Okie Funk is currently listed on The Fix in The Washington Post as one of the best state-based political blogs in the country.
Dr. Hochenauer was given a Marshall Gregory Award for Excellence in Education Reporting for Editorials by the Oklahoma Education Association in 2010.
Okie Funk: Always on the historical record . . .
Okie Funk, The Book, or Thoughts Along The Armadillo Highway, is a selective collection of this blog's posts published from 2004 to 2006. The book chronicles the political climate In Oklahoma during that interesting and changing time period.
To get your free copy of the book, simply download below the version of your choice.
Oklahomans may well be in shorts and t-shirts grilling their favorite foods this coming Christmas day, but no one will be showing Facebook images of the barbecues on the U.S. Senate floor to prove manmade global warming does, indeed, exist.
No, the right to frame careful scientific studies and measurements based on one-weather event stunts on the Senate floor is the purview of Oklahoma’s own U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, who can be seen in the above video doing what he does best. Inhofe, perhaps the world’s most infamous denier that carbon emissions accelerate global warming, brought a snowball to the Senate floor last February to DISPROVE things are heating up unnaturally on the planet.
The recent warm weather here, the forecast of a Christmas day in the 70s, and, yes, the recent Paris Climate Accord among countries to limit the rise of global warming below 2 degrees Celsius reminded me of Inhofe’s stunt. I think those of us in Oklahoma concerned about global warming should record ourselves on social media enjoying our balmy Christmas day and flood Inhofe’s inbox with the truth.
The truth is that one single weather event doesn’t indicate anything substantial about the overall climate or its patterns or its trajectories over a long period of time. While it’s true that a series of unusual weather events over a long time period can, indeed, contain valuable information about the climate, one snowball or one barbecue in isolation tells us nothing significant.
Manmade global warming through carbon emissions is simply a fact. Carbon emissions accelerate the greenhouse effect. This increases the planet’s overall temperature artificially and leads to the melting of arctic ice, rising sea levels and severe weather events, such as prolonged droughts. Rising sea levels are already putting some coastal cities on the brink of disaster, which could lead to massive population displacement around the world.
The entirely expected announcement that Oklahoma faces a current revenue failure and is predicted to have an approximately $900 million budget shortfall next fiscal year should dispel the myth that tax cuts lead to economic growth and adequate funding for government.
I use “should” because it’s highly unlikely that Republicans, who control the state government here, will drop the pretense and start leading the state with prudent and sensible financial policies. There are some exceptions, such as Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller and State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones, but it’s highly unlikely conservatives here will break with the GOP tax-cut orthodoxy, which benefits the wealthiest among us at the expense of school children and other vulnerable Oklahomans.
Since 2004, Oklahoma has enacted income tax cuts that have dropped the top rate from 7 to 5.25 percent. Another tax cut, amazingly enough, is going into effect this coming Jan. 1 when the top rate will drop to 5 percent. Republicans will point gleefully to the fact that former Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, was in office when the tax-cutting carnage began, but that doesn’t mean it was right or that the mythology that tax cuts lead to economic growth is true. Henry was also trading tax cuts for increases in state funding for various entities, such as education.
But, yes, it’s also true that since the 2008 recession, Oklahoma has cut education funding the most of any state in the nation on a percentage wise basis and continues to lag behind in funding for mental health services. The state faces a teacher shortage because, among other things, it pays teachers some of the lowest salaries in the nation. The expected cuts in mental health will probably leave thousands of Oklahomans without medical care.
It's difficult not to view Gov. Mary Fallin's efforts to defund Planned Parenthood on a state level as a political gesture based on conservative ideology.
Fallin wants to terminate the state Medicaid contracts with Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma, which provide women with reproductive-related health care and screenings. The organizations don't perform abortions here. Fallin claims an audit has shown there have been billing errors made by the two organizations, but the reported information has been extremely vague.
An attorney for the Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Tamya Cox, recently claimed she has provided information to the state showing the billing errors are substantially lower than the audit claims. Here's a story about the issue
What we do know for sure is that some Republicans, including U.S. Sen. James Lankford, have been viciously attacking Planned Parenthood on a national level after heavily edited, fake videos surfaced supposedly showing Planned Parenthood officials "selling" fetal tissue for research. Planned Parenthood doesn't sell fetal tissue. It has, in the past, charged money for preparing and delivering medical specimens used in stem cell research to recoup expenses. Planned Parenthood has since announced it will no longer accept money for providing the fetal tissue.
Generations of Oklahoma women have used Planned Parenthood for contraceptive services and health screenings. Many of these women turned to Planned Parenthood because they couldn't find other access to reproductive services or they felt more comfortable going to one of its affiliates rather than a primary care physician or other types of physicians. Anti-abortion extremists have been attacking the organization for just as many generations. Many people have suggested or posed the idea that the recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs that killed three people is related to the recent anti-abortion rhetoric generated by the fake videos and used by prominent, conservative politicians in this country. That would definitely include Lankford.
Don’t take away tax breaks for Oklahoma’s businesses. Take them away from Oklahoma’s working families instead.
One party wants to solve income inequality. The other is mulling the benefits of beheadings https://t.co/RIRE305e3r pic.twitter.com/...
I guess it only makes sense that some members of the GOP-dominated Oklahoma Legislature want to balance next year’s state budget by, among other initiatives, reducing tax credit programs for lower-income people.
62 richest in the world own as much...
A couple of legislators, with support from the governor, are pushing for a sweeping school-voucher system in Oklahoma again this year, but the proposed plan could financially devastate our public schools, and with the state facing major budget...
Okie Funk has been in existence since 2004 and is considered one of the oldest and most reliable political blogs in Oklahoma. Created by Kurt Hochenauer, the blog has corralled millions of hits over nearly 12 years on its more than 1,500 posts. It has been linked to, mentioned by or republished on numerous national and local publications and sites since it was founded. It has won awards dating back to 2006 and has been ranked twice in The Washington Post's The Fix column as one of the best state political blogs in the country. Hochenauer has also written political commentary that has appeared in local and national publications. He has appeared on radio and television as a political commentator. Prior to earning his Ph.D. in 1991 and becoming an English professor at the University of Central Oklahoma, Hochenauer worked as a journalist at The Kansas City Times and Star, The Oklahoman and The Tulsa Tribune.
Here are some Oklahoma sites and blogs in alphabetical order: