Tuesday, October 31, 2006

General Wes Clark Endorses Hal Spake
Citing “Strong Moral Values and Ethics Reform for Washington”
Clark says, “Oklahoma Needs a Leader Like Hal Spake”

October 31, 2006, Little Rock, AR--Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark endorses the candidacy of Hal Spake for the U.S. Congress from the 4th Congressional District of Oklahoma.

“Hal Spake will bring a level of international understanding and expertise to Congress that is sorely needed in these critical days,” says General Clark, “With twenty-two years of service to our country in the US military and the US Diplomatic Corps with duty stations around the world, Spake will bring an understanding of cultures and diplomacy desperately needed in the critical missions and crises facing America in the near future.” General Clark notes that, “Hal Spake has represented the United States on immigration issues from the diplomatic viewpoint and understands legal immigration. He has a strong commitment to work to secure our borders and keep America safe.”

Spake’s long history of foreign policy expertise has led to his consideration of an exit strategy such that the U.S. needs to "announce to the world what we expect to happen and set goals for what needs to happen militarily." He described these goals as "tripwires" that, when tripped, will correspond with the withdrawal of certain numbers of U.S. troops until the American occupation is over.

Concerning the current situation with Iran and the Israeli-Lebanese conflict, Spake said, "Hezbollah is a proxy agent for the Iranians and Iran is just showing the Muslim world how weak the U.S. is. The President has so weakened us strategically that we're not sure what to do."

General Clark said, “A candidate of the strong moral values and invaluable expertise such as Hal Spake comes along once in a lifetime. Join me in working hard to send Hal Spake to Congress. He will bring the intelligence, experience and passion for the issues that face our country to bear that will serve our country well in the days we face ahead. In voting for Hal Spake, Oklahomans will have the rare opportunity to change the current corrupt politics-as-usual in Washington, DC.”

General Wesley K. Clark is a retired four-star general and served as the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe where he commanded NATO forces and directed Operation Allied Force in the Balkans, putting a stop to the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs. More recently, he was drafted in 2003 to seek the Democratic nomination for President. General Clark remains engaged in public policy and private business development. Authoring two books, Waging Modern Wars and Winning Modern Wars, he and his wife, Gert, still live in Little Rock. He can be reached through his website, www.securingamerica.com.
Doctor Says Jones Violated Rights; Calls for Republican to Pull Ad
McMahan Says Jones’ “lie-filled campaign” Hits New Political Low

Republican Gary Jones drug Oklahoma political campaigns to a new low this week by dramatically distorting Christmas-time video footage of his opponent in a desperate attempt to deceive voters and divert attention from his own stalled campaign and personal failures.

The doctor who owns the footage said he was “shocked and outraged” by the illegal use of his proprietary material.

“This is an improper use of material that belongs to me. I did not authorize its use. I did not sell the material to Mister Jones. I would never allow this type of material to be used in a political commercial like this,” Dr. Don White of Edmond said.

White is a clinical hypnotherapist who routinely does stage shows, events and parties where he hypnotizes guests and gets them to do or say something they would never normally do.

“This material was copied illegally from one of my shows. Gary Jones should know this recording should not have been made and he is, in my opinion, illegally and improperly using this material and I demand he stop immediately.”

White also demanded television stations stop airing the ad or face the potential consequences. An attorney representing White is contacting Jones’ campaign and television stations, demanding the ad be pulled down or face potential legal action.

White said that while he had McMahan under hypnosis at a holiday party he gave him an instruction that he could not count or use the number 6, thereby causing McMahan to appear to be unable to count. White said the skit is a standard show routine that is done “all in fun and is particularly funny when you have an accountant, banker or auditor on the stage.”

The holiday festival footage was taken prior to McMahan taking office four years ago.

“Gary Jones’ entire campaign when talking about Jeff McMahan is a lie. He lies to the press. He lies to Oklahoma voters,” Pat Hall of the McMahan campaign said.
“Gary Jones has taken advantage of Jeff McMahan’s good-natured participation in festivities, where everyone was enjoying the most important holiday of the year, and used it in a desperate smear campaign,” Hall said.

Hall said Jones has resorted to the smear campaign to cover up Jones taking campaign contributions from indicted scam artist who robbed taxpayers, and from the fact that he was audited and cited for improperly shuffling money in his brief tenure as a Comanche County Commissioner.

“Gary Jones was such a poor manager of taxpayer dollars that his actions may have forced the people of Comanche County to repay nearly $200,000 to a federal agency,” Hall said on behalf of the campaign.

Jones and his former business partner, according to court records, also battled it out in court after a special court-appointed accountant found Jones making questionable payments to himself from company funds. Jones paid his partner a cash settlement in the case.

“Gary Jones from all appearances cannot manage his own money. He looks like a failed businessman who has never conducted the types of audits done by the state agency he seeks to lead.

“If Jones is elected, he could turn the only state agency guarding the expenditure of our tax dollars into a cesspool of corruption and personal political vendettas,” Hall said.

GOP’s Tricks Leave Little Treats for American Voters

The Republican Party’s legacy under George Bush is more than just a little scary to working American families according to the Chairman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

“It's Halloween, and right on cue, President Bush is back to scaring the American people with the same tired, old attacks of 2004. But this time, the trick is on him. Americans want change, and a new direction,” Lisa Pryor said. “The list of tricks the GOP has played on the public is long and gives me the chills to know our Administration and Republican-controlled Congress think they can continue to run over our rights and liberties.”

Pryor said from the Iraq debacle, to the Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham lobbying scandals to the alleged cover-up of sexual predator Representative Mark Foley to wire-tapping the phones of Americans, the Republicans have proven to be out of touch with American voters. Pryor said Bush’s “War on Terror” has made America less safe at home and cost the lives of thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq because of the Republicans’ failed plans and policies.

“Democrats offer real solutions and honest leadership. Republicans have been inept at the issues they campaigned on like international safety and they have abandoned issues like job creation, affordable and accessible health care for all Americans, and equal educational opportunities. These are the issues that matter. These are the issues important to the American people,” Pryor said.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Oklahoman Endorses Jim Roth

“County Commissioner: Four years ago, Jim Roth was largely unknown when he unseated Republican incumbent Beverly Hodges to gain the District 1 Commissioner's seat. Since that time, Roth has proven himself an outstanding public official interested in serving his constituents and bringing professionalism to county government. His fiscal responsibility is unmatched. We're also supportive of his efforts to bring ‘home rule’ to county government, which would put him out of a job. This Democrat's accomplishments in the past four years have earned him another term. Along with newly elected District 3 Commissioner Ray Vaughn, a Republican, we're hopeful the pair can restore much-needed order to the commission and make the days of county government as a laughingstock a mere memory.”
ODP Media Release: There’s Something About Mary; A Weak Spot for Corruption, Perhaps?

Mary Fallin, Republican candidate for Congress, proved today that she is part of what is wrong in Washington by inviting morally corrupt Speaker Dennis Hastert to headline a fundraiser for her in Oklahoma City, the chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party said today.

“Dennis Hastert has overseen the most corrupt Congress in U.S. history. Already several Republican members of the U.S. House have pleaded guilty to some form of corruption, one is already in prison, and the majority leader has been forced to resign,” said Lisa Pryor, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair. “I don’t know what Mary Fallin was thinking when she invited the leader of the morally bankrupt Republican House of Representatives to Oklahoma.”

Dr. David Hunter, Democratic candidate for Congress, held a press conference this morning that questioned Fallin’s judgment. “Mary is a career politician who has shown that she can’t be trusted to do the right thing. She’s proven time and again that she has poor judgment,” Hunter said.

“There has been a massive failure of leadership in Congress under Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert and Mary Fallin showed us today that she will not help take America in the new direction we are clamoring for, but will simply be a rubber stamp for staying the course in Iraq and more cover-ups and corruption,” Pryor said.

“Dr. Hunter has been a physician for 25 years. Everyday, his patients put their lives in his hands,” Pryor said. “Oklahomans in the 5th congressional district can trust Dr. Hunter to work for them and to follow his mantra to ‘first, do no harm,’ ” she said.

“On November 7, Democrats will regain the majority in Congress and Oklahoma will want Dr. Hunter to join Congressman Dan Boren in the majority so that together they will deliver for Oklahoma,” Pryor said.

