In Sunday’s paper, the Oklahoman profiled new House Speaker T.W. Shannon and his GOP majority caucus. The article went out of its way to let you know that all is well with the Oklahoma Republican party:
Shannon, elected speaker last month, downplays talk that a fringe element exists among House Republicans.
The first glimpse of how strong a grip House Speaker T.W. Shannon has over the largest-ever House GOP caucus should be shown Monday, the first day of the legislative session…
Shannon, elected speaker last month, downplays talk that a fringe element exists among House Republicans.
“We’ve worked very hard to make sure there’s not a fringe, that everybody within our 70-plus member caucus has a voice at the table,” said Shannon, R-Lawton. “While certainly there are differences of opinion, I don’t pretend that we’re always going to agree — but my goal is that there wouldn’t be a fringe element, that every voice is represented. They represent 37,000 people and they should have a seat at the table.”
In the same article, House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-Del City) disagreed:
Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, and other House Democrats insist a contentious group exists among House Republicans, who outnumber Democrats 72-29…
Inman said the House Republican caucus “is deeply divided along an ideological fault line.”
“It sounds to me like he is anticipating more fringe-type legislation progressing in the House and if that happens that should be a concern for all of us because you don’t improve the state’s image nationwide,” Inman said.
Well, it looks like Inman may know the Republican caucus better than their own Speaker.
We’ve obtained through the Ogle Mole Network a letter sent by State Representative John Bennett (R - Sallisaw) to fellow lawmakers in hopes of forming a “Counterterrorism Caucus” in the Oklahoma legislature. The goal of the caucus would be to help educate and inform Oklahomans about the growing Muslim threat, and prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from “establishing world-wide rule” and “imposing Shariah law.” The letter shows that the fringe group of wackos is alive and well in the Oklahoma Republican party, and they are continuing to push their draconian platform of hate, intolerance and general bigotry.
The full text of the letter and some commentary is after the jump. You can view the PDF here.
I love it when our state’s legislators come up with good ideas. It doesn’t happen very often, so when it does I think we should stand up and applaud them for using the common sense God (and only God) gave them. The first, and last, newspaper I ever worked for reported about a bill that would restrict the use of welfare cash cards at places like strip clubs, casinos and liquor stores. It’s similar to a bill passed by the US house last year.
From the Shawnee News-Star:
Sen. Rob Standridge has filed legislation that would disallow the use of any welfare cash cards in strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos.
Senate Bill 667 states that no electronic benefit transfer card containing state or federal funds from programs including, but not limited to, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), may be used in such establishments.
Standridge said his proposal would work to ensure the funds are directed to their appropriate use – to provide support for the needy while they get back on their feet.
Now, last time I checked, strippers don’t take cards (Editor’s Note: Well, some do, but play along). Next time you go out for some adult entertainment, try swiping your card on a stripper. You will get thrown out, even if the card is from a real bank. Also, the only cards that slot machines take are the loyalty cards you get from the casino that keeps track of your spending habits. I suppose you could use your welfare card at a liquor store, which should be illegal. I don’t want my hard-earned tax dollars spent on anything fun. Which is why I propose that any and all legislators be banned from spending money earned from their position at strip clubs, casinos and/or liquor stores. If we are going to have the ability to give you our money, we should also be able to tell you how to spend it.
Continued from Shawnee News-Star:
“The aim of programs like TANF is to provide basic support for families while the recipient finds a new job,” said Standridge, R-Norman. “If these funds are wasted at strip clubs, liquor stores and casinos, then the programs can’t achieve their purpose. Taxpayers should never subsidize this sort of self-destructive behavior.”
In order for programs like TANF to work, Standridge noted, government must ensure recipients accept welfare under certain conditions. If not, funds that could put food on the table may be wasted in a manner that directly inhibits the recipient from getting a job, such as alcohol and drug abuse, gambling and other destructive behaviors.
“The misuse and mismanagement of welfare funds has a damaging impact on the families that need help the most,” Standridge said. “It contributes to child neglect and the deterioration of the family. As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to prevent this from happening.”
Let me tell you a little about State Senator Standridge, err, actually here a snippit from his website:
Always an entrepreneur at heart, Rob Standridge began his passion for small business in grade school going door to door throughout Midwest City selling anything he could sell.
Selling “anything he could sell”? That sounds like the behavior of someone that is involved in meth.
Oh, he also thinks government is too big and controlling:
Rob believes the size and scope of our government is out of control. We have gotten a long way from the ideals of our founding fathers, most notably the architect of our constitution, James Madison, who considered the necessity of government a misfortune. Government’s primary responsibility is to protect us from each other and from our common enemies. Sometimes through compassion but often for pursuit of power we have gradually drifted from the principles of government upon which we were founded. Rob does not believe in anarchy but believes we need to try to find our way back to the level of freedom our founders craved, risked their lives for, and won after much bloodshed. In our businesses and in our lives we are seeing government ever-encroaching further and further upon our freedoms and liberties.
I don’t know about you, but I want my government to be small enough to tell people how to spend their money, tell women what they are allowed to do with their bodies, make sure gay people aren’t allowed to marry, and to put one religion in all public schools. Yeah, that’s the small government I want!
