Why did Drew cross Arkansas?

May 31st, 2006

To get to the other side.

The Arkansas Times blog posts another win for Oklahoma in the battle against irresponsible poultry companies fouling our waterways.

U.S. Magistrate Sam Joyner today rejected motions filed by Arkansas poultry companies that would have prevented Oklahoma from taking soil and water samples from chicken farms as part of its pollution lawsuit against the companies.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson said they will begin taking the samples as soon as they can. Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe, who has tried to intervene in behalf of the poultry companies, had no comment.

However, some visitor to that blog had a comment:

I like Beebe

I hate Oklahoma

But Edmondson is a good Democrat and is dead on in this lawsuit.

And its not about protecting the farmers…the farmers are treated like sharecroppers by Tyson’s. They have no problems taking all the profits while putting all the risk on the local farmer and then when somebody like the EPA steps in Tyson’s hides behind the independent contractor agreement and pretends they have absolutely no connection.

Tyson has made a nice penny in this gambit I think it might be time they help the farmer and our environment

I agree with him on two things.

Hobson down, but not out

May 31st, 2006

Add state senator Cal Hobson to the list of candidates for Lt. Governor.

Hobson tells The Associated Press he’ll announce his campaign during a news conference on Thursday. He becomes the seventh candidate in the race.

Hobson has the qualities to make a good lt. governor. However, he also carries some baggage.

Hobson joins the race with another familiar name in the Norman area, longtime Republican, and now Independent candidate, E.Z. Million.

“My No. 1 priority is to make sure that the OU-Texas football game is played here in Norman on Oct. 7, 2006,” Million said.

Remind me why I like the idea of Independent candidates again.

Do we really need gay rodeos?

May 30th, 2006

I’ve been to many rodeos and never once cared about a contestant’s sexual orientation.
So I simply don’t get why this even comes up:

Fear keeps many winners anonymous at gay rodeo

OKLAHOMA CITY- Some participants of this weekend’s gay rodeo say they are afraid to use their real name in the event.

Officials say this year marks the 21st annual Great Plains Rodeo sponsored by the Oklahoma Gay Rodeo Association.

Many of the cowboys say they fear their reputations will be ruined if people from their businesses, churches or civic groups found out about their sexual orientation.

  1. How do you tell a gay rodeo from any other?
  2. Why is a person’s sexual preference even part of a rodeo?
  3. Why is there a need for a Gay Rodeo Association? Can’t homosexuals buck broncos just like heterosexuals?
  4. Is the livestock gay too? And,
  5. am I going to wonder about such things at the next rodeo I go to?

State Farm and Oklahoma tort reform

May 30th, 2006

You may have heard that some folks in Mississippi who were insured with State Farm are having some problems getting their claims paid. About 700 of them are claiming

State Farm hired Dallas-based Haag, which the plaintiffs claim drafted a generic report that concluded all damage to homes on Mississippi Gulf Coast was caused by “storm surge” and not hurricane-force winds.

They’ll be glad to hear about this Oklahoma jury verdict against State Farm pulling the same type of stuff here on claims in the 1999 tornado:

… the jury decided Donald L. Watkins Jr. and Bridget Watkins should receive more than $9.9 million in punitive damages on top of $3 million in actual damages

… the Watkinses are only one of 71 policyholders who are part of class-action litigation against State Farm related to the May 3, 1999, storm that caused an outbreak of tornadoes in Oklahoma.

In fact, Marr said, it is possible that the class could swell to as many 10,000 policyholders, depending on future court rulings.

Damn! State Farm better get some Oklahoma legislators to move on a tort reform law to limit non-economic damages to $300,000. Something they wouldn’t do to protect companies that get caught screwing their customers, but because tort reform supporters insist insurance premiums would be so much lower. However, California’s Insurance Commissioner isn’t so sure.

Homeowners insurers are paying only 25 to 30 cents on claims for each dollar of premium they collect, Garamendi said Thursday.

But who can trust a government bureaucrat? Let’s see just how hard State Farm profits were hammered by Katrina’s wrath last year. Their figures from homeowners and commercial multiple peril (CMP) lines of business in 2005:

Earned premiums were $15.0 billion, an increase of 5.7 percent from 2004. The incurred claims and loss expenses were $9.6 billion …

Comparable 2004 figures were: earned premiums, $14.2 billion; incurred claims and loss expenses, $9.3 billion

Boy, does State Farm know how to insure! We’ll have to watch Oklahoma legislators to see how good they can lobby.

Cox Communications lacking in OKC

May 30th, 2006

Steve Lackmeyer has a good question:

When Cox Communications paid $1.7 million to rename the Myriad the Cox Business Services Convention Center, city leaders were promised the deal would result in providing visitors cutting edge technology for conferences and meetings.

So why, four years later, is a visitor left without wireless Internet connection at the convention center when one can find it down the street at the Uncommon Grounds Coffee Shop?

Sooner politics, more of the same

May 30th, 2006

I was a little disappointed reading an article in the Oklahoma Gazette last week by fellow Okie, Keith Gaddie, who is a political science professor at OU and used to publish a political blog at SoonerPolitics.com. His point was the importance of electing the most influential candidate for representative of Oklahoma’s 5th District.

Gaddie says he has been thinking for some time

about the relative power of the Oklahoma delegation, and what the lessons of power hold for a new legislator from District 5.

Our senators rank favorably but the House delegation is a weak sister.

Despite having good committee assignments, they engage in no legislative activity, don’t bring home the bacon and exercise little influence in the chamber.

Of our four returning representatives, three rank in the bottom third of the chamber in terms of power. [Rep. Frank Lucas is the exception.]

Which strikes me as refuting his own argument, and a slap in the face to perhaps Oklahoma’s most politically astute congressmen, Rep. Tom Cole.

Cole is a major figure in contemporary Oklahoma politics….Cole served in the Oklahoma State Senate from 1988 to 1991 as a Republican, resigning mid-term to accept a job in Washington. From 1995 to 1999, he was the Oklahoma Secretary of State under Frank Keating… He has also served as Chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party…

Cole has been heavily involved in national politics as well, having served both as Executive Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee and as Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee. He also spent two years working as a paid consultant for the United States Chamber of Commerce. But Cole’s primary involvement in politics has been as a political consultant. His firm (Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass and Associates) played a large part in the reconstruction of Oklahoma’s political landscape, and backed a number of candidates that took office during the Republican Revolution of 1994. Among their clients have been Frank Keating, J.C. Watts, Tom Coburn, Frank Lucas, Mary Fallin, Wes Watkins, Steve Largent, Mississippi congressman Chip Pickering, and Hawaii governor Linda Lingle

If Rep. Cole is a “weak sister”, I sure as hell don’t know what kind of congressional candidate Gaddie is expecting to find.

One must be able to get beyond navigating the social dynamic of Washington and be able to speak the code with knowledge…

But do we really want to add another one of these types to Congress? Manipulators that try to out manipulate other manipulators? Politicians that are steeped in Washington code and double-talk? Give me a plain talker and political social gadfly who I can trust, any day. Even if it happens to be someone I mostly disagree with. Someone like “favorably” rated first term senator Tom Coburn; the closest successful politician to an Independent Oklahoma has. Another congressman like that from Oklahoma would be nice. (Though not necessarily exactly like that.)

Okie educators pander religion to students

May 30th, 2006

The ‘Da Vinci Code’ sure stirred things up in the Christian world. Especially for being a fictional story. What I don’t get is why people give a work of fiction so much credence by spending time debunking it.

Oklahoma Panhandle State Plans To Study “The Da Vinci Code”

There is so much that a student can learn about the evidence of Christ and Christianity inside ‘The Da Vinci Code,”‘ said Sam Collins, a Church of Christ minister who teaches adjunct liberal arts courses at Oklahoma Panhandle State University in Goodwell.

“Whether students come out thinking that ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is true or false, they’ve been forced to think critically and historically about the issues,” Jones said.

Next semester, I’m thinking Star Wars would be a popular study topic. Oops, too late.

Blowin’ in the wind

May 29th, 2006

Sounds nice in Tulsa tonight.

The incredible fear the future holds is powerful. It’s ever-present, and sometimes the hardest thing we can do in this life is turn and face it. Luckily, on those certain nights, in those certain months, in that certain little town in Oklahoma, a warm breeze will meet you as you turn into the future, and remind you that everything will be okay.

I got bit by a mosquito.

How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Bob Dylan

Why Okies shouldn’t stay in New York too long

May 28th, 2006

It will soften you up.

A good sign you grew up in Oklahoma but then left for a long period of time in which you became a wuss of epic proportions is …

More important than the budget

May 28th, 2006

As usual, Oklahoma legislators could not finish their business in the time allotted for this year’s legislative session. Since extended special sessions for certain issues are popular with many lawmakers, but generally frowned upon by the public, the governor always faces a tough decision on whether to extended the session. And the decision is even tougher in an election year. But this year the decision is easy; the state has too much money and doesn’t know how to spend it.

Speaker Todd Hiett on Thursday issued the following statement after the governor issued a call for a special session to address state budget issues:

I’m disappointed that we could not achieve a final budget agreement before the end of the regular session….

We wish this process had started weeks ago…. Special sessions cost taxpayers money, and there should be no foot-dragging on this issue.

However, legislators had to first take time with other, more important issues like these:

  • A sales tax exemption for sales of tickets for admission to a professional sporting event involving ice hockey, baseball, basketball, football or arena football or soccer
  • A 60-day time limit for municipalities to notify the county treasurer of the cost of causing property within the municipal limits to be cleaned of trash and weeds or grass to be cut or mowed
  • Allow absent students participating in an academic excellence program to be counted as in attendance if the reason for the absence is as a result of an award earned for academic achievement
  • Change the name of the Legislative Oversight Committee on State Budget Performance to the Fiscal Analysis Investigation and Review Committee (FAIR Committee)

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