“Voters have a stark choice to make on Election Day. They can send a career politician with a taste for scandal and corruption to represent them in Washington or they can vote for Dr. David Hunter, a man committed to improving the lives of working families by expanding education opportunities, creating jobs and making health care more accessible and affordable,” Pryor said.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


For pithy insight into the differences between 4th District Congressional Democratic nominee Hal Spake and the Republican check out Spake's new political cartoon series at http://www.halspake.com/thusspakehal.html.
Barton Forum in Stillwater

Democratic nominee for the 3rd Congressional District Sue Barton and Rep. Frank Lucas will participate in a candidate forum sponsored by the Stillwater League of Women Voters on Thursday, November 2, at 7:15 p.m. in the Stillwater Commission Room of City Hall.

The forum will be moderated and questions relating to the issues will be accepted on index cards from the audience before the candidates speak. Duplicate questions will be combined, and each candidate will receive the same questions.

Please come out and support Sue! Get there early for a good seat. There will be a district attorney candidate forum from 6:00 - 7:00 just prior to the congressional candidate forum at 7:15.

The forum will be broadcast live on Stillwater's city channel 23 and will be re-aired at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.
Hunter Press Conference

Dr. David Hunter, CD5 Democratic nominee, will have a press conference at 10 a.m. Monday immediately following his opponent's breakfast fundraiser with Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. The press conference will be at ODP headquarters in the Krumme Center, 4100 North Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.

Many Republicans have distanced themselves from Hastert since the Foley sex scandal unfolded in DC a couple of weeks ago. Some have even cancelled fundraising events with Hastert due to his alleged cover up of the matter. Fallin, however, has moved ahead with her event embracing Hastert and the GOP leadership she hopes to join.

Meanwhile, Hunter is gaining momentum in the 5th District as voters become acquainted with his platform delivered in the soft spoken manner of a surgeon who is keen on listening to his patients before offering solutions to their life and death conditions.

Read more about Dr. Hunter here.

Haskell County Democrats in Action

Haskell County Democrats held a successful fundraiser Saturday night at Stigler, with almost 100 people in attendance at the Kiamichi Career Tech center. Sen. Richard Lerblance (above) described the lack of leadership from the Republican House over the past two years, and encouraged a high voter turnout November 7. Haskell County gave Brad Henry 60% of their vote four years ago, and this year's support should be even stronger.

I had the pleasure of meeting Doyle Hamm of Keota, a World War II veteran who spent 208 days as a prisoner of war after being shot and left for dead. He's a solid Democrat who will turn 82 the day after the election. Let's give him a great birthday present with a Democratic sweep! He and all our veterans deserve our thanks and support.

County officers Kim Risenhoover, Glen Kates and Sally Barnett and a host of good volunteers put on a great event. Gale and Pat Maxwell (right) are two of the great Democrats who make things happen in Stigler. Keep up the good work, folks!

To Be a Liberal

"If you mean by liberal someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties. If that is what they mean by liberal then I am proud to be a liberal."

-- John F. Kennedy
Consequences of Majority

If Oklahomans want to have any say in the next Congress in Washington they will elect Democrats in November. Every indicator points to a Democratic Majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and a majority in the U.S. Senate is possible. Majority matters. It matters because the majority party controls the legislative agenda and assigns the chairmen of powerful committees. If Oklahoma sends Republicans to Washington then our position will diminish significantly with their minority status.

Representatives Tom Cole, Frank Lucas, and John Sullivan will be yesterday's news as will their Republican cronies in D.C. Only Congressman Dan Boren, CD2, will be in the majority unless Oklahomans rise up and recognize they have an opportunity to improve our state's position by electing Democrats in the other four Congressional districts.

A Tulsa World story by Jim Myers today says "Oklahomans could wake up the day after the upcoming elections facing dramatically less clout in their nation's capitol.

If Republicans lose control of the U.S. House of Representatives as expected by more than a few, the state will suffer its biggest loss in congressional power and influence in more than half a century.

As many as four members of the state's House delegation could end up in the minority, leaving only one Oklahoman in the majority party that will be controlling that chamber's agenda.

Wiped out would be a current subcommittee chairmanship, the chances of gaining others and opportunities to even get a hearing on legislation the majority of the delegation wanted to sponsor. " To read the whole story click here.

Clearly, Oklahoma has an opportunity here to elevate our position in Washington. Clearly, Oklahoma voters MUST elect DEMOCRATS on November 7th.

This IS about Majority and it IS about our PARTY. Elect Democrats Alan Gentges, CD1; re-elect Dan Boren, CD2; elect Sue Barton, CD3; elect Hal Spake, CD4, and elect Dr. David Hunter, CD5.
This is Baghdad. What could be worse?

Today's Washington Post features a piece on the editorial page by Pullitzer Prize winning journalist Anthony Shadid, an Oklahoma native. The piece is long but every word is worth reading as he describes the reality of Iraq's capital today. For Shadid and his subjects this is not Democrat versus Republican, not Shiite versus Sunni. It is much bigger than that, it's such a cataclysmic mess that "only God can fix it." Read it below.

By Anthony Shadid
Sunday, October 29, 2006; B01


There was an almost forgettable exchange earlier this month in the Iraqi National Assembly, itself on the fringe of relevance in today's disintegrating Iraq. Lawmakers debated whether legislation should be submitted to a committee to determine if it was compatible with Islam. Ideas were put forth, as well as criticism. Why not a committee to determine whether legislation endorses democratic principles? one asked. In stepped Mahmoud Mashadani, the assembly's speaker, to settle the dispute.

"Any law or decision that goes against Islam, we'll put it under the kundara!" he thundered.

"God is greatest!" lawmakers shouted back, in a rare moment of agreement between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Kundara means shoe, and the bit of bluster by Mashadani said a lot about Baghdad today.

It had been almost a year since I was in the Iraqi capital, where I worked as a reporter in the days of Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, and the occupation, guerrilla war and religious resurgence that followed. On my return, it was difficult to grasp how atomized and violent the 1,250-year-old city has become. Even on the worst days, I had always found Baghdad's most redeeming quality to be its resilience, a tenacious refusal among people I met over three years to surrender to the chaos unleashed when the Americans arrived. That resilience is gone, overwhelmed by civil war, anarchy or whatever term could possibly fit. Baghdad now is convulsed by hatred, paralyzed by suspicion; fear has forced many to leave. Carnage its rhythm and despair its mantra, the capital, it seems, no longer embraces life.

"A city of ghosts," a friend told me, her tone almost funereal.

The commotion in the streets -- goods spilling across sidewalks, traffic snarled under a searing sun -- once prompted the uninitiated to conclude that Baghdad was reviving. Of course, they were seeing the city through a windshield, the often angry voices on the streets inaudible. Today, with traffic dwindling, stores shuttered and streets empty by nightfall, that conceit no longer holds.

Even the propaganda, once ubiquitous and often incongruous, is gone. One piece I recalled from two years ago: a map of Iraq divided into three colored bands. In white, it read, "Progress." In red, "Iraq." In white again, "Prosperity." The promises are now more modest: "However strong the wind," reads a new poster of a woman clutching her child, "it will pass." More indicative of the mood, perhaps, was one of the old banners still hanging. Faded and draped over a building scarred with craters from the invasion, it was an ad for the U.S.-funded Iraqi network, al-Iraqiya. In Arabic, its slogan reads, "Prepare your eyes for more."

As I spoke to friends, some for the first time in more than a year, that was their fear: more of the kundara.

"When anyone is against you, when anyone has differences with me, I will put a kundara in his mouth, I will shove a kundara down his throat, I will hit him with a kundara, and so on," another friend told me.

"We live in a kundara culture today."

I had first met Karima Salman during the U.S. invasion. She was a stout Shiite Muslim matriarch with eight children, living in a three-room apartment in the working-class district of Karrada. Trash was piled at her entrance, a dented, rusted steel gate perched along a sagging brick sidewalk. When I visited last year, the street, still one of the safer ones in Baghdad, exuded a veneer of normalcy. Makeshift markets overflowed with goods piled on rickety stands: socks imported from China, T-shirts from Syria and stacks of shoes, sunglasses and lingerie. Down the street were toys: plastic guns, a Barbie knockoff in a black veil, and a pirate carrying an AK-47 and a grenade. There was a "Super Mega Heavy Metal Fighter" action figure and a doll that, when squeezed, played "It's a Small World."

On this day, the metal stands were empty, as were the streets.

"Praise God," Karima said as I asked how she was. In a moment, her smile faded as she realized the absurdity of her words. "Of course, it's not good," she said, shaking her head. "There's nothing that's ever happened like what's happening in Iraq."

On June 23, 2005, three car bombs detonated in Karrada, outside her home, wrecking the Abdul-Rasul Ali mosque and spraying shrapnel that sliced into the forearm of one of her five daughters, Hiba. Friends at school nicknamed her "Shrapnel Hiba." Two months ago, yet another bomb hurled glass through their window, cutting the head of Hiba's twin sister, Duaa. Four stitches sealed the wound. Over that time, Karima lost her job as a maid at the Palm Hotel, where she had earned about $33 a month.

"People are too scared to come," she said matter of factly.

Next to her sat her son Mohammed. During the invasion, Mohammed, an ex-convict, had joined a motley unit of a dozen men patrolling Baghdad's streets as part of the Baath Party militia. Now he had entered the ranks of the Mahdi Army, a Shiite militia loyal to a young cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, and blamed for many of today's sectarian killings in Baghdad. Karima's son-in-law Ali had been an officer in the American-equipped police force, earning $300 a month. He quit after receiving a death threat. Now he, too, had joined the Mahdi Army.

"Not all of them are good," Karima told me, casting a glance at her son.

Stocky and a little surly, Mohammed smiled. "Who else is going to protect Iraq?" he asked.

They debated the causes of the violence that, these days, is the topic of almost every conversation. Radical Sunnis, the Americans, Iranian agents, other militias. "Even the Egyptians," Karima offered. "And the Sudanese," Mohammed added.

"Brothers are killing their brothers," she said.

Stories poured forth: a bomb amputating the arm of a 10-year-old neighbor; another killing Marwan, the barber.

"If they brought the Israelis, the Jews, and they ruled Iraq, it would be better," said Karima, her face framed by a black veil. Sunlight bathed the room; electricity, as usual, was cut off. "It would be a million times better than a Sunni, a million times better than a Shiite."

Her first grandchild, 2-month-old Fahd, sat next to her. His expression was rare in Baghdad: eyes expectant, fearless.

"Is it not a pity to bring a baby in a world like this?" she asked. "It's a shame."

Her eldest daughter, Fatima, looked on.

"One-third of us are dying, one-third of us are fleeing and one-third of us will be widows," she said.

"This is Iraq," Karima added.

The last time I had visited Faruq Saad Eddin, he and his wife, Muna, had argued over whether their eldest son should have left the country. We sat in Jihad, a neighborhood so dangerous now that a stranger risks death by entering it. A generator droned in the background; occasional bomb blasts thundered in the distance, probably homemade mines targeting U.S. patrols. An urbane former diplomat, Faruq had been upset. He worried about what would become of his ancient land if its capable fled.

"You can't just cut out and run away," he told me. "This is our country and sooner or later our children will come back. The resilience of the people, that's what 11,000 years means," he said. "Someone who has 11,000 years, 100 years to lose here or there is not that much."

On April 17, Faruq and Muna left Iraq at the insistence of their son, who had paid a year's rent for an apartment in Jordan. A month later, a car bomb detonated outside their Baghdad home, shattering the windows in the room where we once had shared bitter coffee.

On a cool morning in the Amman neighborhood of Umm al-Summaq, Faruq shook his head at the arbitrariness of fate.

"We would have been killed, no doubt about it," he said.

"We are all stranded, here and there, Iraqis," he added.

A friend once compared the elderly who are reluctant to leave Baghdad to the blind. Take them away from the familiarity of their home, garden and street, and they become lost and disoriented. Faruq has sought new routines: morning strolls, e-mails to friends, a voracious appetite for news and late-night updates on his favorite baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals. His apartment overlooked the rolling hills of Amman, glowing in the morning's soft sun; his granddaughter Mayasa played giddily next to him with a stuffed toy.

"I should feel happy," he said.

He shook his head again, a gesture that meant he wasn't.

"We have a heavy heart, really," he said after a few moments of silence. "Just knowing what's happening makes us grieve."

I had come to know Wamidh Nadhme in 2002, before the invasion. A professor of political science at Baghdad University, he was a forthright voice in those tense, uneasy days when Hussein was still in power. He tried to speak with complete honesty despite the possible consequences of doing so in a police state. With an ever-present Dunhill cigarette, he would slowly field questions back then, reasoning out every intricate response, surrounded by his French-style furniture, worn Persian carpets and a framed piece of papyrus from Egypt, where he had spent time in exile as a young activist. But on this visit, reason eluded him, as did explanation.

"I find myself unable to understand what's going on," he said.

Wamidh had settled into what he called "withdrawal." He still visited the university once a week, but Baghdad was simply too dangerous to venture outside. After nightfall, the streets of his neighborhood of Adhamiya look like they might an hour or so before dawn: dark, without traffic, and menacing. As we talked, helicopters rumbled overhead. Gunfire burst almost continuously.

"You feel like the country is exploding," he said.

We traded stories. One I had heard from a friend: Insurgents stopped a driver at a checkpoint. They opened his trunk. "Why do you have a spare tire?" the insurgent asked solemnly. "You don't have trust in God?"

Well into 2005, Wamidh has bristled at the notion of a sectarian divide, even as the very geography of Baghdad began to transform into Shiite and Sunni halves divided by the Tigris River. Like many Iraqis, he blamed the Americans for naively viewing the country solely through that sectarian prism before the war, then forging policies that helped make it that way afterward. He ran through other "awful mistakes": the carnage unleashed by Sunni insurgents affiliated with al-Qaeda, the assassination of a Shiite ayatollah in 2003 who may have bridged differences, the devolution of Sadr's movement today into armed, revenge-minded mobs.

As Wamidh finished, he flashed his customary modesty. "Perhaps you could correct me?" he offered.

I asked him whether it would become worse if the American military withdrew.

He looked at me for a moment without saying anything, as though he were a little confused.

"What could be worse?" he asked, knitting his brow.

I saw Wamidh again a week later, and the question had lingered with him. "I sometimes wonder what I would do if I were the Americans," he said over a traditional Ramadan dinner. His answer seemed to hurt him. "I have no idea, really."

"It's like a volcano that has erupted. How do you stop that?"

On April 9, 2003, Firdaus Square became the lasting image of the U.S. entry into Baghdad. In its center was a metal statue of Hussein in a suit, his arm outstretched in socialist realist fashion. Like an arena of spectators, columns of descending height encircled him, each bearing the initials "S.H." on their cupolas. By early afternoon that day, hundreds of Iraqis swarmed around the statue with one task in mind: bring it down. It marked the fall. A year later, amid uprisings by Sunni insurgents in Fallujah and Sadr's militia in Baghdad and the south, it spoke of occupation. The square was deserted, guarded by U.S. tanks whose barrels read, "Beastly Boy" and "Bloodlust." Soldiers, edgy, had orders to shoot anyone with a weapon. At times, music blared over speakers on a Humvee.

One song: "Ring of Fire," by Johnny Cash.

As I stood in Firdaus Square this day, after invasion, liberation and occupation, I wondered what word described Baghdad.

"This is a civil war now," Harith Abdel-Hamid, a psychiatrist, had told me, trying to diagnose the madness. "When you see hundreds of people killed every day, corpses of people tortured in the streets every day, what else does it mean?"

"Call it what you will," he said, "but it is a civil war."

Perhaps. But I felt as though I was witnessing something more: the final, frenzied maturity of once-inchoate forces unleashed more than three years ago by the invasion. There was civil war-style sectarian killing, its echoes in Lebanon a generation ago. Alongside it were gangland turf battles over money, power and survival; a raft of political parties and their militias fighting a zero-sum game; a raging insurgency; the collapse of authority; social services a chimera; and no way forward for an Iraqi government ordered to act by Americans who themselves are still seen as the final arbiter and, as a result, still depriving that government of legitimacy.

Civil war was perhaps too easy a term, a little too tidy.

I looked out on the square. On one side were rows of concrete barricades and barbed wire, having faded almost organically into the landscape. In another direction, a billboard read: "Terrorism has no religion." Across the street, a poster portraying Iraqi police pleaded: "We are the heroes fighting for the sake of Baghdad." In the middle of the square, on the stone perch where Hussein's statue once stood, were torn scraps of other posters: "Your voice," "the nation," "patriotism," "dialogue," "building the future." The words were isolated, without context, like fragments of a clay tablet.

Sirens soon pierced the square. Two armed police escorts, headed in opposite directions, rushed along the street. Each frantically waved at the other to pull over. Guns dangling from the window, they fired volleys into the air to intimidate each other.

