Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dean and DNC Women’s Caucus Chair Reiley Respond to Supreme Court Decision to Limit Equal Pay Cases

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and DNC Women’s Caucus Chair Mame Reiley issued the following statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to limit workers’ ability to hold employers accountable:

“Unequal pay has real consequences for America’s hard working families and the Supreme Court’s decision to limit workers’ ability to hold employers accountable for pay discrimination just makes the problem worse. The fact remains that women still earn 77 cents for every dollar men make. Our values tell us that men and women who do the same work should receive the same compensation. Democrats in Congress are keeping their word by taking strong action to remedy the pay gap including passing legislation to raise the federal minimum wage.”

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Thank You Oklahoma Democrats

When Gov. Henry asked me to work with him for the Oklahoma Democratic Party in 2005, I was honored to accept his support and committed to running a statewide campaign for the office of state party chair.

After a vigorous campaign, I was gratified to earn an overwhelming majority in the election for chair at the Democratic Party state convention in May of that year.

The challenges we faced were substantial, but we worked hard every day and reached out to Democrats across the state to help us achieve our goals of being fiscally responsible and putting on the right track.

We worked together for two years to stabilize and expand the reach of the state party.

We worked together for two years to organize, mobilize and energize Oklahoma Democrats, making difficult, but necessary, decisions to implement our strategy for success.

We worked together for two years to develop new avenues of communication for our activists, candidates and elected officials.

We started this blog a year ago to enhance our capacity to provide meaningful information to Democrats about the state party and issues of consequence. We were one of the first Democratic state parties to establish a blog written by officers and staff.

We also expanded our email list to provide consistent contact with Oklahoma Democrats. If you are not receiving our email newsletters please let the party know you want to be added to the list.

We worked together to include more and more of our neighbors in the Democratic family. From Broken Bow to Guymon, Miami to Hollis, we reached out to all who believe in the principles of the Democratic party and invited them to get involved in our efforts.

We worked together with the Democratic National Committee through the Partnership Program that brought us three full-time staff members to assist Democrats across the state with training and winning elections.

We worked together to create new partnerships and initiatives to revitalize the party and place it on a solid foundation for the future.

We re-elected Governor Henry by an astounding margin, held our other statewide offices and gained two more.

And, we did all of this while paying our bills and dramatically reducing (by 90%) the debt the party faced at the end of 2004.

Through it all we remained true to our core Democratic values of compassion, accountability, responsibility and equality, and proved that we are a party that is fair, tough and fiscally responsible.

We have shown what the Oklahoma Democratic Party can do when it unifies around the guiding principle of electing Democrats - without prefix, suffix or qualification. For in the end, majority matters and Oklahoma will be a better place with Democrats leading the way.

Time and space do not allow all the thank yous that should be made so this last blog entry from me will have to suffice as A GIANT THANK YOU to all who assisted us in establishing a stronger Oklahoma Democratic Party and electing Democrats.

So THANK YOU, Oklahoma Democrats and best wishes to the new leadership of the Oklahoma Democratic Party!


Lisa Pryor
Chair, Oklahoma Democratic Party
2005-2007

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hoskin: Affordable Healthcare for Oklahomans and Small Businesses Receives Approval


Representative Chuck Hoskin, D- Vinita, released a statement today regarding the passage HB 1225, which expands the ‘Insure Oklahoma’ program.

“The passage of this bill is truly a victory for hard working Oklahomans and small businesses across the State,” said Representative Hoskin. “Senator Sean Burrage, D- Claremore, and I have been working on this issue extensively since the beginning of Session. Not only is the Insure Oklahoma Program essential to relieving the high cost of healthcare insurance premiums from Oklahoma’s families and small businesses, it also provides health insurance to a group of people who can’t afford health insurance.”

Currently, an estimated 600,000 Oklahomans do not have health insurance coverage.

The Insure Oklahoma, or O-EPIC, Program helps small businesses with 50 or fewer employees pay for health insurance coverage for workers. Participating employers and employees pay a portion of their health insurance premiums with the state picking up the rest of the tab. The federal/state government pays 60 percent of the cost, employers pay 25 percent and employees pay 15 percent.

House Bill 1225 expands the program to cover employees earning up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Currently, the premium assistance program limits eligibility to employees earning no more than 185 percent of the federal poverty level. The bill also expands the Program to include businesses with 250 or fewer employees eligible for assistance.

“I am committed to providing access to affordable healthcare to all Oklahomans,” said Hoskin. “This is a step in the right direction and allows small business to free up revenue to invest in themselves and Oklahoma’s economy. This bill will go a long ways towards ensuring that Oklahomans who work hard and play by the rules don’t have to worry about losing everything because of an illness or injury.”
42,000 Kids

The State Senate passed the "All Kids Act" Monday to provide healthcare for 42,000 uninsured Oklahoma children. Senator Tom Adelson, D-Tulsa, says that Oklahoma children deserve at least the minimum care that is provided to the state's prison inmates. Read about it here and here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

State Convention Resolutions

On Saturday the delegates to the 2007 Oklahoma Democratic Party State Convention adopted resolutions developed through a process that began with the precincts in March and moved through county and district conventions and committees to the state resolutions committee in May. The state resolutions commitee prepared the resolutions and presented them to the convention delegates in Oklahoma City on May 19th. The delegates approved the resolutions package without amendments.

To read the resolutions visit the State Convention blog here.
Senate Moves Immigration Bill Forward

For a review of yesterday's action in the US Senate on the issue of immigration read today's story in the Washington Post here. The action comes weeks after the Oklahoma Legislature passed an immigration bill that some say will be dwarfed by the federal bill if it passes through Congress and lands on the President's desk.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Congratulations to New ODP Officers

Congratulations to the new Oklahoma Democratic Party chairman Ivan Holmes, elected Saturday at the 2007 State Convention in Oklahoma City. Holmes will be working with newly elected vicechair Kitti Asberry who recently completed a third term as Oklahoma County chair. Jana Harkins was elected as treasurer. Delegates re-elected state secretary Walter Jenny, Jr. for a second two-year term.

Democratic National Committee Chair Governor Howard Dean delivered the keynote address to enthusiastic applause from te 600+ delegates. Dean said the next elections will be won by speaking simply and from the heart to the voters about our Democratic values ---- especially fairness, toughness and fiscal responsibility.

If you were there let our readers know your thoughts about the convention.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

State Convention Updates
Click here for State Convention Updates.

Thursday, May 17, 2007


Boren Will Host Telephone Town Hall Mtg

Constituents of the Second District are invited to join U.S. Congressman Dan Boren for his first-ever telephone town hall meeting. It is being held tonight, Thursday, May 17, at 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. Dial toll-free 1-866-447-5149 and enter 12913 when prompted to participate in the meeting. Participants will be able to discuss local, state, and national issues. They will also be able to submit their own questions as well as answer questions by way of the touchpad.
Google Nudity

While Google can continue to return thumbnail images of nudity in routine searches, this blog will not publish nude images. Read the story here.

Ann Coulter, George Bush, Lance Cargill, Sally Kern
247,450

That's the number of Hispanics living and working in Oklahoma. Get data here. Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the state with a 38% increase since 2000.

How many racists live in Oklahoma? Does the census bureau collect that data?

Senate Immigration Bill Close
Just days after the Oklahoma legislature passed a "draconian" immigration bill that many say is unconstitutional and unenforceable the, US Senate is close to an agreement on immigration. Chief negotiator for the Democrats is Senator Edward Kennedy. Seems that the Republicans want a debate on the issue while Democrats want a solution to the problem. Go figure. Read more here.

