October 2016 Archives

Oklahoma State Question 790 is a legislative referendum which would remove a discriminatory and inconsistently applied provision in the Constitution of Oklahoma that deals with the relationship of religion and government. Its passage would allow the People of Oklahoma through our elected representatives to weigh and balance a variety of public concerns in the development and administration of our laws. Passing SQ 790 would place these questions solely in the context of the well-developed body of Federal jurisprudence concerning the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment, and would eliminate the added burden of a state provision, the meaning and interpretation of which has shifted over the 109 years since statehood, and which the State Supreme Court has inconsistently applied even within the last two years. Passing SQ 790 would eliminate a provision which discriminates against religious organizations by denying the possibility of even an indirect benefit from an action taken in pursuit of secular state aims.

SQ 790 would delete Article II, Section 5, which reads:

No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.

The proposed amendment was placed on the ballot by Senate Joint Resolution 72, which was approved by a 39-5 vote in the State Senate and a 65-7 vote in the State House. (All five no votes in the Senate and all seven nay votes in the House were from Democrats, as were 2 of the 4 Senate abstentions and 17 of the 24 House abstentions.) The House Rules Committee passed it with a unanimous 9-0 vote. The Senate Rules Committee voted 13-2 in favor.

At the time of its passage, the Oklahoma Constitution was the longest governing document in the world, regulating the price of railroad tickets, regulating who could receive free railroad tickets (and including a special exemption for ministers of religion and YMCA traveling secretaries), decreeing the flash point of kerosene, and defining the term "colored" (although the legal impediments connected with the word were left to legislation -- the "Jim Crow" law passed as the Legislature's first act).

Over its 109-year history, Article II, Section 5, has been cited in about a dozen Oklahoma State Supreme Court cases, involving everything from discounted streetcar fares for parochial school students (OK), to letting private school students ride the public school bus (not OK), to chapel services at a state orphanage (OK), to a cross on the State Fairgrounds (OK), to, most recently, school vouchers for special-needs students (OK) and the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the State Capitol (not OK). The rulings have been woefully inconsistent.

The most recent two rulings illustrate the problem:

In Prescott v. Oklahoma Capitol Preservation Commission (2015 OK 54), the State Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Ten Commandments monument "operates for the use, benefit or support of a sect or system of religion." Stretching the definition of words to the breaking point, the majority opinion claimed that Judeo-Christianity was a system of religion and that the text of the Ten Commandments was sectarian because it followed the translation that was common to all English-speaking Protestant denominations for over three centuries. (The monument also includes the text of the Ten Commandments in ancient, pre-exilic Hebrew script.) Justice Combs, on this year's retention ballot, wrote a dissent in this case. Justice Winchester, also on the ballot went along with the majority's decision.

Oklahoma Ten Commandments Monument, highlighting the section with the Ten Commandments in ancient Hebrew script

A year later, in Oliver v. Hofmeister (26 OK 15), the Court ruled unanimously that it did not violate Article II, Section 5, for the state to provide funding that parents of special-needs children could use to pay for private school education. The majority argued that the Lindsay Nicole Henry Scholarship is constitutional, because the program is voluntary, because the parents choose the school and may select from religious or non-religious schools, and because the State benefits in that acceptance of the scholarship "relieves the school district of its obligation to the student to provide special education services mandated by the state and federal governments."

It is easy to see how the two decisions might have been reversed: The Ten Commandments are not unique to one Christian denomination or even to Christianity. They are held in respect and reverence by the three great monotheistic religions, so they can hardly be called "sectarian" as understood by the framers of our state's constitution. There is no such thing as a "Judeo-Christian system of religion." It would be more accurate to say that Judeo-Christian is a broad classification that embraces a group of different religions with some common features. The church-affiliated schools that receive state funding in the form of tuition vouchers are benefitting indirectly from state expenditure. The constitutional provision makes no allowance for offsetting state benefit.

The problem comes down to two words, one of which -- "indirectly" -- is overly broad, and the other -- "sectarian" -- has changed meanings since 1907.

Of all the private organizations in Oklahoma, only organizations which are religious in nature must be screened off from even an indirect benefit from government expenditure. Interpreted literally, the provision is absurd. Churches, religious schools, convents, and monasteries benefit indirectly from government spending on law enforcement, street resurfacing, sidewalks, and water and sewer service. A government that is banned from doing anything that might indirectly benefit a sectarian institution will be doing nothing at all.

But what does "sectarian" mean? Is anything religious necessarily sectarian, or did the framers of the Oklahoma Constitution understand a distinction between those two terms?

The same Constitutional Convention that adopted Article II, Section 5, saw no conflict with opening its proceedings with prayer or giving religious ministers a special exemption for free railroad tickets. The Constitution of the proposed State of Sequoyah, which was drafted by many of the same leaders who created the Oklahoma Constitution, had a provision similar to Article II, Section 5, but it also designated Sunday as a "perpetual day of rest" and banned atheists from holding public office.

The Oklahoma public schools that my parents and grandparents attended included prayers and Bible reading. At Catoosa Elementary School in 1970, Mrs. Paul's 2nd grade class opened each day with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer.

For the first six decades or so of our state's history, the idea that the Ten Commandments were sectarian would have seemed ridiculous. What could be less sectarian than a document held in esteem by all the denominations of Judaism -- orthodox, conservative, and Reform alike -- dozens of Protestant denominations, Roman Catholicism, Greek and Russian and Syrian Orthodoxy, and even modern religions like Mormonism and Christian Science?

What was considered sectarian? Whether infants should be baptized, whether communion was a symbolic memorial or involved the transubstantiation of bread and wine into flesh and blood, whether the church should be governed by bishops, elders, or the membership of the congregation. Promotion by public schools or city governments of a civic religion of generic Protestantism was not seen as a violation of this constitutional provision by the men who put it there.

To the framers of the Oklahoma Constitution, "sectarian" was a code word for Catholic. While Article II, Section 5, is not identical to the unsuccessful Blaine Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, it is in the same vein and shares the same motivation. In the late 19th century, America experienced an influx of immigrants from Ireland and southern Europe. These immigrants were happy to become Americans, but they did not want their children to become Protestants, and they reacted to the public schools' generic Protestantism by setting up their own parochial schools. In reaction to this, politicians who wanted immigrants to assimilate passed provisions like the Blaine Amendment and Article II, Section 5, to ensure that choosing to avoid the prescribed path of religious assimilation would always carry an extra financial burden.

In one case dealing with this constitutional provision, the State Supreme Court noted that a chapel on the grounds of the State's Whitaker Orphanage near Pryor would be used for "non-sectarian, non-denominational religious worship" -- a juxtaposition that would have made perfect sense to the framers of Oklahoma's Constitution but apparently baffles seven of the nine members of our current State Supreme Court.

A few weeks ago I debated in support of SQ 790 against Jim Huff, one of the plaintiffs in the Ten Commandments monument case. Mr. Huff repeatedly made the claim that approval of SQ 790 and repeal of Article II, Section 5, would leave a hole in the law regarding the relationship of religion and government. He claims that its passage will lead to more lawsuits.

On the contrary. The "hole" would be filled by a well-defined body of jurisprudence regarding the First Amendment's "establishment" and "free exercise" clauses. If SQ 790 passes, state, local, and school officials in Oklahoma will have the guidance of dozens of First Amendment cases across the entire country. The two lawsuits mentioned above could have been avoided if Article II, Section 5, were repealed, because precedents in other states already established the constitutionality of the legislature's actions.

If SQ 790 fails, Oklahoma officials will only be able to guess, based on a dozen inconsistent rulings, whether their actions will be regarded as constitutional when the inevitable lawsuit is brought to the State Supreme Court.

Because of the clarity that repeal of Article II, Section 5, will bring to the interaction of government and religion in Oklahoma, I am voting YES, to APPROVE SQ 790.

MORE comments -- a couple of further thoughts I've posted elsewhere that may help summarize the case:

Regarding their Ten Commandments monument, Texas officials could make decisions based on dozens of 1st Amendment establishment and free-exercise precedents from cases across the US. Oklahoma officials are burdened with an overly broad ("indirectly") provision with few precedents (about a dozen) and shifting definitions ("sectarian"). But the existence of Article II, Section 5 is no excuse for our State Supreme Court. The seven justices who ruled against the monument should be blamed for wrongly claiming that there is a "Judeo-Christian system of religion" (Judeo-Christian is a label for a broad grouping of religions with some common elements; if it's a system, where's its hierarchy, where are its rituals set down?) and that the monument is "sectarian" (its text is revered by all denominations or sects of Judaism and Christianity, and is even regarded as holy scripture by Islam).

When Article II, Section 5, was placed in the Oklahoma Constitution, and similar "Blaine Amendment"-type provisions were added to other state constitutions, the framers wanted to encourage children to be indoctrinated in the state religion of the day (generic protestantism) and make it harder for families who wanted to educate their children in their own religion. The motivation for those who want to keep it today hasn't changed, but the state religion has been changed (by the U. S. Supreme Court in the 1960s) to atheism and materialism.

MORE: After the jump, a summary of the Oklahoma State Supreme court cases citing Article II, Section 5.

A bit of good news to break up the election stuff:

Wayne McCombs, local baseball historian and executive director of the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum in Claremore, is the subject of a profile in GTR Newspapers.

The profile by Terrel Lester begins with the story of McCombs's first encounter with the Davis collection, when he was a nine-year-old boy and the collection was still housed in the lobby of the Mason Hotel in downtown Claremore:

On a summer afternoon, air-conditioning and guns would be an inviting and double-barreled treat for rambunctious boys still shy of their teenage years.

They entered the lobby, cautiously, stealthily, if not so quietly. Looked around for the boss man.

Considering themselves alone, the boys encircled one of the most enticing pieces of Davis' collection of guns: The Gatling gun, rapid-fire linchpin of 19th-century army brigades and star of so many western movies.

As ringleader of the youngsters, Wayne McCombs remembered that he and his pals began imitating cavalry troops, rattling off sounds they thought mimicked the actions of the Gatling gun, whooping, jumping. One of his confederates even fell to the floor as if shot and wounded.

That was enough to rouse the heretofore silent and unseen James Monroe Davis.
"He stood up from behind his desk," McCombs said. "He saw us come in. He let us play for a little bit, but then it was time to get out.

The profile goes on to describe McCombs's career in radio at KWPR and KVOO, his work as University of Tulsa athletics promotion director during the exciting early '80s, his books on baseball history, his efforts as a Claremore civic leader, and his work, for the last seven years, to promote the J. M. Davis Museum.

McCombs routinely calls upon his marketing background for events to put, and keep, the museum in the public eye.

Along with the monthly appearance of western re-enactors, McCombs has installed such short-term exhibits as a collection of John Wayne movie posters and a tribute to the radio career of Billy Parker. In October, McCombs hosted a book-signing for former New York Yankees pitcher and Chelsea native Ralph Terry. Once or twice a year, McCombs plays host to a BB-gun shooting contest for youngsters.

"I was tired of hearing people say, 'I've been to the museum, but it's been a while. I haven't been back in years.'

"Well, I am trying to get people to come back to the museum," McCombs said.
When they do return, or even make their first trip, to the museum, patrons will find what McCombs and others often refer to as "an Oklahoma gem."

I've known Wayne going back to his time at TU, through Hal O'Halloran's Sports Night show on KXXO. It's always heartening to see someone find a role that is such a good fit for his skills and passions.

BatesLine is proud to welcome a new advertiser: Durant-based artist G. N. Taylor, whose website offers paintings of scenes from Oklahoma history and the American West.

neal_taylor.jpgNeal Taylor is an accomplished sculptor and painter. A bronze sculpture by Taylor, "The Spirit of '89," was presented to President Ronald Reagan and is on display at the Reagan Presidential Library, with a casting on display at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. The Franklin Mint selected his design for the Oklahoma Bicentennial Medallion, and recently, he was associated with the U. S. Mint as one of nine master designers. His paintings have won numerous blue ribbons at juried shows and are on display in museums, galleries, banks, and institutions around Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.

Taylor's work is rooted in his love of Oklahoma and its history and reflects his own first-hand-experience working with horses and cattle. Paintings depict land runs, cattle drives, buffalo hunts, oil discovery, and the hardships and joys of frontier life. Taylor has done a series of portraits of the principal chiefs of the Choctaw Nation, of which he is a member.

Faithful readers may recall an earlier BatesLine article which featured Taylor's depiction of the only naval battle to take place within Oklahoma's boundaries, when Confederate troops under Stand Watie's command attacked a Union supply steamboat on the Arkansas River at Pheasant Bluff. Taylor's eye for detail brings this uniquely-Oklahoma historic event to life.


Painting of the Confederate attack on the J. R. Williams by Durant artist Neal Taylor, on display in the Oklahoma History Center.

Christmas is not that far off, and it's not too early to think about unique gifts for a loved one. Instead of buying something that will wind up in the bottom of a drawer, why not choose a gift that will be on display, providing daily enjoyment and a reminder of Oklahoma's rich history?

Through Taylor's website, you can purchase the oil-on-canvas originals or giclée prints on canvas or archival paper of Taylor's paintings. Print prices are quite affordable. Please take a few minutes to click through the ad and browse through the wide selection of paintings. You may find the perfect painting for your den, lobby, or classroom or the perfect gift for someone who loves the American West.

Oklahoma State Question 779, an initiative petition promoted by University of Oklahoma President (and former Oklahoma governor and senator) David Boren, would amend the Oklahoma Constitution, establishing a permanent 1 cent on the dollar sales tax (a permanent increase in the state sales tax rate from 4.5 cents per dollar to 5.5 -- a 22% increase) to be used for funding K-12 schools, Career Tech, and higher education. Complex language is intended to ensure that this permanent sales tax is in addition to and not in place of existing state funding.

Here is the text of the proposed new Article XIII-C, which would be added to the Oklahoma Constitution if SQ 779 is approved:



There is hereby created in the State Treasury a limited purpose fund to be known as the "Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund." The fund shall consist of the proceeds of the sales tax levy and the use tax levy provided in Section 2 of this Article XIII-C, and any monies or assets contributed to the fund from any other source, public or private.


There is hereby levied upon all sales, not otherwise exempted in the Oklahoma Sales Tax Code, an additional excise tax of one percent (1.0%) of the gross receipts or gross proceeds of each sale of tangible personal property, or of other goods and services subject to the sales tax as provided in the Oklahoma Sales Tax Code. Except as otherwise provided herein, this tax shall be collected, reported, and remitted or paid in accordance with the Oklahoma Sales Tax Code. There is hereby levied and there shall be paid by every person storing, using, or otherwise consuming within this state, tangible personal property purchased or brought into this state, an additional excise tax on the storage, use, or other consumption in this state of such property at the rate of one percent (1.0%) of the purchase price of such property. Said tax shall be levied on the storage, use or consumption of personal property as provided in the Oklahoma Use Tax Code. Except as otherwise provided herein, this tax shall be collected, reported, and remitted or paid in accordance with the Oklahoma Use Tax Code. This sales tax levy shall be in addition to, and shall not supplant, the general sales tax levied in the Oklahoma Sales Tax Code or any other sales tax authorized by Oklahoma law and this use tax levy shall be in addition to, and shall not supplant, the general use tax levied in the Oklahoma Use Tax Code or any other use tax authorized by Oklahoma law. All revenue from the sales tax and the use tax levied pursuant to this Article XIII-C, and penalties and interest thereon, collected by the Oklahoma Tax Commission shall be paid to the State Treasurer and deposited into the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund.


A. Monies in the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund shall be apportioned by the State Treasurer, appropriated by the Legislature, and distributed monthly for the educational purposes established herein, as follows:

1. Common Education: Sixty-nine and one-half percent (69.5%) of said monies shall be apportioned among and between all the several common school districts of the State in proportion to the school population of the several districts, on the basis of the state aid formula for common education then in effect.

(a) Monies from the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund shall be specifically identified and segregated from other monies appropriated and apportioned among the several common school districts of the State on the basis of said state aid formula.

(b) The common school districts shall use eighty-six and one-third percent (86.33%) of the additional funds provided to them under this Article XIII-C to increase teacher salaries as required by Section 4 of this Article, and to otherwise address and prevent teacher and certified instructional staff shortages in the manner most suited to local district circumstances and needs, including but not limited to differentiated compensation methods or performance pay.

(c) The common school districts shall use thirteen and two-thirds percent (13.67%) of the additional funds provided to them under this Article XIII-C to adopt or to expand programs, opportunities, or reforms to improve reading in the early grades, to improve high school graduation rates, and to increase college and career readiness. The common school districts may use the amount apportioned to them under this Section 3(A)(1)(c) only to adopt or to expand said programs, opportunities or reforms, and may not use the amount apportioned to them under this Section 3(A)(I)(c) to maintain programs, opportunities or reforms established prior to the effective date of this Article XIII-C.

(d) The State Auditor and Inspector shall approve auditors who shall annually audit the use made of the monies distributed to the school districts under this Article XIII-C to ensure that it is used only for the purposes specified in this Article XIII-C..

2. Higher Education: Nineteen and one-quarter percent (19.25%) of said monies shall be paid to the education and general operating budgets of the institutions under the authority of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, for use in improving college affordability, or otherwise in the improvement of higher education.

3. Career and Technology Education: Three and one-quarter percent (3.25%) of said monies shall be paid to the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, for use in the improvement of career and technology education.

4. Early Childhood Education: Eight percent (8%) of said monies shall be paid to the State Department of Education, for use in increasing access to and enhancing the quality of voluntary early learning opportunities for low-income and at-risk children prior to entry into the common education system.

B. Monies expended or distributed from the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund as provided herein shall be used only for the purposes specified in this Article XIII-C, Section 3.c. None of these monies distributed from the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund to common school districts may be used to add superintendent .positions or increase superintendents' salaries.


Each common school district of the State of Oklahoma shall pay each teacher employed by such district a salary at a rate that is at least $5,000 greater than the salary schedule transmitted by such district in the most recent year prior to the adoption of this Article XIII-C.


A. Monies expended or distributed from the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund shall supplement, and shall not be used to supplant or replace, other state funds supporting common education, early childhood education, higher education, or career and technology education, including but not limited to the Permanent School Fund, the Oklahoma Education Lottery Trust Fund, the Education Reform Revolving Fund, the Common Education Technology Revolving Fund, the Higher Education Capital Revolving Fund, the Oklahoma Tuition Scholarship Revolving Fund, the Common School Fund, appropriations from the Legislature as provided in Article XIII, Section 1a of the Constitution, and any other appropriations from the Legislature used for educational purposes.

B. The Legislature shall appropriate the monies from the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund solely to supplement other funds supporting common education, early childhood education, higher education, or career and technology education. The Legislature shall not appropriate such monies to supplant or replace any other state funds supporting common education, early childhood education, higher educ.ation, or career and technology education.

C. In order to ensure that the monies from the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund are used to enhance and not supplant funding for education, the State Board of Equalization shall examine and investigate appropriations from the Fund each year. At the meeting of the State Board of Equalization held within five (5) days after the monthly apportionment in February of each year, the State Board of Equalization shall issue a finding and report that shall state whether appropriations from the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund were .used to enhance or supplant education funding. If the State Board of Equalization finds that education funding was supplanted by monies from the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund, the State Board of Equalization shall specify the amount by which education funding was supplanted. In this event, the Legislature shall not make any appropriations for the ensuing fiscal year until an appropriation in that amount is made to replenish the Oklahoma Education Improvement Fund.


A. This Article XIII-C shall become effective on July 1 immediately following its passage.

B. Nothing in this Article XIII-C shall be construed as conflicting with Article X, Section 23 of the Constitution.


The provisions hereof are severable, and if any part or provision hereof shall be void, invalid, or unconstitutional, the decision of the court so holding shall not affect or impair any of the remaining parts or provisions hereof, and the remaining provisions hereof shall continue in full force and effect.