In time, the one with fewer rifles and fewer men let the other pass. They were playing by the rules of the kundara.

In the square, Salam Ahmed sat with a friend, Saad Nasser, under the statue, looking out at the scene.

"They died under Saddam, and they're dying now," Salam said.

Unshaven, wearing a baseball cap, Saad looked at the ground. He was grim, angry and dejected.

"No one can stop it but God," he said. "Only God has the power."


Anthony Shadid, a Washington Post foreign correspondent, won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. He is the author of "Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War" (Picador).

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The General and The Doctor

With the war in Iraq spinning wildly out of control, Americans are looking to Democrats to fix the mess. Military leaders understand this best and that's why General Wesley Clark has endorsed Democrat David Hunter for Congress in Oklahoma's 5th District.

The war in Iraq continues to be the number one election issue this year. American deaths are nearing 3,000 with 99 this month. "Stay the course" is not a strategy for success. And "stay the course" is clearly not working. Yet, the "stay the course" rubber stamp Congress remains in a state of denial. Our soldiers, their families, and America deserve better, not more of the same.

General Wesley Clark knows that a strong Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives will lead America in a new direction with a strategy for success in Iraq. That majority must include Democrat David Hunter, he said.

“Dr. Hunter understands that our government is going in some wrong directions while ignoring the needs of its people for better jobs, access to quality health care, and better schools for our children so that they can succeed in the 21st century. He understands people’s concerns about the war in Iraq and supports a responsible and definable plan to transfer responsibility to the Iraqis and to bring our troops home. He sees that the government’s spending is out of control and knows what it will already cost all of us, our children, and our grandchildren. It is now Washington that needs healing, which is why David has chosen to run for Congress.”

Mary Fallin represents more of the same. She is a career politician who will be another rubber stamp for her party in Washington. We believe voters must trust our military leaders in these very serious matters. General Clark says we should trust Dr. David Hunter to get the right things done in Washington.

Vote Hunter for Congress on November 7th.
"Abuse of the Public Trust"

It's something we've come to expect from the GOP in Washington, abuse of the public trust, but this behavior knows no borders.

When you are a public servant, and drawing a government pay check, you gotta know that every phone conversation, every piece of correspondence, and now every email could be subject to scrutiny. Throughout history some have claimed executive privilege but the truth always comes out. Surely some of you remember Watergate and the missing tapes and the great investigative journalism that changed the way Washington worked, for a while. And who could forget the image of Nixon leaving the White House.

A man associated with Jack Abramoff was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison for his "abuse of the public trust." The evidence used against him was largely in a stack of emails. In addition to the emails he was found to be lying to a government ethics officer about his dealings with the now disgraced GOP fundraiser. Read the story from today's Washington Post here.
Ballot Issues

We've had several calls this week about the four State Questions that will appear on the November ballot. Sadly, the RAISE Oklahoma campaign to put an increase in the minimum wage did not make it to the ballot this year. But it did in eight other states. Read about it here. Thankfully the TABOR issue didn't make it either. The State Questions for November 7th, 2006 as outlined on the Oklahoma State Election Board website are as follows:

This measure amends Article V, Section 21 of the State Constitution. That Section deals with State pay to legislators. The amendment restricts State pay to some legislators. The pay restriction would apply to some legislators while in jail or prison. The pay restriction would apply to legislators found guilty of a crime. It would also apply to legislators who plead either guilty or no contest. Affected legislators must return any State pay received for time while in jail or prison.

STATE QUESTION NO. 725 LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM NO. 340 This measure amends the State Constitution. It amends Section 23 of Article 10. The measure deals with the Constitutional Reserve Fund also known as the Rainy Day Fund. The measure allows money to be spent from the Rainy Day Fund. The purpose of the authorized spending is to retain employment for state residents by helping at-risk manufacturers. Payments from the Fund would be used to encourage such manufacturers to make investments in Oklahoma. All such payments from the Fund must be unanimously approved by three State officers. Those officers are the Governor and the head of the Senate and House of Representatives. Those officers could only approve payments recommended by an independent committee. Such spending is allowed in years when there is Eighty Million Dollars or more in the Fund and other conditions are met. Such spending is limited to Ten Million Dollars a year. The help given to a manufacturer is limited to ten percent of its in-State capital investments. The Legislature could make laws to carry out the amendment.

STATE QUESTION NO. 733 LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM NO. 341 This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It amends Article 28. This Article deals with sales of alcoholic beverages. Section 6 of Article 28 bans the sale of alcoholic beverages by package stores on certain days. Package store sales of these beverages are prohibited on election days while the polls are open. This measure would remove the ban on sales on election days. If this measure passes, package stores could sell alcoholic beverages on election days.

STATE QUESTION NO. 734 LEGISLATIVE REFERENDUM NO. 342 This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It amends Section 6A of Article 10. This section provides an exemption from property tax. The exemption applies to goods that are shipped into the state, but which do not remain in the state for more than ninety days. This is sometimes known as the freeport exemption. This measure would allow laws to be enacted. The laws could provide for an application process to claim this exemption. The laws could require the application to be filed by a certain date. The laws could require certain information to be included with the application. The application would be filed with the county assessor.

Cardinals Over Tigers

The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series last night!

Friday, October 27, 2006

General Wes Clark Endorses Dr. David Hunter
Citing “Common Sense Solutions for Oklahoma”

*Immediate Release* Contact: Erick Mullen
(202) 409-8803 or emullen@securingamerica.com

October 27m 2006. Little Rock, AR. Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark today endorsed the candidacy of Dr. David Hunter for Congress in Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District.

“Dr. Hunter knows the needs of the people of Oklahoma because his roots are deep. His grandparents came to Oklahoma in a covered wagon in the early 1900s and raised their 8 children here. David grew up in a working class family and played football in high school where his performance on the field earned him an athletic scholarship to the University of Kentucky. David chose medicine as his career and has been serving the people of Oklahoma for 25 years, most recently as Chief of Staff and Surgery at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City.”

“Dr. Hunter understands that our government is going in some wrong directions while ignoring the needs of its people for better jobs, access to quality health care, and better schools for our children so that they can succeed in the 21st century. He understands people’s concerns about the war in Iraq and supports a responsible and definable plan to transfer responsibility to the Iraqis and to bring our troops home. He sees that the government’s spending is out of control and knows what it will already cost all of us, our children, and our grandchildren. It is now Washington that needs healing, which is why David has chosen to run for Congress.”

“In voting for Dr. Hunter, the people of Oklahoma have an opportunity to turn things around now before it’s too late. To change politics-as-usual, we have to vote for someone besides the usual politicians,” said General Clark.

General Wesley K. Clark is a retired four-star general and served as the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe where he commanded NATO forces and directed Operation Allied Force in the Balkans, putting a stop to the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs. More recently, he was drafted in 2003 to seek the Democratic nomination for President. General Clark remains engaged in public policy and private business development. Authoring two books, Waging Modern Wars and Winning Modern Wars, he and his wife, Gert, still live in Little Rock. He can be reached through his website, www.securingamerica.com.


Senator Connie Johnson Media Release:
Governor Henry Signs African-American Centennial Plaza Bill At Ceremonial Event

OKLAHOMA CITY– Gov. Brad Henry signed into law Thursday Senate Bill 1919 which authorizes creation of the African-American Centennial Plaza on the grounds of the State Capitol as part of Oklahoma’s Centennial Celebration in 2007.

The governor was joined at the ceremonial signing by State Senator Constance N. Johnson, D-Oklahoma City, and Rep. Jabar Shumate, D-Tulsa, who co-authored the legislation.

“This is an historic day for Oklahoma and African-Americans and it’s long overdue,” Johnson said. “Rep. Shumate and I faced many hurdles in getting this legislation passed, but we were determined to see it through.”

Gov. Henry added at the ceremony, “I think the African-American Centennial Plaza is an extremely important project for Oklahoma. It highlights a wonderful heritage and culture. I pledge to work as hard as I can to make this a reality.”

Although SB1919 provided authorization for the creation of the plaza, it didn’t provide funding for it.

Rep. Shumate said he and Johnson will work to secure state funding in the next legislative session for the plaza.

He added that a private fundraising campaign has been underway for some time, and is spearheaded by Clara Luper, a well-known Oklahoma civil rights leader, and Thelma Parks, an Oklahoma City school board member, who also attended the bill signing.

Johnson said fundraising should increase once the design committee makes its final recommendation.