Show me the money

Check it out....684 Oklahomans have already contributed nearly a million dollars to the 2008 presidential candidates and most of that has gone to Democrats! Get the details here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

DNC ANNOUNCES DATES, MEDIA SPONSORS AND LOCATIONS FOR SANCTIONED DEBATES

The Democratic National Committee in partnership with six state parties today announced the dates, media sponsors and cities for the six DNC sanctioned debates. Additional details regarding specifics for the individual debates including additional media partners and logistics will be announced at a later time. The DNC sanctioned debate schedule will be:

DNC SANCTIONED DEBATES:

July 23, 2007: YouTube/Google and CNN in Charleston, SC

August 19, 2007: ABC in Des Moines, IA

September 26, 2007: NBC News/MSNBC in Hanover, NH

October 30, 2007: NBC News/MSNBC in Philadelphia, PA

November 15, 2007: CNN* in Las Vegas, NV

December 10, 2007: CBS in Los Angeles, CA

"Our strong field of Democratic candidates have been working hard, talking about the issues the American people care about and laying out a positive vision for America’s future," said DNC Chairman Howard Dean. "We are grateful to the media sponsors and our state parties for their role in providing important, diverse settings for the American people to hear directly from our candidates."
Dean Will Address Colbert Nation

DNC Chairman Howard Dean will appear on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" tonight at 10:30 pm. Governor Dean is scheduled at 10:45 pm. The show will re-air tomorrow, May 17 at 9:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 7:30 PM.
Alaskan Bribery Conspiracy Spreads through the GOP Ranks

Two executives from the Alaskan based oil company Veco have plead guilty to federal bribery, extortion, and conspiracy charges. Founder and Chief Executive Bill Allen and Vice President Rick Smith have taken a plea agreement on the charges which requires them to disclose full details of the bribery and extortion they have been engages in with Republican legislators so they would vote favorably for them. Veco and it's employees have given more than one million dollars to Republicans since 1990. Twenty-four thousand of those dollars went to President Bush's campaigns. Bill Allen even served as Bush's 2000 state financial co-chairman during the campaign.


The two executives admitted to bribing one current Alaskan representative, Vic Kohring, and two former representatives, Pete Kott and Bruce Weyhrauch. The legislators have all plead not guilty to federal bribery and extortion charges. Veco was looking for favorable changes in Alaskan tax laws and other legislation. The company repaid thousands of dollars in bonuses to employees for making "donations" to both state and federal Republican candidates. Both Allen and Smith could possible face up to ten years in prison and have to pay 750 thousand dollars in fines. However, since they are cooperating their penalties could be substantially reduced. More and more Republicans are being implicated in this bribery scandal as the investigation continues.

For updates and more information check out http://www.adn.com/news/politics/fbi/

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Convention Rules

Rules of the 2007 State Convention are posted on the State Convention Blog. Click here to read the rules.


Get Your Democratic Gear
At the ODP Convention Friday night. Tigereye will have a booth with candidate and party logos and photos.

Join us for the 2007
Oklahoma Democratic Party
State Convention
Friday- Sunday

For details call the ODP HQ at 405.427.3366
Interdenominational Faith Service Planned

The Oklahoma Democratic Party (ODP) will host an interdenominational faith service Sunday May, 20 at 8:00 a.m. inside the Bricktown Events Center in conjunction with its 2007 State Convention.

ODP Faith Committee Chairman Rev. Jeff Hamilton said the service “is an interfaith gathering integrating an inclusive spiritual community with music and word.”

It will bring together readings from the New Testament and the Koran, as well as Hebrew scripture and Buddhist prayer and meditation. There will also be live music and a reading from a Dr. Martin Luther King sermon.

ODP Chairman Lisa Pryor said, the service is a unique experience for people from all faiths, to come together in respect for personal faith.

“By bringing these varied groups together, we hope to spread knowledge and create a greater since of tolerance throughout our Democratic family and our state,” Pryor said.

Congratulations, Nicole!

Nicole Morgan, one of our returning interns from Spring 2007, just got accepted into the University of Oklahoma Honors College! Come by our office, or find her at convention, and congratulate her. We're proud!

Is Michelle Obama’s Scaling Back at Work for Her Husband’s Campaign Front-Page News?


News of Michelle Obama's decision to scale back her duties as VP of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals and hit the presidential campaign trail with her husband, Barack, has put the spotlight back on the professional and personal choices career women must often make.


The press coverage of Mrs. Obama also reveals the newfound role political spouses play in modern-day elections. Two of the presidential contenders wives -- Elizabeth Edwards and Ann Romney -- are respectively battling cancer and multiple sclerosis, and another spouse -- Bill Clinton -- is a former president.


"I think she's constantly surprised at what people chose to make news," Katie McCormick Lelyveld, communications director for Michelle Obama, told BlackAmericaWeb.com. Lelyveld said a recent front-page Washington Post story, which first announced Obama's decision, had initially misreported Mrs. Obama's intention to leave her job.


"As of May 1st, she reduced her hours to 20 percent and, as we all know in the age of Blackberries, is very hard to quantify exactly how much she is working," explained Lelyveld. "She still goes to meetings, manages her administrative responsibilities and stays on top of some of the projects that she's been working on because her career has always been very important to her. Completely leaving it at this point is not something that she's doing."


A lot of attention is being paid as Michelle Obama publicly makes a transition from her status as a private citizen with a white-collar job to possibly become America's first black First Lady. Last year, Essence magazine listed her among "25 of the World's Most Inspiring Women" while Ebony anointed the Obamas one of "America's 10 Hottest couples."


While Obama reportedly makes doubly her husband's income, she is still the primary caretaker of the couple's two young daughters. Like her husband, Obama attended Harvard Law School, and according to insiders, she is crucial to her husband's success. As a Chicago native, Mrs. Obama as been credited with introducing her husband to mainstream America. He is now the junior senator from Illinois.


Last week, Mrs. Obama made her first visit to New Hampshire, one of about a dozen solo campaign stops she has made. Since Barack Obama's formal announcement in February, she has made 16 joint appearances with him.


"Barack has given people that hope, but he's going to get tired. This is a long campaign," Michelle Obama told Democrats gathered for a house party in Windham, New Hampshire. "I joke he's not going to be able to bring people to tears with every speech that he makes. He's going to make stumbles."


She told those gathered of the sacrifices her parents made to put put her and her brother through Princeton University on a working class salary. She said that dream of supporting a family and putting children through college seems to be getting further away, even with loans.
Obama says she believes as president, her husband could change things for the better, and that if she didn't believe that, she'd tell him to do something else.


Obama told the Washington Post that she grappled with her decision to work after the birth of her daughters.


"Every other month [since] I've had children I've struggled with the notion of 'Am I being a good parent? Can I stay home? Should I stay home? How do I balance it all?'" she said. "I have gone back and forth every year about whether I should work."


Obama does not fit into the neat definition of either stay-at-home or working mom. While she is a vivid example of a full-time executive mother who is supportive of her spouse, her decision to scale back in her job duties is ultimately very personal.


"I believe you should let women decide what they're going to do, as long as they have all the options, they should do what they want," Martha Leslie Allen, Web editor for Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press, told BlackAmericaWeb.com. "Part of the problem that pushes women out of most jobs is it is hard to have all the responsibilities of a career with children when there isn't good child care, and it isn't equally divided. And those responsibilities fall onto women."