Article X, Section 23, is the balanced-budget requirement in the Constitution of Oklahoma.

Before you even get to the question of whether common schools should get more state funding or teachers should get raises, there are numerous reasons to defeat this proposition:

1. This is a logrolled proposition, in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution's single-subject rule. The essence of logrolling is to link unpopular provisions, which could not pass on their own, with provisions that enjoy public support. Boren has framed this issue so that you have to give him more money for OU if you want to give more money to K-12 schools. That's selfish and greedy on his part. The lavishly funded Tulsa Technology Center will get more money too, even though they can barely figure out how to spend the money they take in through their dedicated property tax levy. The high priests of the Oklahoma Supreme Court pretended not to see the obvious logrolling, so it's left to the voters to punish logrolling by defeating it at the polls, along with the unjust judges who approved it (including Supreme Court justice Combs and Civil Appeals Court judge Thornbrugh, on the ballot for retention in November).

2. There's no mechanism for reducing the tax rate if the tax generates more revenue than is needed. We will have the same problem we already have with dedicated property tax levies for TCC, Tulsa Technology Center, the library, and the health department. Taxpayers lose, money gets wasted, other needs go unfunded.

3. Our cities and towns will have some of the highest combined sales tax rates in the nation. This will hurt border communities, as shoppers cross the state line to avoid the higher tax rate. This will hurt Oklahoma's poorest citizens, as the regressive tax on food, clothing, and other necessities hits even harder.

4. Sales tax is a highly volatile revenue source. Just ask your city's finance director.

5. The degree of detail, the specificity of the earmarks, and the severability clause all indicate that this is really statutory language, not constitutional language.

Any additional funding for post-secondary education should be tied to a College Realignment and Closure Commission, modeled after the military's successful efforts to cut costs by reducing duplication, consolidating commands, and closing inefficient bases. There is considerable overlap between our comprehensive universities, regional universities, community colleges, and career tech schools. (For example, if you want to learn computer programming, any one of those four types of taxpayer-funded, post-secondary institutions will offer what you need.) Colleges are often located based on political considerations of the turn of the 20th century, rather than the population distribution of the early 21st century. And Oklahoma colleges don't need any more taxpayer money for subsidizing culturally corrosive garbage or persecuting dissenters from the official left-wing ideology.

Funding for common schools needs to go back to a local model -- local funding, raised locally, spent locally, under local control. In FY2016, local and county funds accounted for 28% of school funding, while state sources (including earmarked funds and appropriations) amounted to 61%. That ratio needs to be reversed. Property-rich districts like Union and Tulsa shouldn't be receiving state aid at all, beyond targeted assistance for special needs. District taxpayers should have the option of voting in a higher permanent support levy. Rural county assessors should suffer a penalty for failing to assign true market value to local property, as their sloth results in lower property taxes and lower levels of local support. Under the current system, the state steps in and subsidizes that behavior by supplementing lower property tax collection with state funds. The system hurts well-managed counties that are paying their fare share of taxes in favor of poorly-managed counties that aren't. Making local districts more responsible for their own funding would have the natural consequence of encouraging various types of consolidation and efficiency, including administrative consolidation, campus consolidation, and distance learning. If kids on a Queensland cattle station can learn math over the radio from a teacher 200 miles away, surely rural Oklahoma children can learn math over the internet.

SQ 779 is a rotten apple. I plan to throw it out on November 8 by voting no, against SQ 779.

MORE: Here are the opening paragraphs and a few other key passages from Justice Taylor's dissent, which was joined by Kauger and Winchester:

¶1 I respectfully dissent to the Court's decision finding no constitutional infirmity with Initiative Petition No. 403. The Court is presented with a clear example of logrolling--what Article XXIV, Section 1 of the Oklahoma Constitution intends to prevent. An extremely popular one-time pay raise for a group of state employees paired with other less popular tangentially related questions is repulsive to this constitutional provision. The plain language of Article XXIV, Section 1 requires each proposition in an initiative petition to be of one general subject. This proposed constitutional article to provide a pay raise for a small group of state employees, paired with an increase in funding for common education and higher education, a 1% sales tax, and the enhancement of the Board of Equalization's power is a perfect example of what Article XXIV, Section 1 was written to prevent. Even if logrolling were not the determinative issue, the proposed initiative petition impacts several other constitutional provisions in which allocations for salaries are delegated to the Legislature, and only the Legislature.1

¶2 The Respondents admitted during oral argument that amending our founding document to give a pay raise to one group of state employees is unprecedented. Unprecedented may undersell this point. Stop and think about this proposal for a moment--our Constitution will be amended to grant a onetime pay raise to a group of state employees. Is constitutional amendment to become the new vehicle for pay raises for state employees going into the future? It is evident that this unprecedented constitutional pay raise is being proposed because it is the popular subject in this collection of independent and unrelated provisions. Without the pay raise provision, Initiative Petition No. 403 would likely stand no chance with the voters.

¶3 It is the duty of this Court to follow the rule of law and the Oklahoma Constitution. This case is not simply an approval or disapproval of increasing pay for common education teachers of this state. If that were the case, it would sail through these challenges and be adopted by the people. I would send Initiative Petition No. 403 back to the Respondents and require the questions of a public-school-teacher pay raise, an increase in the state sales tax, the marriage of common education and higher education, and an increase in the Board of Equalization's powers to be presented to the voters as separate conditional propositions....

¶18 In a future budget year, where failure of revenue will require the Legislature to make cuts across the board to all agencies, the Legislature will cut common education and higher education at its own peril due to the powers now given to the Board of Equalization. If the Board of Equalization does not approve of the Legislature's decisions on education appropriations, then the Board of Equalization can shut down the entire legislative branch of government until it follows the command of an executive branch entity. We may very well see the Legislature grind to a halt as the Board of Equalization test-drives its new power.

¶19 There is a reason that a state employee pay raise through constitutional amendment has never been utilized before. The Oklahoma Constitution sets forth precise appropriations procedures for the Legislature to utilize, and the Legislature only. This proposed provision thwarts a core function of the Legislature and clashes with other constitutional provisions which control the appropriations process. See Okla. Const. art. 5, §§ 55-56;4 Okla. Const. art. 13A, § 3; 5 Okla. Const. art. 13, § 1A.6 In essence, Initiative Petition No. 403 contains internal logrolling and causes external logrolling of other relevant constitutional provisions...

¶24 Public support for a public-school-teacher pay raise is very high in this state. I could not agree more that it is a noble goal and purpose. Yet this Court has an obligation to follow the rule of law and the Constitution. And when such a well-supported measure is used as a Trojan horse to add provisions into the Constitution which are only tangentially related to public-school-teacher pay raises, the Constitution and the Court become the gatekeepers. The voters should decide these issues, but they should not be forced to support public-school-teacher raises along with an increase in the sales tax, the marriage of common education and higher education, and an increase in the power of the Board of Equalization all in one vote. I respectfully dissent.

