Archive for May, 2013

News organizations bail on Holder’s briefing

The Department of Justice announced it will hold an off-the-record meeting with news outlets this week to discuss how it deals with journalists who work with leakers.

For some reason, the Associated Press has decided not to attend. Maybe it has to do with the fact that everything THEY did was on-record with the DOJ. AP spokesperson Erin Madigan stated, “If it is not on the record, AP will not attend and instead will offer our views on how the regulations should be updated in an open letter.”

Seems like an appropriate response.

More on Breitbart. Note: has pop-up ads and automatic playing videos.

UPDATE: In addition to the AP, the New York Times, Huffington Post, CNN, and FoxNews have all also declined to attend the off-record briefing due to its being off record. Among those planning to attend are the Wall Street Journal, Politico, and the Washington Post.

For more Oklahoma and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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Oklahoma remembers those lost in May 20 tornado

Oklahoma Gov Mary Fallin on stage in front of audience

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin addresses a congregation of survivors of a Monday, May 20, 2013 tornado that swept through Moore, OK.

Sunday at First Baptist Church of Moore, Oklahoma, a memorial service was held for those who lost their lives in the Monday, May 20 tornado that tore through 17 miles of the state, destroying and damaging thousands of homes and businesses, as well as two elementary schools.

Teachers and students from Briarwood Elementary were present, along with many state legislators, including Governor Mary Fallin, who called for the service.

Governor Fallin spoke at multiple times during Sunday’s memorial, quoting scripture from Psalm 46 and 73. Fallin ended her address proclaiming, “God gives strength to move forward, to heal, and to rebuild. Our state will be stronger, and will go forward.”

President Obama visited the state earlier Sunday to tour the damaged area with Governor Fallin.

Highlights from the memorial

During the service, Archbishop Paul Coakley, Rabbi Vered Harris and First Baptist Church Pastor Kevin Clarkson offered prayers to God. The Ambassador Choir & Orchestra sang By His Stripes We Are Healed, followed by a mixed group of choirs called the Oklahoma Strong Community Choir, who sang a moving rendition of Amazing Grace.

A video of highlights can be viewed on News OK.

After an introduction by Governor Fallin, first grade teacher Ms. Waynel Mayes of Briarwood Elementary gave her heartwarming story of how she and her class made it through the storm that day. Mays explained that as the storm headed toward them the class sang songs and prayed. When the tornado was on top of them, power and lights failed, and the class sang louder while the teacher prayed.

home damaged by tornado

Near the edge of the tornado’s path of destruction, this home is destroyed while the two next to it remain mostly intact.

When the storm had passed, Ms. Mays began calling out her students by name, telling them they were heroes, until all were accounted for. She then told them a real life hero would be coming soon to help them, and that they did great because they listened and followed directions.

And soon a real life hero would indeed arrive and rescue the class.

The song the class sang during the storm, at the request of one of the first grade students, was Jesus Loves Me. The class sang their song again Sunday night, in front of the survivors in attendance at the memorial service to an emotional crowd. Governor Fallin called the children the Oklahoma Strong Children’s Choir.

In her address, Governor Fallin encouraged the people, declaring that in the midst of tragedy, “We have seen the best of Oklahoma come forth. Oklahoma will be Oklahoma strong.” Fallin also read from Psalm 73, “My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever,” and expressed her faith in God to give strength to the people of Oklahoma to heal and rebuild.

The service concluded with the congregation singing as they held hands together in the air.

Water tower behind traffic in Moore, Oklahoma

The city of Moore, Oklahoma works to rebuild after a deadly tornado ripped through its neighborhoods May 20.

For more Oklahoma and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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This Week in Liberty News – Oklahoma Edition


Tornadoes test our resolve

home damaged by tornado

Near the edge of the tornado’s path of destruction, this home is destroyed while the two next to it remain mostly intact.

Sunday and Monday, May 19 and 20 resulted in multiple tornadoes killing a total of 26 people, injuring hundreds more, and destroying thousands of homes and businesses. It may prove to have been more destructive than the May 3, 1999 tornado which followed a very similar path. The fact that Monday’s death toll was half that of the 1999 tornado speaks to Oklahoma’s improvement in taking cover from these storms, as well as significant advances in technology allowing these storms to be precisely tracked. This has led to more warning time ahead of these tornadoes.

View the Standard Excellence Photo Blog of the storms and recovery effort.

The National Weather Service rated Monday’s tornado as an EF-5, with a width of two miles at some points as it tracked 17 miles across the ground.

Private industry leads in recovery effort

Immediately following the mid-afternoon storms, private citizens and local organizations were donating their money, supplies, and time to help start the recovery effort after the storms.

A day before FEMA set foot on the scene in Moore, local businesses, churches, and individual citizens were picking apart the rubble, searching for and saving human lives. Initial reports indicated 51 fatalities had occurred, but by noon Tuesday, this number had been reduced to 24, where it has stayed since.

FOX News reports, “Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin said Sunday her message to Obama is that she appreciates the visit, but the state also needs quick action from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Republican governor said so far, the agency has done a great job of speeding relief and cash assistance to affected families, but she’s concerned about the long run.
“There’s going to come a time when there’s going to be a tremendous amount of need once we begin the debris clearing, which we already have, but really get it cleared off to where we need to start rebuilding these homes, rebuilding these businesses,” she said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “And we know at different times in the past, money hasn’t come always as quickly as it should.”

