Archive for March, 2013

Let There Be Horse Slaughters

All that stands between horses and their legal slaughter in Oklahoma is the signature of Governor Mary Fallin.

Tom Lea drawingA few weeks ago, I posted a short note about a bill making its way through the Oklahoma House that would legalize horse slaughter in the state, a practice made illegal fifty years ago in 1963. I took an offensive position toward the legislation, not thinking anyone would really be that interested. Little did I know this would become a statewide issue. Campaigns both for and against it have been launched. There was a rally.

I am still against the practice. I mean, come on, haven’t you ever seen Mr. Ed? However, I’m not really the type to lose sleep over a dead animal. Sorry, Fito. Okay, I think I cried at the end of All Dogs Go To Heaven, but give me some credit, I was only three years old when it came out. Pretty traumatic at that age.

The Sides

So you’ve got different schools of thought forming people’s opinions on this issue. The one side would say animals are property and can be treated in any manner the property owner sees fit, as if it were furniture. Then other would believe animals are not the property of humans. Some of those take it to the extreme, but we don’t exactly have a huge PETA presence in Oklahoma.

I have no problem with animals being killed for their meat. My reason for that is actually a religious one – The first chapter of the Bible records God giving man dominion over the animal kingdom. No so much into the whole dog and cat Eastern thing personally, but hey if that’s your fancy, just don’t eat my cat! At the same time, I believe it is wrong to needlessly kill an animal. Also biblical in nature

The opposing view holds that animals (a.k.a. livestock) are property, and since they are privately owned, the owner has say over what is done with them. I’m okay with this one, too. Want to eat your cow? Go right ahead, it’s your cow, not Gaia’s. Milk the family goat, eat the hen’s eggs for breakfast.

The Controversy

But most people I know don’t eat horseburger.

When I posted the first article, it was just a passing thought. I heard the bill was being heard, found out that horse owners kill their horses when they can’t afford them anymore, and thought it was a bit ridiculous. So I put up a link to the news article I learned about it from, and a paragraph of thoughts on the subject. Figured it might be interesting to Ron Paul & Libertarian communities, so I posted a link on the Daily Paul, and within a day or two, there were three pages of back and forth arguments in the comments.

As I write this follow-up, my link has a -1 standing, which given the interest and number of page views the received would tell me both sides are about equal there. In Oklahoma, polling shows people are against the idea about 2:1. This certainly isn’t a grassroots idea. Below is my synopsis of the controversy.

Arguments for:

  • Horse owners already ship their horses to Mexico to have them killed.
  • It’s cheaper to do it in-state.
  • It’s more humane than those Mexicans doing it.
  • It would create jobs for the state (yes, exactly the kind of jobs our economy desperately needs).

Arguments against:

  • Horses aren’t consumable because they are injected with medications harmful to humans, though I have no idea how common this practice is.
  • Horses have never been raised for human consumption in America. In fact, it is un-American to eat them, you communist pig.
  • The proponents of the law change are out-of-state groups and international companies with no genuine interest in Oklahoma. Except for our horses.
  • The bill doesn’t make it legal to sell the horses for consumption, so they aren’t being killed for their meat.
  • And my personal contention is that HB1999/SB375 just shows how in-touch the state legislature isn’t with the people of Oklahoma. Pretty sure there haven’t been that many calls to the capitol from people demanding the return of this practice. More than likely, it was just a few phone calls from people with big pocketbooks. And that, my friends, is politics.

My Ultimatum

Listen, it’s not going to ruin my week if this gets signed into law, but come on, people. We teach our children responsibility with pets. It is bad parenting to get a family dog, cat, rabbit, parakeet, whatever, then neglect the thing. Horses do just fine in the wild, and when we domesticate them, it is our responsibility to take care of them. Or eat them. No, seriously though, we should take care of our animals, and bringing the practice of slaughtering domesticated horses to Oklahoma is not going to encourage their good treatment. It will only make it cheaper to dispose of them. Then again, horseburger could become the next Hamburger Helper package.