Lelyveld speculates the reason Obama's decision is front-page news is "perhaps it's because she's a woman whose maintained her own career. I don't know why that's news, but people think it is."
The more than 280 comments in the Post's "On Balance" blog late Monday reflected a variety of viewpoints on both Mrs. Obama's decision and the media's coverage of it.
"The day I read about the aspiring first husband quitting his job to support his aspiring president wife will be a great day," opined a poster named Meesh. "I think the media report on this type of stuff because our country is very partisan, and news like this is potential fodder for either side. The media thrive on controversy. Issues like these evoke strong emotions, and people want to read about it."


"I think it's clear that in America, we've come to expect the two parent household, and women are clearly in the workforce," according to Kari, who offered that "when you note that women's work is still not valued as highly as men's work in real dollars, and then take into account the backlash against strong working political figures like Hillary Clinton and the backlash against the strength the 41st First Lady Bush endured, you could see why Mrs. Obama made her decision ... Being smart and funny and articulate is wonderful, if you're a smart, funny, and articulate woman working to further her husband and family. Following your own ambitions comes at a political price."


Another comment, from Common Sense, read, "Personally, I'd like Michelle Obama to be First Lady in 2008, but politics is pressure, even for political families. It's no surprise that she has left her job. I'm certain she'll be a benefit to her husband in the campaign. Even so, she will have a high profile, and I doubt this will damage her career. By the way, I don't equate being outspoken with being 'strong.' A leader doesn't simply give orders; a leader is defined by who will follow based on personality, character and principles. Hillary Clinton is not 'strong' by that measure. Hillary is a divider, not a uniter. I'm sick and tired of dividers. That's reason enough to support Obama. I couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton at gunpoint."
---

By: Bobbi Booker, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com
Associated Press contributed to this story.

Monday, May 14, 2007

ODP Chairman Lisa Pryor Statement on Jim Roth Appointment to Corporation Commission by Governor Brad Henry on May 14, 2007:

"We're extremely excited to have Democrat Jim Roth appointed to the Corporation Commission. He will be true steward of the people of Oklahoma. I have the utmost confidence that Jim Roth's experience as an Oklahoma County Commissioner and innate sense of justice will help build a stronger Oklahoma for our citizens. The residents of Oklahoma County will have to work hard to elect a county commissioner who did as much for the people as Jim Roth did."

Gov. Henry Appoints Roth to Corporation Commission

Letter From Jim Roth


Monday, May 14, 2007

Dear Friends,

It has been several months since you last heard from me or our campaign. But I have some really exciting news to share with you.

It has been such an honor to serve Oklahoma County, specifically District One, as County Commissioner. I am very proud of the many great things my team and I have accomplished for Oklahoma County. I am especially proud that each of you have invested in our vision and have invested in the good ideals of public service.

As you may, or may not, be aware, Corporation Commissioner Denise Bode submitted her resignation effective May 31. Today, Governor Brad Henry announced that he is appointing me to fill the vacancy created by Ms. Bode.

I believe this is an awesome opportunity and am so excited to serve. I am thankful to Governor Henry for this opportunity to serve the people of Oklahoma, and I look forward to the challenges that lie ahead on the Corporation Commission.

I pledge to approach my work as a Commissioner with balance and careful consideration. The duties of the Corporation Commission have a far-reaching impact on both businesses and consumers, and that calls for complete fairness and working to build a consensus.

I have tried to be a great steward of the public’s interest as county commissioner, and I believe that our strong record is the reason the Governor decided to appoint me to the Corporation Commission. I promise to serve with the same high ethics and honesty in this new role.

Friends matter more now than ever. We will be running for election in 2008 and will need your help. Please stay tuned for ways to help. I am honored by your friendship and support.

Sincerely,

Jim Roth

Saturday, May 12, 2007


EPA orders Oklahoma feedlot to Stop Polluting the Water

Democrats have long supported the protection of drinking water supplies. This story is in our own backyard -- the EPA has ordered a Watonga feedlot to clean up the local drinking water supply that has been compromised by animal waste. Read about it here.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Congressman Boren Gives ODP Readers DC Update


We asked Democratic Congressman Dan Boren to write us a piece for the Blog and Yellow Dog Dispatch. Here is what he sent....


Congressional Democrats Deliver

by Congressman Dan Boren

It’s an exciting time for Democrats here in Oklahoma and across the country. The party controls Congress for the first time in a decade and we’ve got a great shot at the White House in 2008. Discontent with the current administration is working in our favor, but we know we can’t rely on that alone.

For the first six years of the Bush Administration the Republican-controlled Congress abdicated its oversight authority, allowing the administration to do what it wanted with no mechanism for accountability. The Democratic Congress is doing what the American people expect and the constitution requires: asking questions, demanding answers and holding government accountable to the taxpayers.


We are also working hard to strengthen our military, grow our economy, promote energy security and care for our families. In just four months the House has passed 37 key measures; most with broad, bipartisan support. We’ve advanced legislation for middle-class families and worked hard to rid Congress of corruption.

Never is it more important to meet and exceed our obligations to veterans than in a time of war. When news broke of the substandard care soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan were receiving at Walter Reed and other military hospitals, we held hearings and saw to it that those directly responsible were shown the door. We then got to work on legislation to make sure this never happens again. The Wounded Warrior Assistance Act passed the House by a unanimous vote of 426-0.

Congress last raised the minimum wage in 1996. Adjusted for inflation the federal minimum wage of $5.15 an hour is at its lowest rate in more than 50 years. Minimum-wage earners make up a higher percentage of the workforce in Oklahoma than any other state and it’s time their wages caught up with the increases they have seen in their expenses over the past decade. That’s why I voted in January for a bipartisan bill to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour over two years.

The best investment we can make is in educating the next generation. Democrats recognize that this is the key to a vibrant economy and productive workforce. That’s why we have worked to cut in half the interest rate on federal student loans, expand and improve the Head Start program, invest federal dollars in 10,000 new math, science and technology teachers, and encourage entrepreneurial innovation.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Congress and the President created an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate government failures that day and propose changes to prevent future attacks. For more than two years, the Republican Congress left the majority of those recommendations unfulfilled. In January, the House passed H.R. 1 to improve our border, port, aviation and infrastructure security.

All 50 states, private corporations, the Veteran’s Administration and large pharmacy chains use their bargaining clout to obtain lower drug prices for the patients they serve. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should have the same ability to lower drug prices for seniors. The House passed H.R. 4 to give Medicare the authority to use its buying power to get prescriptions at the lowest possible price.

I’m proud to call myself a member of the party that stands up for veterans, opens doors of opportunity for our children, works for middle-class Americans, and who believes that values are best exhibited by actions and rather than words.
OCCC Young Dems Host Bake Sale for Body Armor

The members of the YD group at Oklahoma Community College have been making cookies and headlines with their effort to raise awareness about the lack of body armor ffor soldiers in Iraq. Congratulations to OCCC YD's and their president Jed Green. I have pasted the story from the Daily Oklahoman below...



Student bake sale benefits troops serving in Iraq

By Carrie Coppernoll
The Oklahoman

Soldiers and cupcakes don't usually go together.
But a group of students at Oklahoma City Community College mixed, baked and iced piles of cookies, cupcakes and other treats to help raise money for soldiers fighting in Iraq. Their efforts, "Bake Sales for Body Armor,” are part of a series of fundraisers nationwide designed to help men and women overseas.

