We Built It And They Showed Up


I generally consider myself a fairly positive guy. I have faith in the American people and our ability to get ourselves out of trouble. But a discussion I heard this past weekend has me very concerned. I am concerned for the future of our country in a way that I haven’t been before. I am convinced that our economic troubles are not our real problem. They are simply the symptoms of the problem. The real problem is cultural. And I’m not sure what, if anything can be done about that.

The first time I saw a pregnant teenager was my senior year of high school. The girl was prohibited from participating in extracurricular activities. She was not allowed to join clubs, or take any → Read More

They Got These Right, Let’s Support Them


Looking back over the past couple of weeks, I see that I’ve been doing a good bit of complaining. So, it’s refreshing for me to be able to say the Oklahoma legislature is considering two bills we all need to get behind. They won’t solve all the problems of Obamacare, but they are a couple of good first steps.

The first is Senate Bill 57, the Health Care Choice Act. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Bill Brown, R-Broken Bow and District 80 Rep. Mike Ritzke, R-Broken Arrow. The proposed law, currently on the floor of the House, would allow insurance companies from other states to sell policies in Oklahoma. The proviso being that the companies comply with Oklahoma law and pay the applicable → Read More

Do We Really Need Government Insurance Agents?

Insurance Exchange

I guess I’m just stupid. At least, according to what many of my friends tell me, I have to be stupid. You see, I don’t see many of the problems our nation is facing as particularly complex or difficult to solve. That is not to say that the solutions won’t be painful. But, that’s how it is when you start tending a wound you’ve allowed to fester. It hurts, and it’s unpleasant. But eventually things get better.

There’s a lot of criticism of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and her fellow Republicans in the state capitol. They wisely turned down a $54.6 million federal grant to set up a ridiculously misnamed insurance exchange under Obamacare. From what I’ve seen in the news, I’m in a → Read More

I’ll Complain Later

Tushka storm damage.

Tushka storm damage.

Today was a busy day. I had to work. I had a meeting tonight and I had to write this blog post. I had decided to write about the insurance exchange plan that had been pushed by our governor and the Republican leadership in the legislature. They have since backpedaled on that plan, and I’m glad for that although I am not too happy about the alternative they’ve come up with.

I’ll write about all that sometime. But as I sit at my desk with heavy eyes and think about all that has happened this evening, politics don’t seem as important right now.

The night started with a barbecue supper in Durant. The Republican Party sponsored the event and we → Read More

We’re Going To Pay Regardless Of What OKC Tells Us


A couple of years ago the city of Durant held an election to increase its sales tax to pay for a new high school. Some supported the increase. Some opposed the increase. And, some business owners said it would hurt business. A friend of mine who owns a restaurant had an interesting take.

“Businesses don’t pay taxes,” he told me. “We just pass it on to you.”

The authors of House Bill 1381 should talk to my friend. It appears they either never knew or have forgotten that simple concept.

According to a glowing editorial in The Daily Oklahoman on Wednesday, April 6, by Larry Nichols, HB 1381 will solve the state’s Medicaid problems and won’t cost any of us one thin dime. According → Read More

Why I Don’t Care About CAIR

CAIR logo

If you have any doubt about the motives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, just listen to the reasons its executive director is leading a campaign against a bill to require Oklahoma courts to use United States and Oklahoma law exclusively.

“At a time when our economy and job creation should be our legislature’s top priority, Rep. (Sally) Kern (R-Oklahoma City) has made it her priority to promote an anti-Muslim amendment to ban religious laws in Oklahoma and threaten international contracts for Oklahoma businesses,” said Muneer Awad, CAIR’s executive director in Oklahoma.

Apparently, Mr. Awad cares so much about Oklahoma’s economy that he doesn’t think the people who write our laws should ensure the state’s courts actually follow those laws. I seriously → Read More

The Tort Reform Two Step

“He had no faith in the power of men to act wisely in their own behalf. It was his view rather that every act soon eluded the grasp of its propagator to be swept away in a clamorous tide of unforeseen consequence.”