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Twitter Privacy

twitter.comTwitter has added a setting that disables location service (by default), and additionally can now remove all previously recorded locations. Way to go for privacy, Twitter! This is a good practice for the web to be adopting.

Facebook automatically enables location services unless you turn them off. With the mobile messaging app for Facebook, if you want to choose which messages you use the service on (say, when your overbearing girlfriend wants to track your every move), you have to intentionally disable it for each conversation. There is no option to disable it by default, then enable on a specific conversation if you choose. What Twitter has done is basically that, plus the retroactive option.

Privacy is more important than ever, but for some reason many people still seem to forget about protecting their own information online. There are a lot of reasons why you should protect your confidential information all the time. Even if you trust the person you may be sharing your whereabouts with, cell phones are stolen every day. Many of these cell phones have either no security, or are easily bypassed.

Be on guard for your own privacy! And go Twitter!

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Oklahoma County Republican Convention

UPDATE: The 2013 Oklahoma State Republican Convention will be held Friday and Saturday the 19th and 20th of April. Registration will be on Friday from 2 PM to 7:30 PM, and on Saturday from 7-9 AM at the Magnuson Hotel – 737 S. Meridian Ave in Oklahoma City. Check back on Standard Excellence for updates, interviews, and reports!

Saturday morning, the Republican party of three Oklahoma counties held their conventions, electing county level officers and voting on rule and platform changes. This year’s convention was generally a much smoother one than last year’s, though it did run past its scheduled time even longer than the 2012 Oklahoma County Convention.

Oklahoma GOP Chairman Matt Pinnell was not in attendance Saturday. Though he ordinarily has attended Oklahoma County’s conventions, Tulsa County, where Pinnell is a resident, also held their convention the same day. Pam Pollard greeted the delegates on his behalf, and announced that he has been offered a job with the Republican National Committee. The job is a new position, created by Chairman Reince Priebus, will involve coordinating state party chairs and helping them work together nationally.


Matt Jackson, Chairman,  Oklahoma County Republican Party

Matt Jackson, Chairman, Oklahoma County Republican Party

Convention business started around 11 am, beginning with credentials. The total number of credentialed delegates in attendance was 390. This year there were remarkably fewer credential disputes than last year’s county convention, where it took most of the morning to get through credentials. The credentials report was approved unanimously by voice vote, and later amended to add more delegates who were not counted originally.

Matt Jackson, Chairman of the Oklahoma County Republican Party, nominated Bill Price convention chair. This caused a dispute over whether nominations were to be taken as opposed to a yes or no vote for the named nominee. A vote of the convention determined the vote for chair would be carried out as proposed by Jackson, and Price was confirmed as the convention chair. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Tale of Two Guns

There is some good news today about guns and gun control, if you are a gun rights activist. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced an assault weapons ban will not be part of gun control legislation to be considered in the US Senate. Democrat Dianne Feinstein has strongly advocated banning semiautomatic pistols and rifles with certain military characteristics, but Reid does not believe a bill would pass the Senate with the ban as a part of it. Senator Reid whose constituency in Nevada is  is also a member of the National Rifle Association. Feinstein’s version of a gun control bill would tighten restrictions put in place by the 1994 assault weapons ban as well as ban 157 specifically named firearms.

shooting range in oklahoma cityIn Oklahoma, there are two gun-related stories going on. One good, and one tragic. The first, an apparent suicide, took place Monday at H & H Gun Range in Oklahoma City, where a 25-year-old man named Nijim Dabbour rented a gun from the store, and is believed to have tragically shot himself in the head while in the firing range. He was taken to the OU Medical Center, where he later died.

The other gun story took place this morning in Tulsa, where a man shot a pit bull attacking two ladies who had knocked on the door of the dog’s owner. Apparently the man heard the struggle from across the street, drew the dog away from the women, and then shot it. The women are in an area hospital in critical condition from the wounds the pit bull gave them. If they survive and recover, this man will be responsible for saving both of their lives. Read the rest of this entry »

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Morning Memo: Cyprus Bank Bailout

empty wallet held openGood morning, it’s time for a memo from that collective body we all know as, ‘the government.’ You know, the all-encompassing body that controls our day-to-day lives. Today’s message applies primarily to citizens of Cyprus, but rest assured, it can be applied to you as well.