"Even if we don't support the premise for the war, we support out troops,” said Jed Green, president of the OCCC Young Democrats, the group that hosted the sale. "Our troops serve and protect us, and we should serve and protect them.”
The national campaign was founded by a military wife with the help of an Iraq veteran, Green said. Though the focus of the campaign is still to buy body armor, the group has also bought other types of equipment, such as radios and medical supplies.

Last year, OCCC students raised about $2,600 from the bake sale and donations, Green said. Hundreds of dollars have come in so far this year. Some volunteers who aren't affiliated with the school donated sweets for the sale, Green said. One retired man gave about 150 cinnamon rolls to the cause. Green himself made about 80 bags of candy pretzels, which sold out quickly. The students didn't price the desserts; they simply asked for a donation. Some people gave a quarter or a dollar. Others gave $20 for a cupcake.

Green said students, staff and the community supported the sale and were glad to see students participating in such a grassroots effort. Even though the war is thousands of miles away, the fighting affects nearly everyone here at home, Green said.

"It seems like just about everyone knows someone over there,” Green said. "I think it's something that's in the forefront of a lot of people's minds.”


Why Are Hospitals Charging the Uninsured More than the Insured for the Same Treatments?






More than 40 million Americans do not have health insurance. They simply can’t afford it. So, it makes no sense that, when uninsured individuals receive hospital care, they are charged more than those who do have insurance.

Why are the uninsured being overcharged? Insurance companies negotiate rates for their customers; if you don’t have insurance, you lose out on that benefit. This is just another example of how big business squeezes the most vulnerable among us. And it’s yet another sign that points to the growing need for universal healthcare in this country.






A recently released study shows that, in many cases, the uninsured are charged more than 2.5 times the rates that insured patients are charged at hospitals. There has always been a gap between what the insured and uninsured are charged, but that gap has widened considerably in the last 10 years.





Why do hospitals charge people with exactly the same injury different amounts, based on whether or not they have insurance? If the injury is the same, if the treatment received is the same, shouldn’t the cost be the same? Hospitals overcharge the uninsured to compensate for the millions of dollars they lose each year in unpaid medical bills. As a result, a person who is on shaky financial ground may receive a bill that is nearly three times higher than someone who is insured. To make matters worse, this individual could probably be subject to aggressive debt collectors; hospitals have stepped up their collections process in recent years.





Hospitals and lawmakers have been heavily criticized for this practice, and rightly so. Despite the scrutiny, no plan has been developed to level medical costs for the uninsured.





Allowing hospitals to squeeze the uninsured with marked-up rates is wrong, plain and simple. This practice must end immediately. A universal healthcare program could solve this problem for all of those involved. Universal healthcare will ensure that those in need of medical care can receive it, without having to worry about how they’ll pay the bill. It will also guarantee that healthcare providers will be paid for their services.





The current healthcare system does not work for every American. It must be fixed. Lawmakers must turn their attention to universal healthcare and explore how they can make this a reality and not just a campaign concept. Perhaps this new Democratic Congress can move this issue forward. Or maybe the crop of presidential hopefuls will breathe new life into this ongoing discussion.
---
Judge Greg Mathis is national vice president of Rainbow PUSH and a national board member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.





By: Judge Greg Mathis, Special to BlackAmericaWeb.com

Taking Care of Business...

The Democratic Way




Delegates of the 2007 Oklahoma Democratic Party State Convention have you purchased your Breakfast and Lunch tickets? We still have tickets available for you.

Saturday Breakfast-$10


Saturday Box Lunch- $15

Tickets available for purchase at the Oklahoma Democratic Party. Make checks payable to ODP. For convenience we accept Visa and Mastercard. For payment arrangements call 405-427-3366.
Cole's Shakedown of Lobbyists

Read this story about Tom Cole's NRCC shakedown of lobbyists for contributions. It includes details from his 28-page "how to" kit.

OUCH -- $3.02

Filled up the car last night at our neighborhood 7-11 and paid $3.02 per gallon for gasoline. Just a month ago it was $2.67. The Washington Post has a story today on the rising cost of gasoline and the pinch at the pump. The story discusses big oil, price gouging, refineries, drilling, and politics. We in Oklahoma have some experience with "big oil" and have become accustomed to lower than national average prices at the pump -- perhaps those days are over.

For a local view of pump prices check out this site and if you are traveling check out this one.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Code Blue for the ER

Oklahomans are using their local emergency rooms for primary health care creating a critical care situation for the system. Recent legislation and debates have centered around the escalating costs of healthcare in Oklahoma and across the nation. The debate centers around healthcare delivery and so-called "frivolous lawsuits." Read this story posted yesterday by Newsweek and let us know what you think about this issue.

24

That's right, 24 is the number of states holding presidential primaries or caucuses on Feb. 5, 2008. That's nearly half of all the states. Among the 24 are Oklahoma, California, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. Some states are moving their primary in an effort to gain more attention and possible campaign dollars from the candidates. Here in Oklahoma, state law mandates that our primary is the first Tuesday in February. In 2004 we were part of super Tuesday, in 2008 we will be part of super duper Tuesday. It's likely that the nominees will be locked in that night giving the predictive nominees full sway before the nominating convention in summer 2008 and making this one the longest general election campaign in modern history.

Washington Post columnist David Broder comments on the "rush to judgement" here. Leave your comments on the primary process on this blog.

In the Money

Good news for the budget battle at the state capitol....there's now $175 million more than previously expected to allocate. The "spillover" is meaning remaining after filling the state's Rainy Day fund. The funds will likely be spent on one-time expenditures. Read more here.

Rumor has it that a budget agreement is imminent. The first of several "sine die" parties for state legislators was held last night and they are ready to go home, but not before they reach a budget. Expect something very soon.
Williamson and the Exorcist

Our fellow Democrats over at www.demookie.com are following a story about Sen. Williamson's star "witness" in the SB714 debate debacle. It has all the makings of a tabloid hit with drugs, demons, and politics all in one story. Check it out here.
Immigration Bill, Who Pays?

Now that Gov. Henry has signed the "immigration reform bill" the focus is on who will pay for enforcement and what will the actual consequences be to the state's education, healthcare, and economic development? Read more here. And leave your comments about the new law on this blog.

Henry's Veto Sustained a Second Time

A second attempt to override Gov. Brad Henry's veto of SB714 failed at the state capitol yesterday.

A Tulsa World poll this week indicates that Oklahomans statewide support the Governor's position on this controversial bill. Specifically, 75% of the respondents believe that abortion is a medical decision involving the woman and her doctor as opposed to a legal ad moral decision to be decided by the government. Only 8% of the respondents said they did not know or refused to answer the question.

Governors Support Hillary

Two more Governors have officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for President saying she alone can reverse the current "leadership deficit" in the White House and abroad.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer are both Clinton supporters. Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack is a campaign chair for Clinton and others are being added daily. Some say that governors are the real bellweather of a state's electorate and where go the governors, go the voters.

Read about O'Malley's endorsement here. If you are a Hillary supporter, add your comments to this post.


Military Not Enough

Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wes Clark told students at Union College yesterday that winning the war in Iraq will be based on ideas, alliances, and respect, not sheer military might. Read about it here.

Clark has not ruled out a bid for the White House in 2008 and continues to speak out against the failed strategy and lack of diplomacy from the current administration. Clark, a centrist Democrat, was, and still is, popular in Oklahoma where he won the 2004 primary election.

