiming that one of Breitbart's employees was responsible for an alleged racial incident.

    Breitbart lived intensely, accomplished much, gave a platform to an army of conservative activists, confronted the Left relentlessly, and was under constant attack in return. Give thanks for his life and work, and pray for his bereft family.


    Josh Treviño has a tribute at the Grauniad, recalling the driving philosophy behind Breitbart's network of sites:

    [The cultural left] trafficked in self-assured righteousness, a vibrant network of transmitters and supporters, and a belief in the moral inferiority of their opposites.

    With these things, they crafted and pushed narratives that crushed conservatives every time. Andrew Breitbart was going to bring those methods, and more important, that aesthetic to the right - and see which side won when it was main force on main force.

    On Fox News this morning, Breitbart's fellow conservative web pioneer, Jonah Goldberg, who was starting National Review Online when Breitbart was working for the Drudge Report, reacts to news of the death of his friend and compatriot.

    AP aggregation of tributes to Breitbart.

    MORE: A very thorough bio of Breitbart, which includes how he met his wife, the odd interest they had in common, and how his father-in-law got him listening to Rush Limbaugh:

    Breitbart first met Susie Bean at a karaoke bar in 1988. He'd heard about her from their mutual friend, Mike, who phoned Breitbart at Tulane to tell him that he'd met Breitbart's future wife. When he and Susie landed back in Los Angeles four years later, they bonded over their shared appreciation of Chris Elliott's genius. Breitbart was nearly as smitten with Susie's father, the actor Orson Bean, as he was with Susie. And vice versa. "I was very taken with him," said Bean. A former liberal who had been blacklisted as a Communist in the 1950s, Bean was also the person who introduced Breitbart to Rush Limbaugh. Breitbart spotted a copy of The Way Things Ought To Be on the coffee table. "I said, 'Did you read this for giggles?' " Breitbart said. "He said, 'Have you listened to Rush?' I said, 'Yeah, he's a Nazi or something.' He goes, 'Are you sure you've listened to him?' " When Breitbart's favorite radio station started playing grunge--which he despised--he flipped to talk radio instead. "At first it was like a foreign language to me. But over time, it started to make sense."


    Sarah Rumpf has a compendium of links to dozens of Breitbart tributes by conservative bloggers.

    On Twitter, Jimmie Bise, Jr. (@jimmiebjr), reflected on his opportunity to spend time with Breitbart at CPAC just a couple of weeks ago, an opportunity he passed up because his "bitter and wicked inner critic" told him he wasn't worthy. (I used Storify to capture those tweets in sequence and in a more permanently accessible form.)

    The nice thing about running your own website is you get to decide which ads run alongside your words.

    This morning I received notification from BlogAds of an ad submission "paid for by the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign Committee, Inc." (Saber Communications submitted the ad.) They wanted to run the "Rick Santorum is a Conservative Fake" ad on BatesLine through the primary. It would have been worth $200. I turned it down. I'm not going to run Ayatollah Ron Paul's garbage on this website, not for $200,000.

    Ron Paul is in no position to judge anyone's conservatism. Although he is pro-life, he's a liberal on most social issues and an appeaser on foreign policy. I believe the culture of a campaign is a reflection on the candidate, and his followers' practice of taqiyya (lying for the sake of advancing the cause) and their messianic devotion to him says much, none of it good, about the man.

    The modern conservative movement has been described as a three-legged stool -- social, fiscal, and defense. Santorum and Gingrich are the only candidates who are consistently conservative in all three areas, and Santorum is the most conservative candidate in the race with a chance of winning the nomination and beating Obama.


    Here's the only Ron Paul ad you'll ever see on BatesLine.

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