FEMA’s role is to support citizens and first responders in disaster situations like that in Moore, Oklahoma. This is done through immediate physical labor, and continues with financial support to those affected as well as coordinating the efforts of multiple agencies, both local and federal.

Gun rights not a problem

The Tulsa World newspaper has noted that instead of becoming a huge issue, resulting in higher crime and gun crime rates, allowing law-abiding citizens to openly display their firearms has not presented any challenges to law enforcement departments at all.


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Roads and bridges built without income taxes!

Guess what, ladies and gentlemen? I have discovered something shocking — it doesn’t take income taxes to run a government!

itemized vehicle registration receipt

Breathtaking, I know. I renewed one of my vehicle’s tags online today, and noticed there was a fee in it to pay for roads and bridges.

Apparently, it is possible for government offices to function without the institution of an income tax! How amazing! This is just another reason why we would be perfectly fine without an income tax or the IRS. In the wake of the scandal involving the IRS targeting conservative groups for their political views, it is important to continually point out reasons we do not need this institution.

The government does not need to know how much money you make, and what those sources of income are.

The Internal Revenue Service has the power to shut down businesses for making the slightest mistake or miscalculation in their taxes, shouldn’t they be held to the same standard?

For more Oklahoma and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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Oklahoma Tornado Cleanup Photo Blog

Here are some photos I’ve taken to document the May 20, 2013 Oklahoma Tornado that went through Moore. It may prove to be the most devastating tornado we have ever had, outdoing the May 3, 1999 disaster. Preliminary estimates put the damage toll at $2 billion and 1,150 houses destroyed.

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I drove 2 hours to get through/around the damage zone in Moore on Wednesday. It’s amazing to see the response at every level. Private organizations, cities, counties, charities, and even FEMA (yikes!) are all working together as we start the rebuilding process.

workers cleaning up tornado damage on side of highway

I-35 was backed up for miles in both directions. The tornado crossed over the highway about a mile from here.

After going to my church for a special Wednesday service, I learned 10 of our members lost their houses or had significant damage. Amazingly, none were hurt because they were either at work, in a shelter, or otherwise gone for some reason.

I spoke with Alan and Sarah Moriartay, whose house was one of only two left standing in their neighborhood. I also have some raw audio of Alan and another’s account of Monday’s tornado that will be available later.

Other roads are also being blocked by police in order to ensure only property owners or those helping with the cleanup enter the disaster area. This is a notably different approach than going door-to-door with SWAT teams and demanding to enter people’s private property. Oklahoma time and again can be commended for its positive use of law enforcement in these situations. There is a lot to be proud of them for, as well as our EMS and Fire Departments.

For more Oklahoma and national news and opinion that matters for Liberty, visit the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan.

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Oklahoma tragedy becomes Piers Morgan’s climate change opportunity

This is not the kind of news story I like to follow, especially when it involves families and friends that I know personally. I live in the Oklahoma City metro area, about 30 minutes from Moore, where yesterday an EF-4 (preliminary measurement) tornado destroyed homes, businesses, and even lives for 20 miles as it tracked through the Heartland. At least four of my friends and their families have lost their homes.

The only good thing I have seen so far is that the death toll has been lowered from a number released last night. The number I saw on national television was 51 deaths, but that has since been reduced to 24. A press conference is scheduled for noon today, in which a new number may again be released.

UPDATE: After a 12PM presser, the death toll appears to remain at twenty-four, nine of which are children. This number could change as more homes and businesses are searched for survivors. 237 injuries have been reported at this time.

tornado funnel

Funnel cloud just north of Standard Excellence headquarters, AKA “My House”

Fortunately, and by God’s providence, I left Oklahoma Sunday night to attend the funeral of a family member, but not before a tornado on that day just about grazed my own house!

This one touched down briefly a few minutes before I snapped the picture, and eventually regained strength, running through Edmond on its way toward Arcadia Lake.

Oklahoma is no stranger to devastating tornadic events, even tornadoes tracking through populated areas. In fact, the tragic tornado which swept through Moore, OK, Monday afternoon followed a path nearly parallel to the May 3, 1999 tornado which caused so much devastation 16 years ago.

Enter the crazy left

But for some reason, Piers Morgan and Bill Nye saw the tragic deaths of my neighbors as an opportunity to promote their environmental agenda. All they were doing was speculating, but speculation is enough to plant ideas in the minds of viewers, who then treat those speculations as facts.

I mean, if climate change actually had something to do with this, that’s one thing, but the May 3rd tornado prior to this 10 years of “the warmest years recorded.” Never mind that we’ve had tornadoes long before that as well. Somehow because this fits into their agenda, our lives and property are now agents of their speculation.

Just stop it, Piers Morgan! Mr. Nye, I loved your show as a kid, please go back to being a scientist, not a pundit. You made science so interesting and exciting for me. If climate change science is real, then keep inspiring children to be scientists, and the theories will take care of themselves.

There is as of this moment zero science to link Monday’s tornadoes to climate change. In Oklahoma, we call this phenomenon “weather.”

That is all. May God be with those affected by this horrible event.

Be sure to check out the Standard Excellence Facebook page, and my Twitter profile @FoaRyan for more Oklahoma and national news that matters for Liberty!

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