The government of Cyprus has decided that in order to fund the bailout of their financial system, citizens will be liquidated as if they were assets of a company. It’s okay, though, I’m sure they’re just paying their “fair share” in order to help out those less fortunate than themselves.

Here’s your memo:

Hi, I’m ‘the government.’ Remember that bank account you thought was your own personal property? Well sorry, you were wrong. It actually all belongs to us (‘the government’), and we decide how much you get to keep. We couldn’t do this overnight, so we started by directly taxing your income, as opposed to raising tariffs and sales taxes (it took a Constitutional amendment to get away with it in America because of their pesky adherence to that ancient document – it’s SUCH a hurdle to take over their personal lives!).
Now that everyone is generally accustomed to having their hard-earned, or not so hard-earned, incomes levied, it’s time for an even more direct approach. Namely, your bank account. If you kept cash at home, there would be no record of it, but since you conveniently put it in an account that can easily be monitored with or without your knowledge or consent, it’s much easier to tax. Thanks!

‘the government’

So this is to be taken somewhat jokingly, but let me just remind you that you could be next. It has been 100 years since the income tax was implemented in the United States, prior to which time if you earned a paycheck, it was the fruit of your labor. At one point the income tax was set at 91% for those making more than $200,000. I’m sure that was just a fair share.

Watch out for yourselves! Have a great Monday!

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Standing With Rand

Official Portrait of Senator Rand PaulSince the loss of a second presidential election in a row, the Republican Party has been forced to reevaluate itself and its image. It is going through an identity crisis of sorts, and as a result a few names are coming to the surface as potential new leaders of the party.

Rand Paul has been one of the strongest competitors for this title, as far as I can see. He has mainstream appeal, and the appeal of the less-than mainstream Ron Paul movement. I say less-than not because it is insignificant, but because by and large the movement could still be considered isolated, at times. Though some make accusations of vote rigging and other shenanigans (and believe me, there are a lot of shenanigans), I think the main reason we didn’t wind up with a Paul on the GOP ticket last November is because the people that make up the Republican Party for whatever reason did not side with Ron Paul and the liberty movement.

That all might be changing, however, with the son of the famous Texas Congressman quickly rising to the national spotlight. This week he performed an actual filibuster in the Senate, and drew quite a bit of support with him, including Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and even one Democrat Senator. At the same time, however, there is quite a bit of opposition from within the Republican Party. Gretta Van Susteren had a pretty good interview with Senator Paul about the filibuster, along with its victory for liberty and the critics calling it unnecessary.

The Son of Liberty?

From time to time, Rand Paul gets heavy criticism from some of his father’s supporters. There are Libertarians who love him, and those who hate him. Likewise in the Republican Party opinions quickly formed about Rand Paul. In fact, it would seem that the Ron Paul movement is as divided over his son as on abortion, immigration, or Israel (and more recently, apparently horses have become controversial).

This filibuster, for me, shows that Rand has the leadership necessary to lead the party, and the country. He didn’t appear to be there because some party boss told him to, or really even for the publicity. He had the support of Marco Rubio, when some see Rubio in competition with Paul. Before, during, and after, he has behaved like a president, when many politicians behave like children.

There has been positive reception on the Daily Paul, a Ron Paul supporter forum. CNN also sees this as a point-scorer for Rand. Those who are critical of him right now seem to be the “old guard” Republicans who are often referred to as the establishment. My take is simply this, Rand Paul has something for Ron Paul supporters, TEA Party people, and the Republican Party as a whole. If every member of the Senate would be more like Senator Paul, we wouldn’t have much to complain about in terms of liberty. I think the bashing should end, and we should all be open to considering the man and his ideals. He may just be liberty’s best shot.

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