“People want to have a visual picture of what they are donating to,” Johnson said. “Once a final design is selected, I believe we will start seeing more donations come in for this very worthy project.”

Shumate said it would take both legislative and community efforts to complete funding for the plaza.

“Legislation and funding for projects like this one don’t happen in a nice, clean package,” Shumate said. “It’s going to take both public and private efforts. Today, we saw what it’s going to take to see this Centennial Plaza become a reality.

“We brought so many of the groups together today that championed this idea,” Shumate continued. “Senator Johnson and I are going to work hard to see that the Legislature does its part and we are going to have to have community support. Together we can do it.”

The project’s design is being overseen by the African-American Centennial Design Committee which will provide advice to the Oklahoma Department of Central Services in the design, construction, and funding sources of the project.

The committee is chaired by Johnson and includes members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Oklahoma Historical Society, Department of Central Services and the Oklahoma Arts Council.

Bruce Fisher of the Oklahoma Historical Society and a design committee member, said the committee will meet Nov. 15 at the State Capitol to hear from the two project design finalists. The finalists were selected from a design competition that was sponsored by an earlier steering committee.

A winning and an alternate design will ultimately be chosen and forwarded on to the executive director of Department of Central Services.

“Oklahoma is going to be on the cutting edge,” Fisher said. “We are going to be only the second state in the United States to have this type of representation of African-Americans on the capitol grounds. It is something that we are going to be absolutely proud of. It will be something that other states will emulate. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the efforts of Senator Johnson, Rep. Shumate and the entire community.”

Themes for the plaza may include Oklahoma’s African American military history such as black Civil War soldiers in Indian Territory; the founding and development of historically black towns like Boley and Langston, which houses Langston University; Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, and Deep Deuce in Oklahoma City, which was the home of some of the most prominent African-American jazz musicians in the country.

“Oklahoma will take the lead among state capitol facilities as far as recognizing the thousands of contributions of the African-American community,” said Currie

Ballard, former historian-in-residence at Langston University, and design committee vice-chair. “I’m very proud of this state for stepping up and looking forward. This is something that will stand the test of time.”

Johnson said she looks forward to seeing the African-American Centennial Plaza completed.

“As Oklahoma celebrates its first 100 years, it will be fitting to have the African-American Centennial Plaza on the grounds of the state capitol as a lasting memorial and tribute to Oklahoma’s rich African-American history,” Johnson said.

Contact: Senator Constance Johnson
State Capitol: (405) 521-5531
Email: johnsonco@oksenate.gov

Indian Country Today Editorial

This op-ed was written by Oklahoma native Suzan Shown Harjo, Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee. She is now is president of the Morning Star Institute in Washington, D.C., She says the GOP is self-destructing at an amazing rate and that "Republicans in Washington seem to be a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of their colleagues who are copping pleas and telling on each other.

Read the whole story.
ODP Media Release: Anthony’s Above the Law Antics Questioned

In a sworn affidavit, a former employee of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission told Tom Daxon that Commissioner Bob Anthony asked to be removed from agency internet tracking because he was an elected official and not a state employee. The incident occurred when Daxon, currently the Republican State Party Chairman, was the Commission’s Acting General Administrator and conducting a computer audit for pornography.

“One would think that if you receive a monthly paycheck from the State of Oklahoma that you would be considered a state employee,” Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Lisa Pryor said. “This issue is about transparency and accountability in state government. If Bob Anthony draws a monthly paycheck from the state then he is a state employee and he is certainly not exempt from administrative and operational checks and balances within his own office.”

Graves offers real leadership to a Commission that he knows well, as he previously served as Chairman of the Commission.

“Bob Anthony has lost his way at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. If Anthony wants to hide his Internet activity, what else is he willing to hide from Oklahomans? Enough is enough. It is time for honest leadership and time for change at the Commission,” Pryor said. “Once an idealistic reformer, Anthony stands in the way of transparent and accountable government at the Corporation. Cody Graves won’t play games with the public like Bob Anthony.”

Some interesting thoughts on Rush Limbaugh.
Why, he must be suffering from

Once again conservative radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, has stuck his foot in his mouth. His recent attack against Michael J. Fox is only one of many character assassinations directed against anyone opposed to his extremist right-wing political philosophy.

How dare he even suggest that Fox was over-exaggerating the effects of his Parkinson's Disease affliction. Has Limbaugh no shame?

Limbaugh should be exposed as the hypocrite he is. Here's a man who's come down hard on drug users and addicts, only for us to discover that he's one himself! Here's a man who has falsely discredited the military combat records of John McCain, John Kerry, and John Murtha, but has never served in the military himself. Here's a man who conveniently tries to overlook the fact that Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and President Bush (the War President) never served in combat.

Mr. Limbaugh has no credibility. When are his gullible admirers going to discover that the Emperor is wearing no clothes?

Paul G. Jaehnert of Vadnais Hts., MN

The next 20 people to come into our headquarters at 41st and Lincoln in Oklahoma City will get a free (much-sought after) bumpersticker:

Vote Democratic.

Pick up some yard signs while you're here, and show your Democratic support for the next 11 days.
Ken Luttrell, Candidate for HD-37, Is Making Democrats Proud

A note from Kay County Democratic Party Chair Bret Carter...

This morning was the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce forum for state house seat 37 candidates. Our guy -- Ken Luttrell -- did a fantastic job! He was well armed with facts and data, and spoke wonderfully without showing the signs of arrogance that his opponent displayed. He even was able to shoot down what his opponent was going to say in response to several questions before his opponent even had a chance to talk! And Ken did this while still showing that he will be a fighter for the people of Ponca City and there rest of his district instead of a puppet of a few that his opponent would be.

In addition, his opponent really bombed on a couple of high-priority questions - regarding health care insurance and the minimum wage. The fact that he is out of touch with the working middle class and the retired was painfully clear to me, and you could feel the negative reaction in the audience to both his answers, even packed as it was with people I recognized as ardent Republicans.

Clearly, Ken Luttrell will do a great job for us in Oklahoma City. When you talk to your friends, family, and neighbors about the upcoming election, be sure to speak highly of Ken Luttrell - just as I know you will do for the other Democratic candidates on the ticket in Kay County.

As usual, one of the best comments I heard came from an audience member who said "Why shouldn't we vote for Stan? He was good enough for four different women to marry!" Hum....

Ken, you are doing a great job!

I also heard that the forum in Kaw City last night where our candidates Ken, State Senate candidate Joe Sweeden, County Treasurer candidate Christy Kennedy, and county commissioner candidate Robert Howard spoke went fantastic for our candidates. There was a great turnout to hear the message of all these competent, caring, and qualified candidates. Good job all!

It is so clear to me as I hope it is to you that DEMOCRATS this year, as always, have a great slate of candidates who care deeply about doing what is right for ALL Oklahomans. Please spread the word! These guys will do a great job FOR us in Newkirk and in Oklahoma City, instead of doing bad things TO us!

--Bret Carter, chairman, Kay County Democratic Party
Rock The House Phone Party at Governor David Walters

Please join us for the Rock The House Phone party at Governor David Walters office on Sunday, November 5. Bring your cell phones and chargers, and we'll be calling people to get out the vote. There will be plenty of land lines if you don't have a cell phone. This is very important to winning back the House.

The event details are:
Rock The House Phone Party
6312 N. Villa (Walters Power International)
Oklahoma City, OK 73112

Sunday, 5 Nov 2006, 5:00 PM

To sign up for this event, click here.

For more information, contact Darla Shelden 840-0244
TAKE SIX in '06

TAKE SIX is an innovative program designed by the Women's Vote Center to reach the 20 million unmarried women who did not vote in 2004 -- the biggest potential group of new voters in the country, and the most likely to vote for Democrats -- but only if they vote.

Come by our office to pledge to TAKE SIX unmarried women to the polls and pick up a "Ask me about TAKE SIX" button. Or you can sign up here.

Getting this group of voters to the polls will be critical to victory in 2006 -- and by committing to TAKE SIX unmarried women to the polls, you can make sure women are the margin of victory in this election.

We know that women trust what they hear from other women. That is what the TAKE SIX campaign is all about; women talking to other women about the issues that matter to them, like health care and economic security, and making clear that they can do something to bring change to our country - if they vote.

TAKE SIX participants commit to identifying SIX unmarried women they will be responsible for getting to the polls. Unlike other efforts that focus only on registration, TAKE SIX asks women to build a relationship with their 6 voters, and stay in touch with them through Election Day -- or ensure their votes have been cast early.