Generals Blast Bush

Three retired generals are blasting Bush with tough words on a new ad campaign sponsored by VoteVets. Saying that the President ignores sound military advice and surrounds himself with like-minded subordinates, the generals are speaking out loud and clear against failed policy and a flawed war that has decimated the Army and Marine Corps. Read more here. See the first ad here.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Democratic Party Activist Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

The Oklahoma Democratic Party today announced that Inez Hall, Okfuskee County; the late Keith Smith, Oklahoma County; and Gladys Walters, Sequoyah County, will be inducted into the Oklahoma Democratic Party Activist Hall of Fame on May 19th in Oklahoma City in conjunction with the ODP's State Convention.
The ODP Activist Hall of Fame, created in 2002, recognizes individuals for their commitment and hard work electing Democrats and improving the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

"These inductees embody our party and the willingness we have to help people and make our state a better place to live, work and raise a family. The combined commitment of the inductees represents many years of leadership, responsibility and action in our state," said ODP Chairman Lisa Pryor.

Pryor said inductees were chosen from a statewide nomination process which fielded dozens of worthy nominations.

"These three inductees were chosen after the selection committee painstakingly reviewed numerous nominations," said Pryor. "The Oklahoma Democratic Party has such a strong history - this will be a competitive process for decades."

The 2007 Hall of Fame Inductees will be honored at a dinner at the ODP convention in Oklahoma City, on Saturday, May 19, 2007 at 7 p.m. in the Cox Convention Center. In addition to the induction ceremonies, the honored activists will also be memorialized on a permanent plaque in the party's headquarters located on Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City.

This year's inductees are:

Inez Hall is an Okfuskee County Democrat with a long history of being active in local, district, and state Democratic Party politics. Her experience as the Second District Secretary and accomplishments have validated her position in the Activist Hall of Fame.

Keith Smith, who passed away in 2006, was an activist on behalf of women, children, the environment, and the GLBT community. Smith was a Yellow Dog Democrat who lobbied for the Sierra Club and Planned Parenthood. He was a compassionate and tireless advocate for civil rights in Oklahoma.

Gladys Walters is an active member of the Sequoyah County Women's Democrat Club with over 50 years of service. Also known as Ms. Democrat, Walters has set an example for Democrats in her county by being dedicated and willing to work for the party. She has served as the Sequoyah County Chair, Co-Chair, and Secretary.

Representaive Anastasia Pittman, keynote speaker for up coming graduation ceremonies.

2007 John Wesley Charter School graduation is scheduled for Friday, May 11, 2007. After this graduation ceremony, the school will close its doors. The graduation will be held at the Saint Luke United Methodist Church located at 222 NW 15th Street. For more information contact Ms. Thompson at (405) 427-6800.

Rep. Pittman will be the keynote speaker at the African American Achievement Celebration for her alma matter, OU-Norman. The graduation ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2007 at 8 p.m. the event will be held in Reynolds Performing Arts Center at the OU-Norman Campus located at 560 Parrington Oval. For more information contact, Ms. Kimberly Rutland, Assistant Director of Student Life at (405) 325-3163.
Boren Talks Iraq Spending With Bush

U.S. Congressman Dan Boren and other conservative Democrats met today with President Bush and his top policy advisers on issues including energy, immigration and the war in Iraq. Boren, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, pressed Bush for a commitment to implement benchmarks that would measure progress in Iraq. The two also discussed the upcoming vote on the supplemental spending bill for the war, and Bush expressed his desire for a plan to fund the troops through September.

"The president's meeting with congressional leaders last week and with conservative members of the Democratic caucus today is a positive sign," Boren said. "Conversations like this help bridge that gap and bring us closer to a compromise that will put resources in the hands of our men and women on the ground."

Boren has continually opposed efforts in Congress to impose a timeline for troop withdrawal in Iraq. Bush vetoed a bill last week that would have required him to bring troops home in October of this year. Congressional leaders have outlined a new proposal to fund the war through July and then revisit the issue.

"My preference would be for a bill that gets us through September," Boren said. "But I will take a hard look at any proposal that gives our troops the support they need without tying the hands of our military commanders."

For the past 18 months, Boren has been calling for effective benchmarks to measure the progress of the Iraqi government. Boren asked Bush about his thoughts on such a plan which has broad bipartisan support in Congress.

"The president seemed open to benchmarks with some teeth," Boren said. "As we move forward I think this is an area where Democrats and Republicans can come together."
Morality and Political Courage

Note: This message about SB 714 is from ODP Faith Outreach Committee Chairman Jeff Hamilton, an Oklahoma City minister and former state legislator.

SB 714 has produced considerable controversy and misunderstanding. As an ordained minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a former member of the Oklahoma Legislature, I wish to share my take on the issues.

First, there are legislators and theologians who feel that human freedom and individual conscience are dangerous entities. Those of this kinship feel that they must squelch freedom and conscience whenever it makes them feel uncomfortable. The most notable outrage of this mentality can be seen in the horrific actions of the President of the United States and the Congress when they wrote special legislation restricting medical compassion and the spirit of common sense in the Schiavo case. I perceive the same horrific mentality present in SB 714. The Governor's veto was morally right.

Second, there are legislators and theologians who disdain women in general and low income women in particular. The attitude evinced by them is known as patriarchy. It is common place in the Bible and asserts that women deserve to suffer, especially when sexuality is at stake. These legislators and theologians celebrate female suffering: a woman who is married cannot be raped because she is subject to her husband. Sound familiar? Therefore, restrict a poor woman's right to a medically safe abortion, for she is not much above the level of chattel. That a teacher named Jesus abrogated that point of view is lost on some theologians and legislators. The Governor was morally right in vetoing SB 714.

Finally, there are few theologians and legislators who are trained in the field of medicine; few, if any, have emptied bed pans or tended to the butchery of a botched backroom abortion. But pay that no mind if you are a member of the Oklahoma Legislature or if you fashion yourself a religious ideologue for you can feel free to practice medicine without a smidgen of training. In case you have forgotten, practicing medicine without a license is still illegal. The Governor was morally right in vetoing SB 714.

Those legislators who sustained the veto, then, have, in my view, a deeper morality on their side and a profound sense of political courage.

-- Jeff Hamilton, M.Div.

Congratulations Christine Byrd


"Living life is much more than just being alive. I have chosen to jump in with both feet knowing wisdom awaits me in the depth. For within the depth, I will find my true self" -Christine Byrd


A native of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Christine is the mother of four children and the grandmother to three. Congratulations to Christine the newly elected Vice Chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party Fifth District. She is also the president of the Metro Federation of Democratic Women. Christine was recently honored by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Oklahoma City Alumnae Chapter. Breakfast For Milady " A Tribute To Mothers".

Askins Named Small Business Advocate in Oklahoma

Gov. Brad Henry has appointed Lt. Gov. Jari Askins as Oklahoma’s Small Business Advocate, a role tasked with providing assistance to small business owners throughout the state. Read the full story.
Representative Mike Reynolds' Misguided Attack

Oklahoma City State Representative Mike Reynolds has now become the latest Republican to launch a laughable, misguided attack against state Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan.

"The Republican smear pattern is to place the name of a good person in a story with someone they at one time met, knew, worked for, took a contribution from or had a contact with who may have done something wrong that was unknown at the time. This is the political version of the Kevin Bacon game," Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Lisa Pryor said. "And, as we all know from that game, you can connect anyone to anyone else in six moves or less. In the political realm it becomes a dishonest and perverse sport, which Republican political hacks seem to revel in. If they would do real work for the people of Oklahoma maybe they wouldn't have so much time on their hands. Instead, they play the Oklahoma Politics version of the Kevin Bacon game."