OK, aside from all my snide remarks about Senator Standridge’s hypocrisy, I honestly think his bill does not go far enough. Why are those the only places that are being banned? I can think of a lot more places that welfare recipients shouldn’t be spending their money. They are as follows:
Even though she’s kind of weird, State Senator Constance Johnson has quickly become my favorite Oklahoma lawmaker. Last year she introduced a series of satirical amendments that were intended to show the hypocrisy of men who backed the personhood movement. One amendment prohibited depositing semen in places that are not a woman’s vagina, another banned vasectomies, and a third forced convicted rapists to get vasectomies and financially provide for their offspring. None of the amendments passed, but they all successfully made a point.
Anyway, this time around Senator Johnson has introduced a bill that both liberals and those “Get the gub’ment out of my private life” conservatives can rally behind. She wants to allow medical marijuana in Oklahoma!
This past week, the liberal website ThinkProgress.com released two clips of US Congressman James Lankford answering questions at an Oklahoma City Town Hall. Warning, the clips show graphic imagery of stupidity and ignorance.
In the first video, Lankford fielded a question about “the guns” and “psychiatric drugs.” Somehow, he found a way to give a response that blames gun violence on evil “welfare moms”who put their kids on psychiatric drugs with the goal of defrauding the government. The video is worth watching not just for Lankford’s ridiculous response, but to also get a chuckle at the Derplahoman who asked the question. She looks and speaks like the type of person who stays up late each night wearing a tin foil hat and looking out her window for black helicopters and the thought police. That is, of course, when she’s not listening to gospel hymns or Coast to Coast AM.
Normally we would dedicate an entire post to Lankford’s bizarre answer to that question, but his gun comment was quickly overshadowed by an exchange with his friend and fellow conservative theocratic nut Sally Kern. Here’s the video and transcript via Think Progress:
See the guy pictured above? That’s Oklahoma State Representative Josh Cockroft (seriously). He’s the Assistant Majority Whip of the State House and has introduced legislation to cut off all state funding to the Oklahoma Arts Council.
Here’s what Batman…err…Bruce Wayne…err…Josh had to say about the topic on his personal blog:
As many of you probably know by now, I have filed legislation to reduce and phase out appropriations given to the Oklahoma Arts Council. Currently, approximately $4 million is appropriated each year for the funding of the arts council. HB1895 would decrease the amount of appropriations given to the Council by 25% over four years. This bill is a result of a study group over the summer with several members and OCPA (Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs)…
The question each of us must ask is if we are properly funding the core functions of state government. If the answer is “no” in any area, it must be our responsibility to ensure that each taxpayer dollar is going to the funding of those core functions before we ever look at the many side projects of which we have been so ready to fund in years past. My goal is not to destroy the arts in Oklahoma, but rather to start a discussion of what our responsibilities are. I have nothing against the arts, in fact; quite the contrary. However, I do not support the misuse of taxpayer’s dollars. Every dollar saved from these side projects is a dollar better spent for our education system, state employees, and agencies across Oklahoma.
Two quick questions for Mr. Cockroft. If your goal is to not destroy the arts in Oklahoma, then why introduce legislation that would help destroy the arts in Oklahoma? That would be like saying “Hey, I don’t want to burn down the barn, but let me go toss a lit match in that field of very tall dry grass that’s located right next to the barn.”
Also, you write “I have nothing against the arts, in fact; quite the contrary.” Oh, you don’t say? Care to share with us??? Because for some reason, I get the feeling that “quite the contrary” involves judging middle school art shows, browsing posters in Hobby Lobby, and drawing doodles during house committee meetings.
Seriously, why not expand on “Quite the Contrary” a little bit. I think you’re trying to suggest that you support the arts. If so, why don’t you give us some specific examples and proof? I’m sure all the people involved in the art programs that HB1895 would eliminate would love to hear about them.
This past spring, OCPA published an article about the funding structure of the Arts Council. I agree with this statement from their article wholeheartedly: “The Arts Council can operate solely from donations and self-generated funds, without receiving state appropriations. Promotion of the arts is a nonprofit interest, which should not be advantaged over other nonprofit efforts that do not receive state appropriations. State government has core functions that are neglected when limited resources are diverted to things which are not core functions of government.”
This legislation is simply following in the footsteps of Kansas, who eliminated their Arts Council funding completely in 2011. Today, supported by private donations, their Arts Council is still going strong. My legislation is a much gentler approach with a five year phase out. Phasing out appropriations is not a death sentence; instead it is an encouragement for less government reliance. I truly believe that the private sector can and will do a much better job at managing than State government ever could.
Please provide any feedback and thoughts that you may have. I hope to count on your support as we make our State government leaner and more efficient.
Here’s some feedback. Can you introduce a law the prevents anyone who dresses up like Batman or is named “Josh” from running for public office? I think a lot of people would go for that. And while we’re at it, can you write some legislation that prevents us from ever following in the footsteps of Kansas? Dear God, I think that’s one of the few states we’ve surpassed in recent years. Why do we want to go back in time and be like Kansas?
Anyway, over at Josh’s blog a lot of intelligent people have posted comments that totally refute all his major talking points. You can view them over there. I encourage you to leave a comment as well…or email Josh at email@example.com…or call his office at (405) 557-7349. I’m sure he’d love to hear from you.
In the meantime, I decided to do some research on Josh and see what I could find out about this guy. Here’s what I learned from looking at his Facebook page:
Thanks! Your message has been sent!