Oklahoma State Question 777 proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Oklahoma. It would add a new Section 38 to Article 2, which would read:

Section 38. To protect agriculture as a vital sector of Oklahoma's economy, which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security and is the foundation and stabilizing force of Oklahoma's economy, the rights of farmers and ranchers citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. The Legislature shall pass no law which abridges the right of citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify any provision of common law or statutes relating to trespass, eminent domain, dominance of mineral interests, easements, rights of way or any other property rights. Nothing in this section shall be construed to modify or affect any statute or ordinance enacted by the Legislature or any political subdivision prior to December 31, 2014.

shallwegather-webimage2.jpgThis proposed amendment began life as HJR 1012 during the 2015 legislative session. The House approved it 90-6; the Senate approved a different version 39-6; then the House adopted the Senate version by an 85-7 vote.

The markup above shows the changes from the original House version to the version finally approved by both Senate and House. The original House version said "farmers and ranchers" instead of "citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma"; the change was made on the House floor. The Senate version added "dominance of mineral interests, easements, rights of way" before "or any other property rights." The Senate version also added the final sentence grandfathering any laws enacted in 2014 (the session prior to passage of this resolution) or earlier.

There are active, evidently well-funded campaigns on each side of the issue. The "yes" website is http://www.oklahomarighttofarm.com/, the "no" website is http://www.votenoon777.com/.

There seems to be a good deal of propaganda on each side of the issue, aiming to provoke an emotional response rather than argue the pros and cons.

While SQ 776 aims to disarm judicial activists, SQ 777 hands them a loaded howitzer. On the Oklahoma Right to Farm FAQ page, the vote yes folks say, "Oklahoma's courts will ultimately determine the scope of Right to Farm." How about we determine the scope before we approve it?

Two other states have approved a similar constitutional provision. North Dakota passed such a bill by a 2-to-1 margin in 2012; Missouri by a very slim margin in 2014. On the other hand, this year, North Dakota voters reaffirmed the state's ban on corporate farming.

This is a bit of a tangent, but I've seen some people claim that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is behind SQ 777. Today I even saw the claim that "ALEC runs Oklahoma." That's like saying Ree Drummond runs my kitchen because we use some of her recipes. ALEC is an organization where limited-government, free-market legislators can exchange ideas and share solutions. (It's analogous to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which serves legislators who are looking for solutions involving bigger government. The main difference is that ALEC is privately funded, and NCSL receives tax dollars.) Some of those solutions involve model legislation, providing a starting point which legislators can adapt to their specific goals and the unique circumstances of each state.

In the case of "Right to Farm," SQ 777 shares a name with ALEC's model right-to-farm legislation, but little else. The ALEC model bill is statutory, not constitutional, and it includes specific definitions that SQ 777 lacks. The ALEC model bill provides a process for handling complaints against farmers; SQ 777 has nothing of the sort.

While I appreciate the concerns of groups like the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, I don't believe that a constitutional amendment like that proposed in SQ 777 is the right solution. I will be voting NO -- AGAINST SQ 777.

Thanks to the support of generous donors (see the Spotlight sidebar on the home page for a list), here is the first in the BatesLine series on the state questions on the Oklahoma 2016 ballot. We will seek to get behind the ballot titles to the legal substance of the question and try to uncover the history, rationale, and people behind each proposal.

State Question 776 is a legislative referendum that would add a new Section 9A to the Constitution of Oklahoma. This new section would say:

All statutes of this state requiring, authorizing, imposing or relating to the death penalty are in full force and effect, subject to legislative amendment or repeal by statute, initiative or referendum. Any method of execution shall be allowed, unless prohibited by the United States Constitution. Methods of execution may be designated by the Legislature. A sentence of death shall not be reduced on the basis that a method of execution is invalid. In any case in which an execution method is declared invalid, the death sentence shall remain in force until the sentence can be lawfully executed by any valid method. The death penalty provided for under such statutes shall not be deemed to be, or to constitute, the infliction of cruel or unusual punishments, nor shall such punishment be deemed to contravene any other provision of this Constitution.

As Section 9A, it would fall immediately after Section 9, which is identical to the 8th Amendment to the Federal Constitution.

SQ 776 began as Senate Joint Resolution 31, which was was unanimously recommended by Senate and House committees, passed unanimously by the State Senate, and passed by an 80-10 vote in the State House. I have heard people ignorantly claim that the legislature is punting the issue to the voters, but under Article 24, amendments to the Oklahoma Constitution must be ratified by a vote of the people, whether they originate as an initiative petition or as legislation.

Audio of the Senate SJR31 floor presentation and debate is available online. On that page, click the SJR31 link in the left sidebar. This will advance the audio to that point in the session and also bring up the bill summary and history for further exploration. You can also watch video of the House SJR31 floor debate; click the "Agenda" tab and then the SJR31 link. The House Rules Committee discussion is here, which you'll find a more detailed discussion of the rationale behind this proposal.

If you put this amendment in a spray can, the label would read "Judicial Activism Repellent." This is an attempt to defend Oklahoma's use of capital punishment against a number of back-door strategies being employed by death-penalty opponents who know they can't win a direct attempt to delete the death penalty from Oklahoma law.

Activists have been pressuring drug companies to stop making the drugs used for lethal injections. As supplies of drugs needed for reliable and tested combinations have dried up, states have been forced to find new sources and new combinations of drugs in order to carry out the law. Application of these new combinations isn't straightforward, leading to errors as in the case of Clayton Lockett. That in turn leads to public outcry, a positive outcome from the perspective of death-penalty opponents.

During the House Rules committee discussion of the proposal, State Rep. Mike Christian mentioned a concern that the U. S. Supreme Court would ban lethal injection as "cruel and unusual punishment," making it urgent to find an alternative method (nitrogen hypoxia was mentioned as a new possibility in addition to electrocution and firing squad) and clearing a constitutional path to move existing cases to any new method.

old_sparky.jpgOf course, the only reason we are using lethal injection is because these same death-penalty opponents protested electrocution, hanging, and firing squad as inhumane.

The proposed amendment attempts to address problems raised by this situation. While methods of execution would continue to be limited by the "cruel and unusual" clause of the 8th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, state judges would be barred from going beyond federal precedent to find additional methods of execution cruel and unusual under the Oklahoma Constitution.

Under the proposed amendment, a person is sentenced to death and not to a specific method of execution, so that a death-row convict will not be spared just because the expected method is unavailable.