Find out more here, and get involved!

You can vote early at your county election board on the following days:

Friday, November 3, from 8 am to 6 pm.
Saturday, November 4, from 8 am to 1 pm.
Monday, November 6 from 8 am to 6 pm.
Hal Spake at Forum for Democratic Action
Thursday, November 2

Hal Spake, Democratic candidate for Oklahoma's Fourth Congressional District, will speak at the November 2nd Forum for Democratic Action at the Santa Fe Cattle Co. Steakhouse. Mr. Spake, an Oklahoma military veteran and retired diplomat, will introduce the video "Iraq for Sale: The War Profiteers" (Who's getting killed. Who's making a killing.), from Brave New Films. The public is invited to attend.

Dinner service starts at 6:30 p.m. with speakers starting at 7:00 p.m. The cost is $12 for a full dinner or $10 for a soup & salad dinner, which includes tip and contribution to the Democratic Party. The Santa Fe Cattle Co. Steakhouse is located at 760 N. Interstate Dr., Norman. The Forum for Democratic Action, a Cleveland County Precinct 82 project, meets the first Thursday of each month at the Santa Fe.

For more information, contact Deb Kirsner at 360-4481.

Monopoly, Risk, Sorry, Life, Clue

Board games are great metaphors for every day life. We have a stack of them in our closet and when the kids come home to visit they often pull then out for some family fun.

A recent tv commercial by struggling GOP Lt. Gov. candidate Hiett features Democrat Jari Askins as a playing piece on a Monopoly board. If I had the money I'd do a commercial that shows Oklahomans can't afford the Risk of electing Hiett; that Life under Hiett would be Sorry and that voters with any Clue will vote for Askins on November 7th.

Then again, we could mention how many times Hiett passed Go in his Trivial Pursuit for power and collected $200 during the last legislative session for a legislative race that he was ineligible for then traded those dollars in for his Lt. Gov. race. Now, that's monopoly and someone got played. Get the Chutes and Ladders ready.

But hey, politics is not a board game and we don't live in Candy Land. It's real Life made possible by policies that matter and priorities that serve and protect the people. At least, those are the rules outlined by our Constitution.
Chalkboard Math

State Treasurer Scott Meacham has challenged his Republican opponent's simple math skills as outlined in this story in the Oklahoman today.

In addition, Meacham's chalkboard television ad, which began airing yesterday, points out that it's not just simple math that the GOP candidate can't handle. If you haven't seen the commercial yet, check it out later today on Meacham's website at www.votemeacham.com.
State Employee

One would think that if you receive a monthly paycheck from the State of Oklahoma that you would be considered a state employee. Nothing partisan about that analysis to be sure. But there is a statewide office holder, who draws a monthly paycheck from the state, who alleges he's not a state employee and thus is exempt from certain administrative and operational checks and balances within his office.

Developing story. Details coming later today.
Senate Democrats Lead in Key Races

Democrat Sean Burrage leads his Republican opponent in Senate District 2 by 48.7% to 39.2% with 12.2% undecided. This has been a great campaign run by a great candidate, good luck Sean!

Democrat John Mark Young has earned a 7.8% lead over his Republican opponent in the race for Senate District 12. Keep up the good work John Mark, Oklahoma needs you in the State Senate!

Democrat John Sparks has a commanding double digit lead over the Republican in Senate District 16. Not to rub it in or anything but the Republican is polling barely over 30%. Way to go John!

Democrat incumbent Senator Mary Easley has a double digit lead over the Republican challenger in Senate District 18. Thanks Senator for your leadership and sensitivity to your constituents!

Democrat Tom Ivester has a 25 point lead over the Republican in Senate District 26 in western Oklahoma. Tom's a fabulous candidate, a veteran, an attorney, and a farmer. He'll be a great voice for western Oklahoma.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

ODP Media Release: Hunter Supports Smart Science; Fallin Denies Life-Saving Research

Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Lisa Pryor today said Democratic 5th Congressional District candidate, Dr. David Hunter will support smart science and support funding for embryonic stem-cell research if elected to Congress on Nov. 7th. His opponent, Mary Fallin has said she would follow party lines and not support this life-saving research.

“Democrats like Dr. Hunter, a long-time health provider, support this life-saving research. Oklahomans in the 5th District have a choice between a candidate who believes in crafting public policy based on extremist, limiting ideological beliefs, and one who believes in making decisions based on the best evidence available and the advice of experts,” Pryor said.

Pryor said voters can elect Hunter, a forward-thinking health professional committed to improving health care for all Oklahomans.

Stem cell research could open doors to new and improved solutions to medical problems and be the answer to curing diseases that effect millions of Americans living with ailments that scientists believe can treated or cured based on stem cell research.

“The extreme ideology of Republicans like Fallin is standing in the way of public policy,” Pryor said. “Americans overwhelmingly support expanding federal funding for stem cell research, and yet, Republicans continue to cater to their extreme right-wing base. We derserve a Congressman in the 5th District who understands the need to find new and creative solutions to our health care problems.”

Mary Fallin Opposes Breast Cancer Research;
Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre At Home Recovering

Last week, the Oklahoma Democratic Party exposed Mary Fallin's votes against breast cancer research, click here for the press release.

Today, Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre released a statement about her fight against breast cancer. Her doctors found it in August and after a double mastectomy she's in good spirits recovering at home.

Here at the Oklahoma Democratic Party, our prayers are with her. Click the link below to read her statement.

Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol

Sen. Eason McIntyre Says Faith Got Her Through Breast Cancer;
Urges Women to Get Screened

State Senator Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, had always been careful to have an annual mammogram, and had always gotten a clean bill of healthuntil this past August. When she saw the cluster of white flecks on the mammogram image, she knew something was wrong. A couple of weeks later a biopsy confirmed it was cancer.

"Emotionally, I went from shock, fear, denial, a feeling of helplessnessI started really thinking funeral plans," Eason McIntyre said.

But the Tulsa senator soon turned her energy and emotions into approaching the cancer pro-actively. She read everything she could about breast cancer and talked to women who had lived through it and she turned to her faith.

"While the physicians and everyone related to the medical team can do wondersat least for me, if I didn't give it to a higher being, I would probably swim in the same negative thoughts over and over again which will not do you any good during this process," Eason McIntyre said. "I put it in the hands of the good Lord."

Eason McIntyre first underwent a lumpectomy, but learned the cancer was invasive, which meant a mastectomy would be needed. Once again, she opted for a pro-active approach.

"I had already decided that if the cancer was invasive, I would have the other breast removed as well, rather than risk the cancer returning," Eason McIntyre said. That was three weeks ago. Recovering at home, Eason McIntyre said she felt just great and was looking forward to returning to the Capitol.

Because she opted for the double mastectomy and the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes, Eason McIntyre will not have to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatments. However, she will be on a five-year regime of the medication Tamoxifen to help keep her cancer-free. Now Eason McIntyre wants to use her experience to help other women

I really see this as an opportunity to help other women who are afraid and let them know they can get through this," Eason McIntyre said. "I want women to know even though they may be frightened, early detection can save their lives."

Hunter ad hits Fallin on Hastert visit

October 26, 2006 Thursday
By RON JENKINS, Associated Press Writer

A new television ad that began running Wednesday by Democrat David Hunter attempts to tie Republican congressional opponent Mary Fallin to the "moral crisis" in Washington because she is accepting fundraising help from House Speaker Dennis Hastert. ...

Hunter, the underdog in the 5th Congressional District race to replace Istook, began airing a 30-second TV spot in which he says: "Washington is broken and Mary Fallin's part of the problem. She's raising money with the politician who protected a sexual predator.

"That's wrong. This is not a political crisis, it's a moral crisis, and we deserve better."

The commercial spotlights headlines cobbled from newspaper accounts of Hastert's response to the congressional page scandal and his planned fundraising event in Oklahoma City on Monday on behalf of Fallin.

"It's time to give up on the politicians, fix the mess that they made of jobs and health care and get back to living our values, not just talking about them," Hunter says to end the ad.

Hunter had previously criticized Fallin for accepting money from GOP congressional political action committees and called on the three-term lieutenant governor to cancel the fundraiser with Hastert.

At least two incumbent Republican congressmen, Ron Lewis of Kentucky and Don Sherwood of Pennsylvania, canceled Hastert appearances after the page scandal broke. Hastert said he had no knowledge of sexually suggestive text messages that were reported to have been sent by disgraced Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., to congressional pages.

