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Run, Andrew, Run

Are you sick of U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe? Sign the petition urging Andrew Rice to run against him in 2008.

Image of Andrew Rice

U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe has for too long embarrassed Oklahoma with his boorish, archaic views on global warming and people’s rights. His reckless statements have been consistently reported by the national and international press. This press coverage has made the state seem like a place of ignorance. As an Oklahoma ambassador, Inhofe has failed miserably.

Do you want six more years of embarrassment and ridicule under Inhofe’s leadership? Can you stomach it? Do you want to go through six more years of cringing every time Inhofe makes a spectacle of himself and the state in the news or in television appearances?

Oklahoma Senator Andrew Rice, pictured right, a rising political star in the Oklahoma Democratic Party, is the person who can beat Inhofe. He is intelligent, articulate and committed to progressive issues Oklahomans care about. He will stomp Inhofe in debates. He will serve as a logical and overwhelming contrast to an angry Inhofe, who spouts dead ideologies to an unenthused base. Andrew is positive, poised, fair and compassionate.

Andrew and his physician wife, Apple, are raising their young children here, and they want to help Oklahoma families prosper.

Do you want to send Inhofe packing from Washington, D.C.? Then sign the petition urging Andrew to run. It will take about two seconds.

Let’s show Andrew he has our support to make Oklahoma a place admired around the world for its sensible, hard-working, compassionate people, not its kooky politicians like Inhofe who have no clue about the world around them.

Please run, Andrew. We need you!

(Please visit the runANDREWrun.com site and sign the petition.)

Web Site Urges Henry To Veto Anti-Abortion Bill

In the squares of the city, in the shadow of a steeple;
By the relief office, I'd seen my people.
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking,
Is this land made for you and me?—Woody Guthrie’s “The Land Is Your Land”

(Update: Governor Brad Henry vetoed the bill April 18.)

There are many compelling points made by a new Web site urging Governor Brad Henry to veto Senate Bill 714, the draconian anti-abortion bill that would prohibit state funds and facilities from being used in the procedure.

Image from oldamericancentury.org

But here’s one that stood out for me:

“This bill will seriously impair our ability to train OB-GYNs, and nurses in a state where a shortage of both already exists. When normal standards of medical care and compassion become prohibited acts, defined as felonies under our laws, it becomes impossible to teach the basic standards of care necessary to ’save the life of a mother.’”

Essentially, if the bill is passed, Oklahoma will once again go backwards in terms of overall health care so religious extremists can enjoy a sanctimonious thrill. Overall care for pregnant women will decline in the state if the bill is passed. As the Web site points out, the bill, which has been passed by the House and Senate, really prevents doctors and nurses from practicing medicine.

The Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Nurses Association, the Oklahoma section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association are against the bill. The bill is sponsored by James Williamson (R-Tulsa).

“This bill is touted as an anti-abortion bill by its proponents,” according to the Web site, “but in reality it amounts to legislative interference in the medical decisions made by doctors and their patients.”

It addition, as the Web site points out, the bill would prevent health insurance companies from funding the procedure and also prevent health care providers from offering Plan B, or the “morning after” pill (this is not the abortion drug RU486) to victims of rape.

The site asks Governor Brad Henry to veto the bill and then asks the Oklahoma Senate to sustain it. The Senate needs only one more vote from the initial vote count to sustain Henry’s veto.

The abortion issue in Oklahoma makes for a tough political decision because of the one-issue, mindless intrusion of the religious right into the political landscape. It’s tempting to throw in the towel and let the religious fanatics have their day because it’s impossible and exhausting trying to argue with close-minded people. But the religious right will not stop here with this particular bill. They want control of our government, and they will not relent.

Progressives need to deliver this specific message to Oklahomans: If you want decent health care in Oklahoma, then listen to what the medical community is saying about this bill. It’s horrendous and backwards. It does nothing to help Oklahoma.

Those women with financial resources can always leave this place and obtain a safe, discreet abortion, and they will leave, and they will not come back.

Senate Passes Anti-Abortion Bill

Strap them kids in
Give 'em a little bit of vodka in a cherry coke
We're going to Oklahoma to the family reunion for the first time in years
It's up at uncle Slayton's cause he's getting on in years
You know he no longer travels but he's still pretty spry
He's not much on talking and he's just too mean to die
And they'll be comin' down from Kansas
And from west Arkansas
It'll be one great big old party like you never saw--James McMurtry's "Choctaw Bingo"

Political Theater

Will Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry sign a draconian anti-abortion bill that targets impoverished women?

Image by Barbara Kruger

That became the major question after the Oklahoma Senate, on a recent 32-16 vote, passed a measure that prohibits state money or facilities to be used in connection with abortions. The bill would allow state money and facilities to be used for an abortion if the women’s life is in danger, but not in cases of rape or incest. The House had earlier passed the bill.

Political expediency might dictate Henry sign the bill. He signed four, strict anti-abortion bills last year, for example. But three medical organizations, the Oklahoma State Medical Association, the Oklahoma Nurses Association, and the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, are against this particular bill. So Henry would have science and rationality on his side if he decides not to sign the legislation.

The bill itself is designed for political theater. Those who support it, including its sponsor, state Sen. James Williamson (R-Tulsa), make sweeping statements about how the state needs to get out of the abortion business, but the bottom line is that women with financial resources can get a safe, discreet abortion even if they have to leave the state to do so. This bill just makes it difficult for impoverished Oklahoma women to get an abortion. In this regard, it’s a hateful bill that exploits a cultural wedge issue at the expense of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

The bill also makes the state seem backwards and intolerant. Should we really ignore the positions of the local medical community? Is that what type of place we have become under the conservative juggernaut?

The Imus Debacle

Let’s hope the Don Imus debacle is only the first step in the ultimate decline of shock jock radio shows. Most of these shows promote a right-wing agenda.

CBS and MSNBC pulled the plug on Imus’s show after the radio personality called the Rutger women’s basketball team a racist, derogatory term. (I’m not going to repeat the term here. Here’s the best article I’ve read about it.) Imus deserved it. Besides, he’s a multi-millionaire who will undoubtedly resurface on the air waves in one form or another.

Our culture pays people like Imus exorbitant sums of money, rewarding stupidity and hate. Decency and intelligence too often go unrewarded.

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