"Shall not be deemed" in the final sentence is a restraint on activism by the State Supreme Court: They aren't allowed to comb the State Constitution for some other pretext for halting executions. If SQ 776 passes, the judges can't disingenuously imagine ambiguity or silence on the issue.

It's sad that this sort of amendment is necessary, but our theocratic method of selecting judges and justices means we wind up with a legal priesthood that selects a Sanhedrin of judges whose values are out of sync with the people they rule. Under the principle of self-government, judges should be of the people -- sharing the views and values of the people, but wiser, more consistent, and capable of reconciling conflicting circumstances. (The evolution of modern America makes more sense when seen as a decades-long process of colonization and proselytizing by a worldview alien to that which framed our Constitution, built the nation, and carried us through the Great Depression and World War II.)

I will vote YES, FOR SQ 776.

As is usual about three weeks before an election, I've received several requests for a voters' guide. Already voters who plan to be out of town are getting ready to cast an absentee ballot. If the presidential race weren't perplexing enough, we also have to decide seven state questions and whether or not to retain State Supreme Court justices and criminal and civil appeals court judges.

Even before I had a blog, it was common for friends to ask my opinion in the run-up to election day. One of the reasons I started a blog was to be able to "refer the honorable gentleman [or lady] to the answer I gave some moments ago."

I'm happy to be of service, and I'm honored by the trust BatesLine readers place in my judgment. But it takes time to do the research and to turn that research into writing. Although I'd be doing some of that research anyway, for my own use in voting, it takes much less time to read and study enough to decide my own vote than it does to gather and organize and present an article capable of providing the BatesLine readership with not only my opinion but my reasons and research, too.

My family and my employer have dibs on my time, and it seems my free time is quickly eaten up with yard work and laundry, and I'm behind on both. There's money invested, too, in hosting and domain fees -- the basics to keep BatesLine online -- and there's often some expense in doing research.

So before I invest that time in gathering and presenting this information to you, let me ask you, dear reader. What's it worth to you?

If the information you get here on BatesLine, particularly during election season, is valuable to you, there are some tangible ways to show your support:

The first way is to hit the PayPal tip jar over on the right sidebar. You can use your PayPal account or a major credit card to make a contribution to BatesLine. I don't have any totebags to send you in return, but I'll publish your name and donation amount on a list of contributors which will be prominently linked through election season (unless you ask me to withhold either name or amount).

The second way is to buy an ad on BatesLine. BatesLine readership is always at its highest in the run-up to an election, so it's a great time for a candidate (or any business that wants the attention of politically active Oklahomans) to run an ad. Even if you're not a candidate, you could still run an ad in support of your favorite candidate. (You're responsible for reporting it as an in-kind donation to the campaign.) Ads start as low as $30 a week for a text-only spot, $50 a week for a small ad with text and an image. There are discounts for multiple weeks.

Finally, if you need a good webhosting company, click the ad for bluehost. I get a small commission for new clients who sign up via my link. I've used bluehost for years, and I highly recommend their service.

That's the soft sell. Here's the hard sell, in the spirit of the late, great Gene Scott: I'm not going to blog about the Oklahoma 2016 election until you people GIT ONNA PHONES PAYPAL and demonstrate the value of the teaching.

Play "I Wanna Know"!

To put it more plainly, I'll start posting stories about the state questions and judicial races once there's been a response that indicates genuine interest.

While donations are welcome, a BatesLine ad is a smart move, giving you, your company, or your visibility with the thousands of Oklahoma voters who'll be dropping by over the next few weeks.

(NOTE: I reserve the right to reject ads or contributions. Reasons for rejection may be arbitrary or capricious but more likely will be so I can avoid posting something on my blog that advocates for a cause or a candidate that's anathema to me.)

Brett Farley resigned his post Saturday as Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Republican Party after the party chairman refused to issue a statement calling on Donald Trump to withdraw from the presidential race.

Writing on his blog, Farley said that he sent a message Saturday morning urging OKGOP chairman Pam Pollard to release a statement along the following lines:

"The Republican Party was founded to promote certain principles, rights and values that befit a free and moral people and to advance candidates for office who will defend them. It has been demonstrated finally and without question by this most recent revelation of what Donald Trump has said and what he said he does that he is wholly unfit to continue as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. We, the Republican Party of Oklahoma, join the growing chorus of party leaders and elected officials around the country in demanding that Mr. Trump withdraw as a candidate for president in order that the Republican National Committee may begin the necessary process to select an alternate nominee who will more appropriately represent our party and its members."

Farley explains his strong objections to Trump's conduct in the context of his role as a father of daughters:

I am the father of three daughters with a fourth daughter due in February. One of my greatest joys of late has been teaching my oldest daughter of twelve years about the sort of character and Christian ethic that befits a man worthy to call himself one day her husband and my son-in-law. I cannot and I will not, then, through some twisted logic attempt in the same breath to justify a vote for a man who is the quintessential opposite of everything I am teaching her to expect in a man. To put a finer point on it, I cannot bring myself to place a mark next to the name of a man whom I cannot trust to be alone in a room with my daughters.

Once upon a time the word 'party' meant more than simply a letter after a candidate's name. Not so long ago, membership in a political party meant necessarily that one ascribed to a set of principles and policies that he or she believed along with fellow members would aid our republic in creating a brighter future for our posterity. That word now clearly rings hollow.

If many of my Republican colleagues are to be believed, we have some sort of unholy imperative to cast a vote for a man simply for the fact that the letter 'R' follows his name, despite that that man has publicly professed values and positions in recent years -- and in many cases within recent months -- that are diametrically opposed to the very platform passed by the same delegates who gave him our party's nomination.

Farley dismissed the "Trump because SCOTUS" argument:

Never before has our party so willingly turned a deaf ear to history and practical political reality until now. Even in our best days, Presidents Reagan and Bush, solidly conservative Republicans, managed to appoint justices to the Supreme Court who gave the deciding votes in some of the most egregious decisions in the Court's history. Yet these same colleagues argue that we can trust a man who has broken promises to customers, business partners, wives and God himself to uphold his tentative pledge to nominate conservative justices.

Farley contrasted the GOP's rejection of Bill Clinton's sleazy behavior with the party's embrace of the same sort of sleaziness with an (R) after it.

December 17, 1998, my 22nd birthday, is a date I will never forget. It was the date originally scheduled for the impeachment vote by the House of Representatives for President William Jefferson Clinton. I recall vividly watching the television two days later at a Pizza Hut just off the campus of the University of Oklahoma as Republican members of the House voted finally to impeach. They did so after having concluded that the unbecoming behavior and subsequent obstruction and perjury by Clinton met the threshold for 'high crimes and misdemeanors."