An aide said Fallin was in northeast Oklahoma on Wednesday campaigning for legislative candidates and could not be reached for comment. ...
ODP Media Release: Desperate Hiett Latches on to Democratic Party Success

Lisa Pryor, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman, said today the GOP’s candidate for Lt. Governor, Todd Hiett, is misleading Oklahoma voters by running ads that suggest a strong connection between Hiett and popular Democratic Governor Brad Henry. She said the advertisement is a thinly veiled attempt to distract voters from the Republican’s failed record in the last legislative session.

“This is a simple act of desperation by a Republican trying to plug into the success of a an extremely popular Democratic Governor. If House Speaker Todd Hiett spent more time working for Oklahoma families and less time obstructing progress and playing partisan games, the last legislative session would not be remembered as one of the least productive in Oklahoma history,” Pryor said. “Republicans like Hiett are so desperate to win, they will do and say anything to distract voters from their deceitful and divisive legacy of pay to play."

Pryor said Democrats have a real leader in Lt. Governor Jari Askins. A Lt. Governor candidate who can truly work with Governor Henry and who will get Henry’s vote on Nov. 7. Hiett, in two head-to-head debates with Askins, has avoided answering who he will vote for in the Governor’s race – Henry or challenger Ernest Istook, a fellow Republican.

“He avoids answering a simple question. What else is he hiding from Oklahoma voters? We deserve a Lt. Governor who cares about education and health care access for all Oklahomans,” Pryor said. “Jari Aksins, a candidate committed to job creation and fiscal responsibility, can honestly team with Governor Brad Henry and lead our state forward.”

Things Are Looking Up In Kansas

As previously mentioned on this blog, many Kansas politicians are abandoning the Republican Party and now running as Democrats. Most say that the GOP moved away from them with their hard-right politics that don't benefit the country. One newspaper editorial tells their own story quite nicely.

From the Overland Park, Kansas, newspaper, THE JOHNSON COUNTY SUN:

Why our shift?

Steve Rose, Chairman
October 05, 2006

As we prepare ourselves to make political endorsements in subsequent issues, I can tell you unequivocally that this newspaper has never endorsed so many Democrats. Not even close.

In the 56 years we have been publishing in Johnson County, this basically has been a Republican newspaper. In the old days, before the Republican civil war that fractured the party, we were traditional Republicans. That is, we happily endorsed Jan Meyers for Congress, Bob Dole for U.S. Senate, Nancy Kassebaum for U.S. Senate; virtually every Republican state legislator from here, with a few rare exceptions; and most governors, although we did endorse the conservative Democrats George and Bob Docking and John Carlin.

The point is, I can name on two hands over a half century the number of Democrats we have endorsed for public office.

This year, we will do something different.

You will read why we are endorsing Kathleen Sebelius for governor and Mark Parkinson for lieutenant governor; Dennis Moore to be re-elected to the U.S. Congress; Paul Morrison for Kansas attorney general; and a slew of local Democratic state legislative candidates. These are not liberal Democrats. They are what fairly can be described as conservative Democrats, and we can prove that in our forthcoming endorsements.

But I could not help but put in perspective a more global phenomenon that has led us to re-evaluate our traditional support for Republicans.

This change may come as no surprise to our most cynical conservative readers who would dismiss me (and others on the editorial board) as being a moderate Republican and, therefore, the same as a Democrat. To them, there is no difference.

But the shift, frankly, shocks me, because I have pulled the lever over and over since my first vote in 1968 for Republicans. If I was a closet Democrat, I must have hidden it well, especially from myself, since I always beat up on Democrats in my columns. I have called them leftists, socialists, and every other name in the book, because I thought they were flat-out wrong.

And, for the most part, I still do. I am opposed to big government. I have little use for unions. I never liked the welfare plans. I am opposed to weak-kneed defense policies. I have always been for fiscal prudence. I think back to the policies of most Democrats, and I cringe.

So, what in the world has happened?

The Republican Party has changed, and it has changed monumentally.

You almost cannot be a victorious traditional Republican candidate with mainstream values in Johnson County or in Kansas anymore, because these candidates never get on the ballot in the general election. They lose in low turnout primaries, where the far right shows up to vote in disproportionate numbers.

To win a Republican primary, the candidate must move to the right.

What does to-the-right mean?

It means anti-public education, though claiming to support it.

It means weak support of our universities, while praising them.

It means anti-stem cell research.

It means ridiculing global warming.

It means gay bashing. Not so much gay marriage, but just bashing gays.

It means immigrant bashing. I'm talking about the viciousness.

It means putting religion in public schools. Not just prayer.

It means mocking evolution and claiming it is not science.

It means denigrating even abstinence-based sex education.

Note, I did not say it means "anti-abortion," because I do not find that position repugnant, at all. I respect that position. But everything else adds up to priorities that have nothing to do with the Republican Party I once knew.

That's why, in the absence of so-called traditional Republican candidates, the choice comes down to right-wing Republicans or conservative Democrats.

And now you know why we have been forced to move left.
Very Short Stories

Recently, Wired magazine asked many authors to submit a short story written with only six words. Several of the authors used the task to comment on our current political situation - those are listed below. Read the rest here.

Parallel universe. Bush, destitute, joins army. - Steven Meretzky

Democracy postponed. Whence franchise? Ask Diebold... - David Brin

Three to Iraq. One came back. - Graeme Gibson

Bush told the truth. Hell froze. - William Gibson

K.I.A. Baghdad, Aged 18 - Closed Casket - Richard K. Morgan

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What's Your Personal Platform?

Take the CNN Quiz here, as part of their America Votes 2006, and then share your platform and views with others...
Oklahoman Profiles HD 98 Candidate Rae Weese

Rae is dedicated to improving Oklahoma schools and is doing a great job in her race against incumbent John Trebilcock, the kind of Republican we need to send home.

Read the Full Story....

Candidate puts high priority on interaction

By John Estus
The Oklahoman

BROKEN ARROW -- Rae Weese grew tired of hearing her fellow House District 98 constituents complain about not being able to reach Rep. John Trebilcock, R-Broken Arrow, on the phone.

Her solution? File for office and unseat the incumbent herself.

Weese, a Democrat, said voters need to elect somebody who interacts with the community. She said Trebilock doesn't.

"He's not accessible," Weese said.

Trebilock wasn't accessible to The Oklahoman, either. He did not return repeated phone calls during a four-day period.

Living in District 98 for 30 years has helped Weese get to know the people there better than most, she said.

That's why campaigning against someone with a larger bankroll doesn't worry her.

"I don't know that we need all that much money. I think sometimes people spend an obscene amount of money on campaigns.

"The secret is talking to people one-on-one. Walking down Main Street and meeting all the merchants. Going house-to-house, business-to-business," Weese said.

Weese never has run for elected office but was a delegate for Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and said she regularly volunteers for state candidates.

Her children attended Broken Arrow Public Schools, and Weese spent much of her time volunteering at the schools. She said it gave her first-hand knowledge of struggles faced by educators.

She said while teachers received admirable raises of $3,000 this past year, she would like to see all school workers get a raise.

"The support staff got nothing. They're equally important, from the janitor to the cafeteria to the office workers," Weese said.

She said she won't vote party line if elected and said her opponent has done so too often during his term.

Weese's husband, Dennis, is the Democratic candidate for Senate District 36.

Stay the Course?

ODP Media Release: Oklahoma Republicans Must Change Course Not Rhetoric

Lisa Pryor, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman, today said the Republican philosophy of “stay the course” continues to hurt America and Oklahoma. The Center for American Progress Action Fund today released a report card on the Bush Administration's failing record in Iraq. The report gave the Republican Administration two D's and three F's on their inability to create security and stability, governance and democracy, economic reconstruction and the impact on U.S. national security. The report comes out at the same time as a story in the Washington Post which says the Administration will no longer use the phrase "stay the course" in talking about their failed strategy in Iraq.

“President Bush needs to provide Americans a plan, not more rhetoric, which is carefully crafted in response to plummeting poll numbers on the eve of Election Day,” Pryor said. “Oklahoma soldiers, their families and the American people deserve better. We want to defeat the enemy in Iraq and keep America safe. But, the Bush Administration's failed Iraq policy is feeding terrorism, not fighting it.”

