Archive for January, 2014

Red Dirt Reactions to State Of The Union Address

President Obama in the White House

President Barack Obama reviews his speech one last time while waiting in a room at the U.S. Capitol prior to delivering the State of the Union address in the House Chamber in Washington, D.C., Jan. 28, 2014. (Credit: Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Since the President’s State of the Union address Tuesday night, many more than three or four Republicans have released responses to the speech. And since it’s an election year, wouldn’t you like to know where your representatives (and those who wish to become your representatives) stand on the politics and policy of the President Obama?

Standard Excellence has the official responses of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation. Look for more resources on where your representatives stand throughout the year and as the elections approach.

Rep. Tom Cole Response to 2014 State Of The Union Address

Rep. James Lankford Statement on State of the Union Address

Congressman Jim Bridenstine has no official response as yet. He did, however, respond during the speech online.

He criticized President Obama’s foreign policy, citing Al Qaeda’s presence in Iraq, and the horrible attack in Benghazi, Syria and the response that followed.

 

Congressman Markwayne Mullin Comments on State of the Union Address

Frank Lucas Reacts to President’s State of the Union Address

Sen. Tom Coburn has not released a response yet either, but here is an interview from the morning of the President’s address. He discusses losing his oncologist on his insurance plan due to the Affordable Care Act, and leadership in Washington.

Senator Inhofe Responds to State of the Union Address

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

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Nathan Dahm Discusses ‘Piers Morgan Bill’ With Piers Morgan

Nathan Dahm on CNN

Oklahoma State Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) discusses gun rights with Piers Morgan

Nathan Dahm Discusses ‘Piers Morgan Bill’ …with Piers Morgan, on Piers Morgan Live.

If you haven’t heard, Oklahoma’s State Senator Nathan Dahm (R-Broken Arrow) is making some waves with a gun rights bill he’s named after none other than gun-loving Piers Morgan. The bill would allow citizens in Oklahoma to lawfully carry a firearm in public without any sort of license or permit.

Oklahoma is already an open-carry state, which went into effect November of 2012 – a small consolation for enduring the reelection of our current President.

Now, naming the bill after Piers Morgan was a bold move, and as you might have guessed, it gained the attention of the CNN host. He responded on Twitter by challenging Dahm to debate the merits of the bill.

 

Well, it looks like Dahm had the guts, because tonight he is on the show. Here is a clip from the broadcast.

And if you’d like some more Dahm, please enjoy this exclusive Sandard Excellence interview with the senator from his election campaign.

Catch some recorded video of the interview on YouTube: Part 1 | Part 2

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

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Election Year Shaping Up In Oklahoma

The 2014 election season in Oklahoma is sure to be a busy one. With the shake up in Oklahoma’s congressional representation, Standard Excellence will be tracking who’s running for what offices, and as much as possible, where they stand in the polls and primaries.

So far, here is what we know about the Senate and House races.

Senate

Tom Coburn announced last week that he will be stepping down from his position in the US Senate at the end of this year. As a result, a special election will be held this November to finish the two remaining years of his term. As many candidates from both the Republican and Democrat parties will be competing for this spot, primaries, and likely runoff primaries, will be held.

Democrats Dan Boren, Jari Askins, and Bill Anoatubby will not be running for Coburn’s Senate seat.

Lankford Speaking at RallyPossible Republican contenders for Oklahoma Senate: T.W. Shannon, Jim Bridenstine, and James Lankford (who has already announced his intention to run). Shannon, the current Speaker House in Oklahoma, has reportedly formed an exploratory committee to look into what he would be facing in a potential run.

Many Oklahomans might think Lankford would be a shoe-in for the Senate seat, but this may not prove to be the case. On Monday, the Senate Conservatives Fund released a statement that it will not support the Congressman’s campaign, citing his votes to increase the debt limit, fund Obamacare, support amnesty, among others.

Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Rep. Tom Cole have both said they will not be running.

More names are sure to come up, as the filing deadline for candidacy will be Friday, April 11, 2014. This year’s primary day is scheduled for Tuesday, June 24.

Congress

FIFTH DISTRICT

Having announced his intention to run for Senate, Congressman James Lankford will not be in the running for the Congressional seat he has occupied now for two terms. A number of Republicans have indicated they will be contending to fill that spot.

Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas announced Tuesday that she will run for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep Lankford. Douglas is also a former Mayor of the City of Edmond.

Former state Sen. Steve Russell of Oklahoma City and former state Rep. Shane Jett of Tecumseh, both Republicans, have announced they will seek the 5th District seat.

State Senator Paul Wesselhöft (R - SD 54)

State Senator Paul Wesselhöft (R – SD 54)

Other names thus far include State Senators Clark Jolley, David Holt, and Greg Treat, as well as State Representativesa Paul Wesselhoft and Mike Turner.

On the Democratic side in the 5th District race, retired University of Central Oklahoma professor Tom Guild, who ran unsuccessfully for the post in 2010 and 2012, already has announced his plans to run again, as has retired federal contractor Keith Davenport. Former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth said he’s considering the race.

In addition, a few Democrats have also expressed their interest. Tom Guild, who lost to Lankford in 2010, will be running again. Keith Davenport, Marilyn Rainwater, and former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth also have indicated they may run.