Look at how the game is played, using Republicans: Jack Abramoff gave tainted money to Ernest Istook; Ernest Istook was supported by Oklahoma Republican Party chair Gary Jones; Gary Jones knows Mike Reynolds; therefore, Mike Reynolds probably took tainted money from Jack Abramoff; he does not show it on his ethics report, therefore Mike Reynolds appears to have broken Oklahoma Ethics rules.

Crazy? Yes. It's also very easy to do. But, the dishonesty doesn't stop there. Mike Reynolds claims Jeff McMahan broke Oklahoma criminal laws by having his office spokesperson talk to reporters about the false charges levied against him. Yet, Mike Reynolds attacks McMahan through a press release sent by and likely prepared by employees of the House of Representatives media office, who are paid by state tax dollars. Therefore, using his own logic, Mike Reynolds has broken Oklahoma criminal laws. Wonder when he will turn himself in to the law?

On Tuesday, Reynolds claimed McMahan violated state law by having his office spokesperson answer questions from reporters about McMahan's efforts to set the record straight. In his release, Reynolds claimed, "it is indefensible to co-mingle political activity with the official state functions of the office."

Pryor said, "it is more than just a little ironic that Representative Reynolds used the state- funded House of Representatives media office to send out, if not prepare his lame political hackery." She said this proves once again, that the hypocrisy and deceit of the Republican political noise machine knows no limits. The Oklahoma Republican Party is once again led by sore loser Gary Jones, who has twice lost to McMahan in the race for Auditor and Inspector, so these kinds of attacks should also come as no surprise.

Republicans are throwing mud at McMahan because he accepted campaign donations from alleged straw donors. McMahan announced he would return the money and amend his campaign finance reports, as allowed by state law, to correct the discrepancy. McMahan accepted donations legally and properly accounted for them in his required ethics reports. The improper activity, if there was any, was done by the donors, Pryor said. McMahan had no knowledge of their behavior nor did he have any control over them.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Our Troops Deserve a Strategy for Success Now

Democrats remain united in our efforts to change course in Iraq and build an Iraq strategy that makes America more secure. We look forward to a substantive discussion with the White House and welcome those Republicans to the debate who are beginning to realize the current path in Iraq is not sustainable. There is no time to waste. Our troops deserve a strategy for success now.

IRAQ
We are hopeful that some Congressional Republicans – including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott and House Minority Leader John Boehner – are beginning to realize that the current path in Iraq is unsustainable, and hope those who have remained silent throughout this debate will begin to put their country ahead of their political party.

We are working to craft legislation that transitions the mission because a military solution is unrealistic without a political, diplomatic and economic strategy. Nothing is off the table.

The President may be content with keeping our troops mired in the middle of an open-ended civil war and spending $8 billion a month in Iraq while problems go unaddressed at home. But the American people are not.

Our troops and the American public are the ones feeling the consequences of a failed strategy in Iraq. Until there is accountability in Iraq, this Administration and the Iraqi government are getting a free pass. That is wrong.

o Terrorist attacks are up across the globe.

o April was one of the deadliest months of the Iraq war and the White House predicts an increase in casualties.

o Our National Guard equipment is in Iraq rather than standing ready to help with disasters here at home.

o Our Air Force’s fleet is wearing out faster because of heavy use in the war.


IMMIGRATION
Senate Democrats are committed to fixing America’s broken immigration system in a tough, fair and practical way.

Instead of offering unworkable proposals, the President should work with Democrats to reach a solution both Republicans and Democrats can support.

We need bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens border security, reunites families, creates tough and smart workplace enforcement, and brings 12 million people out of the shadows of our society.

Undocumented immigrants will have to get in the back of the line and earn their way to legalization.

We believe that our immigration laws should be realistic and reflect our nation’s values. Our immigration system should make us safer while recognizing the enormous contributions that immigrants make to our nation.


Congratulations Whitney!!!!

The ODP's dedicated intern Whitney Denton will be spending the summer in Chicago, IL working in the campaign headquarters of Senator Barack Obama. She will do a great job and get an insider's look at a U.S. Presidential campaign. It will be invaluable training and we are all very proud of her.


Breakfast for MiLady Celebrating Mothers

I would like to Thank the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Oklahoma City Alumnae Chapter for honoring me as part of there Delta May Week. I was one of sixteen women (below) that the Deltas honored in a program that they call Breakfast For MiLady "A Tribute To Mothers." The Deltas were gracious by recognizing my work in the community, in the Party and in the church. The picture at the left are all of the ladies honored, the picture at the right, honoree Teresa Hill and her escort Jason McCarty (above).



Monday, May 07, 2007


How low can he go?

That's it, Bush's current approval rating, is at an all time generational 28%. The flip, of course is that 72% disapprove of the president.

Check it out here and here.
Gov. Henry Signs Bill Addressing Teachers’ Pension System

Gov. Brad Henry today signed a bill that will put the Oklahoma Teachers’ Retirement System (OTRS) on the road to fiscal stability. Providing a permanent fix for OTRS was one of the top priorities outlined by the governor in his 2007 State of the State address in February.



Senate Bill 357, by Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield (D-Ardmore) and Rep. Chris Benge (R-Tulsa) will gradually increase employer contribution rates to OTRS. The measure will bring the system, currently less than 50 percent funded, up to 80 percent funded by 2026.

“Oklahoma’s teachers are some of the finest public servants in Oklahoma,” Gov. Henry said. “In serving our children, they have served all of us and they deserve a pension system that is solvent, secure and able to fulfill the state’s commitments.”

The Oklahoma Teachers Retirement System currently has an unfunded liability in excess of $7 billion and is rated one of the worst funded pension systems in the country.

State Treasurer Scott Meacham, who served as the governor's point person on OTRS reform, noted that teachers will not be the only beneficiaries of SB 357. Oklahoma’s bond rating could benefit from the action as well.

“As the unfunded liability is decreased over the next 19 years, I believe the bond rating agencies will look more favorably on our ratings, and that will ultimately save taxpayers money,” said Treasurer Meacham.
BUSH APPROVAL AT 28 PERCENT

George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation. Read about the "Elephant in the Room."
Democrat Breaks Down HB 1804

Oklahoma Democrat Bill Clifford provided us with this great break-down of the immigration bill -- HB 1804 -- currently on the Governor's desk for approval or veto......

House Bill 1804
: 1804 is an effort by some of our State Legislators to insert Oklahoma into the Federal issue of Immigration. It seems aimed at people of Hispanic or Latino heritage. The problem with H.B. 1804 (the so-called "Oklahoma Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act of 2007") is the number of problem areas it creates.


Money:A House Fiscal Impact Analysis of HB 1804 (attached) declares start-up costs to be minimal. Long term considerations: "None". However, a review of a bill similar to HB 1804 by eighteen departments of Colorado's Joint Budget Committee identified over $2 million in increased state costs associated with that legislative proposal, without any savings to the state. In addition, costs to implement provisions of this bill by the Department of Public Safety and Oklahoma's local governments are not included in the analysis done on HB1804 by the Oklahoma House Staff.