From, “The Crossing,” by Cormac McCarthy

Tort reform is a favorite cry among conservatives. I have to admit, as a man who considers himself very conservative; I have carried the tort reform banner into a few debates. I think we are all aware of stories of so-called “jackpot justice.”

There is the ever popular “woman-who-spilled-McDonald’s-coffee-in-her-lap” story. We see the television ads for the attorneys who work on contingencies. “If you don’t collect, you don’t pay,” the car-salesman-turned-attorney assures us. The effect of → Read More

Fighting Back Would Be More Effective Than TSA’s Lewd Charade


My wife flew to Chicago this week. When I first heard about the trip several weeks ago I was a little concerned. I’ve never been to Chicago and you know all the horror stories we hear about big-city crime, rude people, etc. So, I was a more than a little relieved when I found out that the father of the student she was accompanying would be traveling also.

You see, he’s a detective with the Durant Police Department. As such, he can legally carry his pistol and badge while in the windy city. He can carry a gun in a city with some of the toughest gun laws in the country. He can carry a weapon while Chicago residents cannot. However, he cannot carry → Read More

Facts, Not Emotion Should Guide Firearms Debate


Three proposals to expand Second Amendment rights in Oklahoma were voted out of committee this week and will be considered by the full House of Representatives. As a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment I am happy to see these. Still, I was struck by how people will allow emotional rhetoric to override common sense.

The first is HB 1796, which would allow citizens with a concealed carry permit to openly carry guns. For me, support of this law has more to do with practicality than a desire to show off a weapon. I’m sure that some people would be willing to carry openly. But I suspect that most of the concealed carry license holders in the state would be like me. I would → Read More

Why I Write

Me and Kyle

Me and Kyle

“Does it ever bother you that you work so hard on these stories and nobody is going to read them?”

The question kind of stung when I heard it back in the early 1990s. I was a new reporter at a weekly newspaper in Alabama. The question came from a college intern who had just come to work for the summer. With innocence borne of inexperience he gave voice to a reality those of us in the news business were aware of but chose to ignore. The majority of a newspaper’s readers have a favorite section they check while ignoring the news they don’t care about.

Sports, advice columns and comics rate pretty high. City council meetings, hard news (except for → Read More

Wilson’s Bills Cynical Attempt to Use Children to Benefit Schools


Though it’s become an annual event, an attempt by a state senator to put Oklahoma’s homeschoolers in a bureaucratic chokehold is still drawing the ire of home-school parents around the state, including here in Southeastern Oklahoma.

“I feel that, in essence, it is treating homeschoolers like they are guilty until proven innocent,” said Kylie Green, a home-school mother from Marshall County. “I think it places undue governmental control on what is a constitutional right.”

The reason for Green’s concern is a pair of bills introduced by Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Talequah. The bills, SB 393 and SB 394, would force all children between the ages of 5 and 18 to attend a public or private school or some other approved form of education. The bills, → Read More

We Have Rights, Let’s Stop Inventing Them

Eugene B. Sledge

Eugene B. Sledge

It was hard to believe that some of our old friends who had wanted so much to return home actually were writing us that they thought of volunteering again for overseas duty. (Some actually did.) They had had enough of war, but they had greater difficulty adjusting to civilians or to comfortable Stateside military posts. We were unable to understand their attitudes until we ourselves returned home and tried to comprehend people who griped because America wasn’t perfect, or their coffee wasn’t hot enough, or they had to stand in line and wait for a train or bus.”

E.B. Sledge, “With The Old Breed: At Peleliu And Okinawa.”

My generation is all about rights. It seems like I’ve heard → Read More

What Legacy Will Obama’s Egyptian Response Leave?


Barak Obama

In 1979 President Jimmy Carter made the wrong decision about the Shah of Iran and America lost an important ally in the Middle East. I’m terribly afraid Barak Obama is about to make his own mistake and the result for America’s interests in the Middle East, no America’s global interests, will be even more devastating.

There’s been plenty of talk about a smooth transition to democracy in Egypt. Our political leaders are asking Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step aside and make changes that they believe the Egyptian people want. But there’s an uncomfortable truth here and I’m not sure the Obama Administration is up to dealing with it. The situation has degenerated to a point that it’s not really about → Read More