Check back on Standard Excellence for more election 2014 updates as the other national and statewide campaigns unfold.

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

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Lankford To Run For Coburn’s Congressional Seat

James Lankford at 2012 5th Congressional District OK GOP Meeting

Congressman James Lankford speaking at the 2012 Oklahoma 5th Congressional District meeting.

As was anticipated by many Oklahomans, 5th Congressional District Representative James Lankford (R) has announced his run for Senate, following Tom Coburn’s (R) recent announcement that he will step down at the end of this session.

As he is now running for Senate, his seat in the House of Representatives will also be vacated. That field will be shaping up soon for the Fifth District. Current possible contenders include Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas and state Sen. Clark Jolley of Edmond, are among candidates believed to be considering a race for the House seat Lankford will be leaving.

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

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State Constitutional Amendment Ruled In Violation Of US Constitution

Oklahomans learned today that our recent state constitutional amendment blocking all forms of same-sex marriage will not be allowed to stand. It also passed with a very strong majority, much like the 2010 Sharia law ban, which was also overturned.

Judge Terence C. Kern of United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma ruled the state’s law violated equal protection, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. He called the state’s ban “an arbitrary, irrational exclusion of just one class of Oklahoma citizens from a governmental benefit,” and that it is based on “moral disapproval.”

Pastor Neill Spurgeon Expressions Church with same-sex couples

Pastor Neill Spurgeon of Expressions Church OKC talks with same-sex couples at a marriage equality rally in Oklahoma City in May 2013.

Now that the federal government does not adhere to the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, it has to recognize and honor federal benefits granted to same-sex couples married in states where it is legal, just the same as if it were a heterosexual married couple. Essentially, Tulsa federal Judge Kern’s ruling means that Oklahoma can not have a law denying those benefits, either.

But That Can’t Be Right

All right, so it’s going to significantly affect my home state, and I have a sort of split stance on this ruling. Briefly, here’s where I fall in on same-sex marriage. First of all, I don’t call it gay marriagegay is a colloquial term. The worst possible situation I can imagine is one in which technical subtleties are overlooked and the whole world refers to this increasingly common living situation using language of which I do not approve.

Now, kidding and grammar aside, I do have an opinion on same-sex marriage. It should be handled by the states. That’s it! I’m a firm states’ rights and Tenth Amendment advocate, and that’s really all I have to say about the controversy. The debate is a very important one our country is having, but that doesn’t mean the US Government has to step in and dictate things. Oh, wait, except that it already has and will likely be the ultimate deciding agency in the end.

My reason for saying the states should handle it (besides that generally speaking I think the states should handle everything anyhow) is that it solves the problem. Let’s say half the US legalizes gay marriage. Where do you think couples that want to have a gay marriage recognized will go? And if you don’t personally recognize the union as a marriage or approve of its existence in society, guess where you don’t have to go?! I know it isn’t as simple as that, but hopefully you can see how that would quickly make gay marriage a much calmer debate, one where society might even come to some terms of agreement someday.

But this state hasn’t elected to recognize those unions. In Oklahoma, seventy-five percent of the voting population elected to restrict marriage to only consist of one man and one woman. It was passed and adopted to our State Constitution in 2004.

Another peculiarity about this case is that Kern refers to the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling on DOMA as a factor in his decision, but the Oklahoma case has been underway since long before DOMA’s partial repeal. In fact, the lawsuit bringing this to court was filed in 2004, just after the ban was passed into law.

So for two strong reasons, I have to say there are some serious problems with the ruling. The changes to the Defense of Marriage Act restrict the federal government, not states, and at the time this lawsuit was filed, it was still in full effect! Madness, I tell you. For now, this decision does not change any laws.

In the end, I honestly don’t think the government should be in the business of regulating marriages, but rather in the business of regulating the guarantee that civil agreements (also known as “contracts”) are honored in courts of law.

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

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Today in 1790

George Washington photo - public domainToday in 1790, President George Washington gave the first ever State of the Union Address, calling for such things as an armed population prepared to fight for the country, laws defining compensation for government employees, immigration, having solid monetary policy, the promotion of science and literature, roads and bridges, and the post office. Almost hard to believe this was 224 years ago!

One thing President Washington said in his speech that I find very intriguing, and agree with wholeheartedly, is that the people of a nation having knowledge is essential to the security of a free people and the Constitution. He said knowledge contributes to that security “…by teaching the people themselves to know, and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority.”

I think that is exactly what we need today. We’re in the midst of the information age,  where knowledge is available for free at the fingertips of just about every person in this country. Yet, knowledge seems somehow harder to come by. Many people don’t read. We have come to expect so many things to be handed to us in ready-to-go packages – from fast food meals (who has time to cook these days?!) to oil change lights (who has time to count to 3,000?!) to apps that navigate your every turn so you don’t even need to know how to read a map – that too often people want to know as little as possible to get by! It’s like once people are out of college, they’re out of learning altogether.

I truly believe that America will come to distinguish between oppression and lawful authority in contexts like the NSA, the IRS, war, and individual liberties when we learn to value knowledge, and embrace it on a personal level, not just as something required to get through college.

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

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