Respect for the Law : Advocates for HB 1804 note that most of this bill is existing federal law. That's true. However, if the Memorandum of Understanding required in Section 10 is drawn under the Oklahoma Interlocal Cooperation Act (Title 74, O.S., 1001-1008), the bill's structure turns Oklahoma Law Enforcement Agencies at every level throughout the State into extensions of various federal agencies. Under Oklahoma's Interlocal Cooperation Act, different levels of government share powers. Once HB 1804 is linked to provisions of the Interlocal Cooperation Act by Memorandum of Understanding (as required in Section 10 of HB 1804), the federal immigration tasks delineated in HB 1804 become our responsibilities, with no reimbursement provisions in the bill. Also, legal mandates (unfunded, or otherwise) established by H.B. 1804 will continue to have the force of state law, even after new immigration legislation is enacted at the National level. And, by the way, making our police and sheriffs' departments federal enforcement agents can significantly reduce effective "community policing" efforts designed to foster cooperation among neighborhood residents and local law enforcement authorities in areas like anti-gang and drug enforcement activities.

Human Service Organizations
: HB 1804 requires that agencies of the State of Oklahoma, its political subdivisions, their contractors, and their subcontractors use a "status verification system" to confirm citizenship status of persons reasonably suspected of being in this country illegally. Many of Oklahoma's charitable and non-profit human service organizations literally don't know how this affects their service-client relationships - - or how they might be able to pay the federal costs associated with obtaining the required information.

Legal Challenges: Finally, many aspects of HB 1804 appear to be unconstitutional. It attempts to force state authority into areas that the Courts have already determined to be an exclusive federal power - - the power to regulate immigration.[De Canas v Bica, 424 U.S.351 (1976)]. If passed into law, HB 1804 could involve the State of Oklahoma in an expensive court fight, as it tries to defend this legislation on its Constitutional merits. This, at a time when both the Congress and the White House are exploring a federal solution to illegal immigration through the already introduced, bipartisan STRIVE Act (HR 1645), which is currently being negotiated. Setting state-related enforcement costs aside for just a moment, passage of HR 1645 would make Oklahoma's efforts to defend the legitimacy of HB 1804 not only expensive, but also unnecessary.

"1984": Also attached is a press release, issued by a National influence group, commenting on the passage of H.B. 1804. Portrayal of this legislation by this group as a major victory for "civil rights" reminds me of the terms "newspeak" and "doublespeak" adapted from the Orwell novel "1984". In fact, if it's made law, H.B. 1804 does turn Oklahoma's private and public employers into a kind of "secret police" network, required to report to Authorities those persons "reasonably suspected" (?) as being in this country illegally - - all in the name of citizen protection.

Official Data: The U.S. Bureau of the Census shows Hispanic and Latino people to be an established and rapidly growing part of localities throughout the State of Oklahoma. These people have become part of our respective communities. We, as a People, need to reach out to them and help them fully participate in the democracy that our State and Nation promise.

That's the American Way...
Gannett News Service: 'Prez on the Rez' event hailed as historic landmark

A group of Native Americans is hoping to make history by sponsoring the first major presidential forum in Indian Country. INDN's List Education Fund, which is working to place Indians on the political map, is planning a forum with Democratic candidates Aug. 23. The forum would mark the first time presidential candidates assemble together on Indian land for a campaign event.

Read the full story.

Black Women Voters Mobilizing in 2008

Black women across America are meeting, mobilizing and empowering themselves as a critical voting bloc for the 2008 presidential election.

Three prominent civil rights organizations -- the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, headed by Melanie L. Campbell; the National Council of Negro Women, chaired by veteran women's and civil rights leader Dr. Dorothy I. Height, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, led by Clayola Brown -- met in Washington D.C. and created the Power of the Sister Vote 2008 to lead a national debate about black women, the political process and the 2008 presidential election.

"Black women represent over 56 percent of the registered black electorate. In the 2004 presidential election, black women represented 58 percent of the total black vote," Campbell said in a statement. "Our voices weigh heavily in our family's civic engagement decisions."

The Sister Vote 2008 meeting represents the first in a series to draw attention to black women and young voters. More than 30 national and state-based black women leaders and opinion makers attending a session last month where they were briefed on the 2008 Republican and Democratic National Committee political process.

Donna Brazile, a Democratic political consultant, said according to the 2004 Census Bureau, black women's registration and turnout rates were 67.9 percent and 59.8 percent, both higher than the overall population figures (65.9 percent and 58.3 percent); according to the exit polls in 2004, black women were 7 percent of all voters.

"Black women are in a key position to help shape the debate and outcome of the 2008 presidential race," Brazile told BlackAmericaWeb.com last week.


The group was briefed by aides for several presidential candidates, including Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Issues discussed during the three-hour meeting included economic disparity, full funding for health care, support for affirmative action, immigration policy, access to quality education and the expected impact of the black women's vote during the 2008 elections.

"We told the attending presidential campaigns that the women's group will actively monitor the policy statements and promises made by each presidential contender," Campbell said. "Our goal is to educate and to inform. An element of our strategy includes the release of a report delineating each candidate's position on issues having an impact upon black women's lives."

According to the group’s statement, "while invitations to attend the dialogue were extended to both major political parties, only the Democratic National Committee (DNC) elected to send representation."

"Questions were raised in the invitation to each committee about convention planning. The Republican National Committee respectfully declined, citing that it was too early in their planning process to provide concrete information about their convention, slated for Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN."

Amaya Smith, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said it appears Republicans do not take black women seriously.

"African-American women will play a key role in this next election, yet Republicans are already writing them off," Smith told BlackAmericaWeb.com. "Democrats' early commitment shows that we are not taking any vote or voter for granted. It’s too bad that Republicans have already discounted them."

Black women, much like the black community, are not a monolithic group and will likely be divided on who to support. Some will support Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), and others will vote for Obama or one of the other Democratic candidates, while some registered Republicans will support the GOP nominee.

Some black female Democrats say they remain loyal to the Clintons, adding that Hillary Clinton would make a fine president; but they also like Obama’s message and want to support a black man running for the White House. Some say Obama’s wife, Michelle, a formidable lawyer, can help attract black women -- and women of color -- to Obama’s campaign.

In fact, Michelle Obama recently created a new initiative, Women for Obama, to generate support among women and undercut Clinton’s plans to aggressively reach out to women. Several national polls show Clinton leading Obama among women voters.

"Women for Obama will forcefully and enthusiastically engage women, enlist women and empower women to recognize the difference our candidate can make in the "08 race and the world -- and the difference we as women can make for our futures," according to a satement from Michelle Obama on her husband’s website.

Last month, Women for Obama raised about $750,000 during its first fundraising lunch in downtown Chicago, attended by about 1,200 women.
"The reality is that my husband is a man who understands my struggle and the challenges facing women and families," Michelle Obama told the audience. "He actually listens to me and has the utmost respect for my perspective and my life experience."
She added that Barack Obama "recognizes that our society, our community is only as strong as our women and our families."

Aides to Obama call Michelle, 43, "the most important adviser" to the campaign, and friends say she will be one of Barack Obama’s most significant surrogates, having traveled already to Los Angeles, New York and Iowa. She plans to visit New Hampshire Monday.

"Michelle's role on the campaign is primarily, of course, as a wife and mother, and when on the road, she considers herself a surrogate ear -- to meet and listen to Americans she meets on the road and hear their concerns with and hopes for the country," Katie McCormick Lelyveld, communications director for Michelle Obama, told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

According to Newsweek, "Michelle's community ties came in handy when Barack, by then a state senator, ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004. He faced a primary dominated by some of the Democratic Party's most formidable political families. Barack won the nod, thanks to the support of influential African-American business leaders, some of whom had closer ties to Michelle than they did to him."

"She's smart, she's successful and she's well-liked and popular," Avis LaVelle, former national press secretary to Bill Clinton, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Long before there was a Barack Obama, there was a Michelle Robinson, who was a star in her own right.''

