POSTED ON DECEMBER 22, 2010:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Here's what Republican legislators would consider grounds for impeaching one of their own, Governor-elect Mary Fallin: 1. Going rogue and campaigning for Sarah Palin for president in 2012. 2. Refusing to approve deployment of the Okie National Guard to be sitting ducks for the hidden enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan. 3. Committing death sentences to live in prison like four governors have done -- Oklahoma's Lee Cruce, New Mexico's Toney Anaya, Aransas' Winthrop Rockefeller and Illinois' George Ryan. 4. Joining the drive to end drug prohibition. Government can't stop the demand to "get a buzz."
5. Admitting the Okie bosses don't pay an honest wage and supporting a raise in the state minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour. 6. Ordering higher education regents to require state colleges and universities to pay their athletes on top of the table. 7. Adopting the abortion stance of former Republican gubernatorial candidate Vince Orza: "If I were a woman who was pregnant and didn't want to be I might discuss it with my doctor, with my priest or minister, with God but I sure wasn't going to call the Republican Party and ask them what to do." 8. Stopping to be the mouthpiece for insurance companies and give Obamacare a chance to work. 9. Appointing Democrats to state posts. 10. Demanding an end to corporate welfare -- $5.6 billion in state tax breaks -- for mostly the well-to-do.
-Virginia Blue Jeans Jenner
(In response to "George W. Bush's Pro-Life Path" in the Dec. 2-8 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)
It's that ever so curious double standard that conservatives (males in particular) love to protect the yet to be born life (a fetus that can't live on its own until it's born), but seem to care much less about the lives of existing people or mothers who have to deal with the children they bear. If life is that precious then there should at least be a discussion about the death penalty and alternative ways to punish a murderer. Not a word about triggering the deaths of over 4,000 American soldiers and thousands of definitely innocent women and children in Iraq (let's just agree that our war in Afghanistan was justified somehow).
It's touching to hear George W. Bush mourn the loss of a little brother, but forgetting the sanctity of life when it comes to the big numbers of deaths his decisions caused.
Progressives make decisions, just like conservatives, based on their value systems. I think it very unAmerican that only conservatives' values should have merit. And maybe America's enemies (Al Qaeda, Taliban and Osama Bin Laden) have been whooping with laughter at how easily the USA created new recruits for their terrorist causes through war and torture.
Maybe that is the real damage done to America, that conservative administrations played right into the hands of terrorists who want to harm the US.
(In response to "Starving in Oklahoma" in the Dec. 16-22 issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
I find it fascinating that Hamilton went a whole column without wanging on the "corporate welfare" saw. One cheer, Arnold.
Oklahoma does fairly well at attracting fast food restaurants and Walmarts to set up shop. That creates jobs, but the problem is these jobs don't pay very well. What Oklahoma does not do well at is attracting top-level business to the state, for example, technology and white-collar service industries that pay high salaries to certified and degreed professionals.
In the long run, that's killing us, because the problem is a two-edged sword. Oklahoma's college graduates leave the state for opportunities elsewhere because of the dearth of them here. Oklahoma ranks 45th in the nation in terms of education. That means those who do leave high school with a degree don't have competitive base-level skills. Therefore, top-tier industry won't set up shop here because of the lack of a work force with the prerequisite skills. It's a vicious cycle.
Breaking this cycle will take years, possibly an entire generation, but we need to get started now. Fortunately we have a new governor that understands just throwing money at the education problem isn't going to get it done. We need to raise standards. All options should be on the table: more charter schools, education vouchers, as well as the reforms underway in public schools. It would also serve us well to push to draw parents in, and get them to engage at the middle school and high school level. Too often, parental involvement in their child's education goes missing beyond elementary school.
That's step one; raise standards and do a better job of preparing students to land a high-paying job. Step two, keep the "corporate welfare" going. Whatever sweeteners or deal-making needs to be done to get high paying jobs to Oklahoma - do it.
Poverty's root cause in prosperous, developed nations is lack of education. Address that basic problem, and Oklahoma can get out of the hole it's in. Better education, higher wages. Higher wages, less poverty. That also has a multiplier effect of it's own; more disposable income means more charitable contributions - to further alleviate poverty's effects.
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