Not even 20 years hence a majority of the members of that same party have nominated a man who publicly brags about that same felonious behavior. Not only has he refused to repent of his transgressions, Donald Trump celebrates them in the worst instance and, at best, offers a token apology that "some may have been offended." Is this what our party stands for today? Is this the man we want our children and grandchildren to look to as the exemplar of that "shining city on a hill"? I pray not.

In a Monday Facebook update, Farley stated that he "declined numerous on-camera and in-studio interviews because the story isn't about me; it's about the future of our party, our state and our country."

I respect Farley's willingness to take a stand at the cost of his livelihood.

I am disappointed in many of my Oklahoma Republican friends -- specifically our state party leaders -- who did not use the power at their disposal to stop Trump from becoming the nominee. The Oklahoma GOP executive committee could have nominated a slate of delegates to fight against Trump's nomination at the National Convention. Instead, Oklahoma GOP leadership decided to pretend that this was a normal year. They cooperated with rule changes that make it harder, if not impossible, for future conventions to block unfit candidates from receiving the nomination, that put our party's future at the whim of primary voters swayed by mass media.

We didn't have to face this disgusting dilemma between two major-party candidates who are both morally and ethically unfit to serve as George Washington's successor as our nation's Chief Executive.

RELATED: Evangelical theologian Wayne Grudem has walked back his earlier statement that voting for Trump was a moral choice and is now calling on Trump to step aside.

There is no morally good presidential candidate in this election. I previously called Donald Trump a "good candidate with flaws" and a "flawed candidate" but I now regret that I did not more strongly condemn his moral character. I cannot commend Trump's moral character, and I strongly urge him to withdraw from the election.

His vulgar comments in 2005 about his sexual aggression and assaults against women were morally evil and revealed pride in conduct that violates God's command, "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). I have now read transcripts of some of his obscene interviews with Howard Stern, and they turned my stomach. His conduct was hateful in God's eyes and I urge him to repent and call out to God for forgiveness, and to seek forgiveness from those he harmed. God intends that men honor and respect women, not abuse them as sexual objects.

Some may criticize me for not discovering this material earlier, and I think they are right. I did not take the time to investigate earlier allegations in detail, and I now wish I had done so. If I had read or heard some of these materials earlier, I would not have written as positively as I did about Donald Trump. I am grateful that Townhall.com has agreed to remove my earlier statement.

Grudem goes on to explain his dilemma: He is "deeply reluctant to simply walk away from the process in disgust, or vote for a write-in candidate," he is sympathetic to the concern that "voting for either candidate will destroy our Christian witness for the future," and he is concerned about the implications of a Clinton victory:

What if we fail to vote against the liberal support for abortion rights, government imposition of gender confusion on our children, hate speech laws used to silence Christians, and government-sanctioned exclusion of thousands of Christians from their lifelong occupations because they won't bow to the homosexual agenda -- will our failure to oppose these evils also destroy our Christian witness for the future? Will our grandchildren ask us why we failed to stop the imminent triumph of anti-Christian liberal tyranny when we had the ability to do so?

As to how I will vote, I honestly don't know at this point. The election is still a month away. I have friends on both sides who are surprised that I do not find this an easy question to decide. But I do not find it an easy question. I continue to pray and seek God's wisdom, and ask that God will yet provide a better solution.

Grudem concludes by calling on Christians to turn their eyes to God's sovereignty:

Though we may be tempted to become fearful or despondent, this turmoil in our nation provides a wonderful opportunity to renew our faith in God each day, "for kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations" (Psalm 22:28). We should continue to pray, mindful of what Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon long ago: "The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will" (Daniel 4:17).

This was the problem: I had a hard drive that I took out of a Windows XP laptop and put into an external case. (The laptop's AC system failed; an adapter could no longer power the system or charge the battery.) The drive was formatted for NTFS, so files had ownership and permissions attributes. I could access most of the drive, but my profile was inaccessible, because it was owned by my username on the old laptop, which had a unique security ID (SID), different from the SID of my account on the new laptop. I needed to grant myself access to view and do other things with the files. To do this, however, I first had to take ownership of the files.

First attempt was to use TAKEOWN, a built-in Microsoft Windows 7 command, with the /R (recursive) flag. The problem with that is that, like most Windows utilities, when it hits an error (can't access a file, for example) it just stops, and there's no way to resume the operation where you left off.

The other thing I learned was that you also need to use ICACLS, another Microsoft utility, to add permissions to read files, traverse folders, etc.

I looked for existing solutions but didn't find anything satisfactory. For example, this looked like a more robust solution, but PowerShell was too much to learn from scratch.

So I wrote a Perl script that iterates down the folder tree, takes ownership of each file and folder for the Administrators group, then adds full control permission for Everyone to each file and folder (note that it doesn't replace any existing permission). Any error messages are written to a log file, specified as the second argument in the command line. The script has to be Run as Administrator, so you either need to run it in a CMD window or (my preference) Emacs shell buffer that you started by right-clicking and choosing "Run as Administrator" from the popup. (The advantage of an Emacs shell buffer is that you capture any messages within an unlimited buffer that you can easily search through and write to a file.)

It would be possible to customize this so that you gave ownership to a different user and were more selective about the access permissions you add (e.g. read only, permission only for certain users), but this method accomplishes my limited purposes.

Don't panic when the first few calls to ICACLS seem to take a long time to run. It isn't doing a recursive ICACLS operation, but a change to a higher-level folder could have impacts via inheritance that may take some time to complete.

In the spirit of giving back, here's my script for your reference, with no warranties or claims. Use at your own risk.

# Perl script to recurse the file tree from the specified starting
# point, taking ownership of each file for the Administrators group;
# then giving Everyone full control permissions.

# Takes two arguments: 
# (1) The path (relative to the current directory) of the folder at the
# root of the folder tree whose permissions you want to reset.  
# (2) A logfile showing which subfolders have been processed and any
# errors encountered.