Obama supporter Rosemary Jackson and her sister, Erma Gray Davis, said the fact that Barack and Michelle Obama have launched the women's initiative shows they recognize how much power women wield, both in their families and in politics.

Note: story from Black American Web.
ODP Central Committee Member Comments on Immigration Rally in Tulsa

Sebastian Lantos, an ODP Central Committee Member, weighs in on the debate on HB 1804...

"Sebastian Lantos, a naturalized citizen and board member on the Governor's Council of Latin America and Hispanic Affairs, said the fact that people have been vocal about illegal immigration, both for and against, shows that the government must act soon.

"We agree that there has to be borders and we need a comprehensive law," Lantos said. "This (rally) is a clear message from both sides to the legislators to do something as quickly as possible. . . We've got a point, they've got a point. We just need to do this all as soon as possible."


Read the entire story from the Tulsa World.
Tulsa World's "Political Notebook" Features ODP news

Tulsa state party candidates forum, Inhofe protest, new CD 1 officers and election protection fellowship profiled.

Click here to read all the news.
Democrats United on Iraq and Immigration

Democrats remain united in our efforts to change course in Iraq and give our troops a strategy for success. We approach the coming discussions with the White House with an open mind and a sincere desire to move forward.



IRAQ
We are working to craft legislation that transitions the mission because a military solution is unrealistic without a political, diplomatic and economic strategy. Nothing is off the table.

The President may be content with keeping our troops mired in the middle of an open-ended civil war and spending $8 billion a month in Iraq while problems go unaddressed at home. But the American people are not.

We are hopeful that some Congressional Republicans are beginning to realize that that current path in Iraq is unsustainable, and hope those who have remained silent throughout this debate will begin to put their country ahead of their political party.

Our troops and the American public are the ones feeling the consequences of a failed strategy in Iraq - terrorist attacks are up across the globe, April was one of the deadliest months of the Iraq war and our National Guard equipment is in Iraq rather than standing ready to help with disasters here at home. Until there is accountability in Iraq, this Administration and the Iraqi government are getting a free pass. That is wrong.

IMMIGRATION
Senate Democrats are committed to fixing America's broken immigration system in a tough, fair and practical way.

Instead of offering unworkable proposals, the President should work with Democrats to reach a solution both Republicans and Democrats can support.

We need bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens border security, reunites families, and creates tough and smart workplace enforcement.

It is time we provide the 12 million people living in the shadows of our society opportunities to pursue the American Dream.

Undocumented immigrants will have to get in the back of the line and earn their way to legalization.

We believe that our immigration laws should be realistic and reflect our nation's values. Our immigration system should make us safer while recognizing the enormous contributions that immigrants make to our nation.
Jay Parmley Update


Former ODP Chair/ED Assumes Leadership Role in South Carolina. Read the AP story.
5 reasons the GOP faces an uphill climb in '08

From the USA Today....

1. It's mostly about Iraq
2. Excitement is contagious
3. Fewer say they're with GOP
4. Money flowing to Democrats
5. Hunger for change growing

Read the full story.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Letters

We asked you to send letters to the editor about President Bush's veto of the Iraq spending bill. See what fellow Oklahoma Democrats wrote to their respective papers.....

Dear Editor:

Finally, Congress is standing up to the President’s listless way of handling the war. I hope they don’t give up and let Bush spend more money on his unfocused shotgun approach. Our troops are saying this isn’t going to work. Or, they were and now since the Veto, it has come out that they are being told not to give their views. They’ve been saying that they are stretched too thin. Our troops and contractors deserve to come home by Christmas. Iraqi people need to be able to rebuild, but our presence keeps drawing fighters who don’t even live there. Our military presence in Iraq is preventing normalcy and stability from returning.

Jim Inhofe is stubbornly wrong about climate change. When will the U.S. government begin doing its part to slow down climate change? It’s a misplaced priority to spend money on a war instead of taking care of Katrina’s aftermath, and solving violence at home. The Virginia Tech massacre is an example—deaths are deaths whether on the streets of Iraq because of us, or on our campuses because we have misplaced our priorities.

Our Governor is doing the right thing by standing up against so-called ‘lawsuit abuse’ spin-doctors. Thanks to our state lawmakers who are helping to protect the peoples’ access to the courts from big corporations that want to take away peoples’ rights. If we didn’t have strong lawmakers who will stand up for us, these rich corporations would have whatever they want, and the people would have noting. Governments and laws should be about helping the people, not about taking away peoples’ rights and spending their money on war.

Kathy Tibbits
Stilwell, Oklahoma

----------------------------------------------------------------

To the Editor:

George W. Bush has tried to tie support for his failed policies in Iraq with support for our brave women and men who are the victims of those policies. I find this a despicable attempt to dodge his failures. It’s much like the religious leaders who tries to claim that all his actions, no matter how immoral, are sanctioned by divine authority because he is a “man of God.” Bush has tried to blame his failure on “bad intelligence.” There he is correct because many people far smarter and wiser told him that this decision was wrong. However, he choose to ignore wise counsel and listen to greedy men, sycophants, and others telling his “itching ears” what they wanted to hear.

Now as he desperately plunges deeper into the swamp that he has created in Iraq, he has the audacity to question the loyalty of women and men who, because they love their country and weep for it’s wounds, tell him that the American people have had enough wastage, enough broken bodies, more, more than enough flag draped coffins, and much more than enough of their president’s preening, posturing, and posing to last us a lifetime. Mr. President, you have lost all moral authority. We must heed those who seek an end this “war-in-search-of-a-reason”.

Mr. R. Lynn Green
Oklahoma City, OK

Yes...that actually happened.


As you all know, President Bush vetoed the Iraq War Spending bill, proposed by Democrats in Congress earlier this year. In my mind, using his veto power on this bill shows yet again that George W. Bush doesn't understand Democracy. In a democratic society, government is run by the people, for the people...nothing about Bush's veto was government by the people. In fact, the people have spoken loud and clear throughout this war. We, as the people, want out! We recognize that our military presence there is not the success that was initially predicted. The amount of time, money and resources that we have put into this useless (oil) war have done nothing but set our nation back. And now we find out that even our outrage (and his 28% approval rating) is not enough to end Bush's crusade.


If you are just as upset about this veto as I am, visit this website to voice your concern to Democratic congressmen, and the President himself.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gov. Henry protects Oklahomans from irresponsible legislation:


From issues ranging from abortion to the budget- Governor Brad Henry has used his veto more times during this legislative session than the previous four years combined. This is a result of a number of measures hastily passed through the state capitol as the legislative session is set to end May 28th. The problem is that often times these bills are at best irresponsible, and at worst negligent.

Here are just some of the bloopers from the Republican congress:

Senate Bill 507- Would have had provisions in it which would prevent accountability of medical care by putting a limited dollar value on pain and suffering one experiences when they are the victims of malpractice.

House Bill 1234- How many of us would sit down to draw up a budget without knowing how much to we have to spend- or even what our bills were? This budget bill was drawn up without consultation with Governor Henry or house Democrats- nor did it have an overall budget framework to put spending in context to ensure fiscal responsibility!

Senate Bill 714- A bill which was opposed by the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Oklahoma Nurses Association. A bill that would punish women for being raped- by not allowing public funds to assist in paying for abortions in cases such as rape or incest.

Republicans have called on Governor Henry to sign bills such as these as a "sign of good faith" and chastised him for a lack of bipartisanship. Someone needs to remind Republican legislators that the effects of hasty, half-finished legislation can deeply impact the lives of all Oklahomans.

-Gregory R. Gaede