But President Bush isn't the only one who has advocated the stay the course strategy even in the face of evidence of its failure. Oklahoma Congressional Republicans Tom Cole, John Sullivan, Frank Lucas, as well as nominee Mary Fallin, have continued to spout Washington Republican talking points, refusing to admit that the Bush Administration's current policy on Iraq, the war on terrorism, and the economy is just not working. Now that even the Bush Administration has backed off from their failed rhetoric, will Oklahoma Republicans flip flop too?

“Oklahomans already know that staying the course in Iraq is not an option," said Pryor said. “The rubber-stamp set of Cole, Sullivan and Lucas must do more than just change the way they talk about Iraq, they must change their permanent commitment to a failed strategy on the economy, the war on terror, privatizing social security and failing to fund education."


Is anyone else surprised that 9 out of the 10 worst Congressmen belong to the Republican Party? Check out the list by Rolling Stone here, and prepare to be shocked by number 1 - he's only the leader of the Republicans in the House. He's their leader, no wonder the entire delegation is full of corruption!

Let's change things - vote Democratic on November 7!

A Note From President Bill Clinton

Our way works. Their way doesn't.

That isn't just a theory anymore - it's historical fact.

Under Democratic leadership, we created millions more jobs; we lifted millions more people out of poverty and gave them health care; we expanded the middle class and raised the incomes of our families.

The Republicans who control the White House and the Congress have led us down a very different path. They've chosen ideology over community, harsh politics over good government, and personal destruction over common ground. They've left ordinary Americans to fend for themselves, and left the United States isolated around the world when we should be leading it instead.

Democrats have already won the battle of ideas. By a large majority, Americans are ready for a change. But now we need to win the battle on the ground - and that's where you come in. With your help, we can take back the House and Senate and move America forward.

Opportunities like this one come once in a lifetime. The far-right wing that is running the Republican Party has never been more vulnerable.

We are going to pick up seats in the Senate in November. The only question is how many: will we merely narrow the difference between us and Republicans, or will we elect a Democratic majority that gives us a chance to start putting our government back in our hands?

If you see the polls and read the newspapers, you know that every day, more and more Americans from all sorts of backgrounds and every corner of the country are demanding change in Washington.

Republicans are seeing it, too. And they're turning to one of the oldest and dirtiest tricks in the book: they're trying to scare people. They want folks to stop thinking. So when they spread fear, we need to spread facts.

Democrats across the nation are helping candidates all over the country to do just that. Already, they have knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors and made millions of phone calls. They've reached out to thousands of new voters every day. But we need to do more.

I am going to do everything I can over the next 13 days to reelect Democrats across our country to the House and Senate.

The races are close, and in these final days, your help makes all the difference. Americans are turning against the Republicans and are thinking for themselves. They're not afraid. They're hopeful.

If we have the resources to answer Republican fear-mongering with Democratic truth-telling, we are going to win this election.

That isn't a theory either - and with your help, the days of Republican control in Washington will be history.
Jackson County Democratic Party Headquarters

I just spoke with Sweet Pea Abernathy on the phone this morning, and she and the other Jackson County Democrats are working hard for our victory in 13 days. They opened their headquarters about a month ago, and have it stocked full of signs and supplies. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and or just give them a call at 580.480.0044, and thank them for all the hard work they've done this year.
Partnership Project Staff

On November 7th Oklahoma Democrats will reap the benefits of the hard work of our three DNC Partnership Project staffers Teresa Hill, Jason McCarty, and Courtney Ruark. These three are part of the project envisioned and funded by DNC Chairman Howard Dean to build up the state parties in all 50 states.

Teresa, Jason, and Courtney have been working throughout the year to develop precinct and county organizations and to provide a positive message and image to the work of the party -- they have provided dozens of trainings, made thousands of phone calls, knocked thousands of doors, provided creative messages and communications to voters, and developed new networks of Democrats in places where there were none.

Please let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Call them at 405.427.3366. Better yet, make a contribution to the DNC to support the good work of the Partnership Project.
Special Thanks to Kitti

Special thanks to Kitti Asberry, Oklahoma County Democratic Party Chair, for her dedication and support to the ODP staff and officers. Kitti's smile and energy are contagious! She has a great group of volunteers working out of the ODP HQ to help our GOTV efforts. Call her at our office, 427.3366 and thank her for all she's doing to help elect Democrats.
Mayflower Candidate Forum

Last night's forum at Mayflower Congregational Church in OKC was a breath of fresh air and civility. Sponsored jointly with the Temple B'nai Israel, organizers invited Democratic and Republican candidates for local, congressional, and statewide offices. Participants and audience members were welcomed by Dr. Robin Meyers who prefaced the evening with a strong admonition of the importance of the separation of church and state. Meyers clearly stated the ground rules, including no distribution of campaign literature, then invited the audience to listen carefully to the candidates. The audience was polite and obviously very serious about their politics and their faith. Candidates running as Democrats on the ballot who were present included CD5 nominee Dr. David Hunter, Oklahoma County Commissioner Jim Roth, SD40 nominee Pat Potts, HD85 nominee Jennifer Seal, HD87 nominee Dana Orwig, and SD38 nominee Andrew Rice. Sheriff John Whetsel attended but was not on the program.
Congressional Endorsement - New York Style

Today's NY Times carries an endorsement for the Democratic Party's Diane Farrell. Their endorsement changes course from long time support of Republican Chris Shays. While this is a New York race, the arguments to elect the Democratic candidate, individuals aside, hold up across the board from state to state. A vote for Republican incumbents, no matter their local stature, is a vote to continue the egregious failures of the GOP. So, in Oklahoma, a vote for incumbents Sullivan, Lucas and Cole is a vote in favor of failed policies in Iraq and failure to bring "oversight to a reckless White House." Read the story below from the Times. Then encourage all your friends and families, neighbors and coworkers to vote for Democrats on November 7th. It's not personal, it's politics and it's about a new direction for America. Vote for Alan Gentges in CD1. Vote for Dan Boren in CD2. Vote for Sue Barton in CD3. Vote for Hal Spake in CD4. Vote for Dr. David Hunter in CD5.

October 25, 2006
A Congressional Endorsement

The most fundamental rule of democracy is that when elected officials fail repeatedly, voters throw them out of office. If the polls are anywhere near accurate, most Americans have concluded that the Republican Party — particularly the Republican majority in the House of Representatives — has failed egregiously. On Iraq. On ethics. On oversight of a reckless White House. But that conviction sometimes comes into conflict with the feeling that a good representative should be rewarded with re-election, without regard to party.

All of that brings us to Representative Christopher Shays, a Republican from Connecticut’s Fourth District. Mr. Shays has been in office for nearly 20 years, during which his state has grown increasingly Democratic. This year his race with Diane Farrell, a former first selectwoman of Westport, is regarded as one of the tightest in the nation.

The Times has endorsed Mr. Shays in every race in which he has faced a serious opponent. While this page has disagreed with him on many issues — from tax cuts for the wealthy to warrantless wiretapping — we have admired his independence and respected his leadership on issues like campaign finance reform.

Still, as his party has moved to the right, Mr. Shays has taken more and more stands with which we have profound disagreement. His position on immigration reform is far closer to the crabbed, xenophobic stance of the House Republicans than the fairer, bipartisan approach of the Senate. During the campaign, his remarks about the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison — which he minimized as “something less than torture” — were disturbing.

Ms. Farrell, Mr. Shays’s opponent, is an excellent candidate. After eight years as first selectwoman, she has a better understanding than most legislators of the impact of federal mandates and tax policy on local government. She is smart and articulate, and her positions on the issues are extremely well thought-out.

When Ms. Farrell first challenged Mr. Shays two years ago, The Times chose to endorse him as a rare voice for moderation within a Republican caucus that seemed bent on distracting the electorate with assaults on gay marriage, flag burning and abortion while running up the deficit, encouraging a ruinous war in Iraq and supporting a White House bent on exalting the power of the president at the expense of the Constitution.

Now it is time to draw the line. Mr. Shays may be a beacon of integrity, but if he is re-elected, he will vote to continue House control by a party that has repeatedly sold out the country to special-interest lobbyists. His position on Iraq, which has gone through tortuous re-evaluations, now seems basically sensible. But if he is re-elected, he will support a Republican leadership that has refused to question even the most ruinous decisions by George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld about the conduct of American foreign policy.

Mr. Shays has been a good congressman, but not good enough to overcome the fact that his re-election would help empower a party that is long overdue for a shakeup. This decision is painful, but not difficult, given the high caliber of his opponent. With due respect for Mr. Shays’s service, we strongly endorse Diane Farrell for Congress.