# This is intended to be used when removing an NTFS disk from a
# laptop, so that you can put the disk into an external enclosure and
# access files that may have been private to a Profile that is no
# longer available.

use strict;

my $basedir = shift;
my $logfile = shift;
open LOGFILE, ">$logfile" or die "Could not open log file $logfile: $!";

# We have to take owner

&takeownperms ( $basedir );
&traversedir ( $basedir );

sub traversedir 
    my $currentdir = shift;

    print "Processing $currentdir\n";
    print LOGFILE "Processing $currentdir\n";

    my $dirhandle;
    my $opendirresult = opendir $dirhandle, $currentdir;
    if ( ! $opendirresult ) 
	print LOGFILE "Could not open $currentdir: $!";

    my @files = readdir $dirhandle;
    closedir $dirhandle;

    my @dirlist;

    # Iterate through files. Recurse for directories

    foreach my $file (@files)
	# Current directory is already done
	next if $file =~ /^\.$/;

	# Skip "directory up" entry
	next if $file =~ /^\.\.$/;

	my $path = "$currentdir\\$file";

	&takeownperms ( $path );

	# Test for directory
	if ( -d $path )
	    push @dirlist, $path;

    # Recurse to lower-level directories

    foreach my $dir ( @dirlist )

sub takeownperms
    my $path = shift;

    # Take ownership

    my @takeownresultlines;
    my $takeownsucceeded = 0;
    my @icaclsresultlines;
    my $icaclssucceeded = 0;
    @takeownresultlines = readpipe "TAKEOWN /F \"$path\" /A 2>&1";
    # Log TAKEOWN errors
    foreach my $line ( @takeownresultlines )
	next if $line =~ /^\s*$/;
	if ( $line =~ /^SUCCESS:/ ) 
	    $takeownsucceeded = 1;
    if ( not $takeownsucceeded )
	print LOGFILE "TAKEOWN FAILED: $path\n";
	foreach my $line ( @takeownresultlines )
	    # Echo all non-blank lines to the logfile
	    next if $line =~ /^\s*$/;
	    print LOGFILE $line;
    # Add permission
    if ( $takeownsucceeded )
    	@icaclsresultlines = 
    	    readpipe "ICACLS \"$path\" /grant Everyone:(F) 2>&1";
    	foreach my $line ( @icaclsresultlines )
    	    next if $line =~ /^\s*$/;
    	    if ( $line =~ /^Successfully processed 1 files;/ ) 
    		$icaclssucceeded = 1;
    	if ( not $icaclssucceeded )
    	    print LOGFILE "ICACLS FAILED: $path\n";
    	    foreach my $line ( @icaclsresultlines )
    		# Echo all non-blank lines to the logfile
    		next if $line =~ /^\s*$/;
    		print LOGFILE $line;

A good explanation of SIDs and why a multi-pass process is necessary, along with bibliography. This suggests an approach to make a new SID the creator-owner of a file.

Using the Windows Explorer GUI to accomplish the task: A bit more user friendly, but, as noted above, if Windows hits a problem in the middle of a long, recursive task, it will stop and there will be no easy way to tell how far things got or to resume the process where it left off.

The Win32::Security::ACL Perl module would have been another approach, but it would have required a better understanding of ACLs and inheritance, this is a beta version, and the documentation doesn't separate external behavior from internal design, so it's rather confusing.

Here is a press release from a month ago about the Center for Women's Studies at Northeastern State University. NSU is funded by the taxpayers of Oklahoma (with additional subsidies from people who shop in Broken Arrow) and governed by the board of regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma. Emphasis added.

Northeastern_State_University_Logo.pngNSU, College of Liberal Arts announce new director of the Center for Women's Studies

(Tahlequah, Oklahoma)--In 2015, the Institute for Women's Policy Research gave Oklahoma an overall grade of D+. Dr. Suzanne Farmer, the new director of Northeastern State University's Center for Women's Studies, is one of many working to change that grade. A professor of history at NSU since 2011, Farmer has served as co-director of the center since 2013.

The Center for Women's Studies is a multidisciplinary, integrated program that seeks to empower NSU students to become socially responsible global citizens through fostering learning about gender roles and relations across cultures and history. Honoring both the university's history as a female seminary and the legacy of Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation and Sequoyah Fellow at NSU, the Women's Studies program prioritizes study of minority women, indigenous women and women's leadership.

Farmer said that it is an honor to be named director of the center, where she is able to highlight national and regional issues that affect women in Oklahoma.

"Historically, the roots of Northeastern State are firmly planted in female Cherokee education, and as a historian, that continues to inspire me," Farmer said.

Dr. Phil Bridgmon, professor and dean of Liberal Arts, said that the College of Liberal Arts made a wise choice in selecting Farmer for this role.

"She has shown very capable initiative and leadership as co-director, and we expect that she will continue to heighten awareness of issues facing women particularly in Oklahoma, and globally," Bridgmon said.

Courses in the Women's Studies program support many of the university's core values and goals: promoting an environment of learning and discovery, full inclusion, civic engagement, along with encouraging global knowledge and cultural sensitivity.

Objectives of the Women's Studies program include teaching the history of women's movements in the United States and other countries, bringing attention to the issues facing women in Oklahoma, raising the global consciousness of women's and gender issues, investigating the way gender intersects with social movements, education, society, history, criminal justice, politics, communication, the arts, family life, and popular culture and encouraging activism and other forms of civic engagement around women's issues.

Farmer would like to see the center become a center of advocacy for the region and a touchstone for women in the Green Country community.

"We plan to continue to seek out programming that emphasizes our goal of making NSU students socially responsible global citizens, but I also hope to include members of the community and our alumni as we work to build up the center's presence here on campus and in the region," Farmer said.

At a university founded as a female seminary, where approximately two-thirds of NSU students are women, and in a state where many social issues disproportionately affect women, Bridgmon places high importance on the success of the center.

"We must continue to do our best when honoring our past, serving our students, and influencing a better world through awareness and service. The Center for Women's Studies is an important part of these efforts within the College of Liberal Arts."

For more information on the Center for Women's Studies, please visit www.nsuok.edu/ws.

Published: 8/30/2016 5:11:12 PM

Notice the highlighted phrases: "empower," "heighten awareness," "raising the global consciousness," "encouraging activism," "influencing." This is not an academic enterprise. The NSU Women's Studies Center is engaged in activism, advocacy, and evangelism for a particular religious perspective using public dollars, arguably in violation of Oklahoma's Constitution, the same provision that was used to remove the Ten Commandments from the grounds of the State Capital. Note too what's acting as the spur: A radical feminist organization's D+ grade for Oklahoma, based on Oklahoma voters' rejection of radical feminist views of family and the value of human life.

If you want to understand how feminism, working through college women's studies programs, works as a corrosive influence on our culture, I encourage you to browse the research done by reporter Stacy McCain in his "Sex Trouble" series. A couple of years ago McCain decided to read the textbooks that are often assigned by college women's studies courses and to report on the destructive ideas they promote. At the same time, he has investigated how those ideas have influenced popular thinking as it emerges in blogs and on social media. He has serialized his research on his blog, "The Other McCain," and has produced the first edition of his research in book form, Sex Trouble: Essays on Radical Feminism and the War against Human Nature (available in softcover and Kindle), and is working on an expanded second edition.

Scholars combing through historical documents to understand how women's roles in family and society have changed over the centuries would be a worthy academic pursuit, no more or less worthy of state subsidy, I suppose, than other historical research. Advocating for a worldview, particularly one that has been destructive of civilization, is not worthy of our tax dollars. NSU's regents should shut down the center. If they're unwilling to take such a step, they should be replaced as soon as opportunity allows.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2016 is the previous archive.

November 2016 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]