The Oklahoma Legislature May Need You to Start Smoking

A question from David Van Risseghem on his Facebook page got me thinking. He asked, “Hey? Is the impending special session being called to help folks quit smoking? Or just to get more money?”

Very quick background for those who don’t know – During the last Oklahoma legislative session a bill was passed enacting a $1.50 per pack ‘cessation fee.’ Senate Bill 845, the Smoking Cessation and Prevention Act of 2017, was designed to bring in about $215 million into the state coffers. Earlier this week the state Supreme Court ruled the bill violates the Oklahoma Constitution for various reasons that are completely correct but not relevant to the discussion here.

Now the question is what to do about the $215 million in taxes (note – taxes, not ‘fees’) that the state will not be receiving, but was included by the legislature in the 2017-2018 budget appropriations. Conventional wisdom seems to be that the governor will call for a special session of the legislature. I’d say that’s a certainty as soon as the legislative leadership devises a plan to […] → Keep reading

Kid Rock for the Senate? Don’t Be Daft

I’ll never understand the celebrity worship in this country. Someone makes a few movies, stars in a television show or has some hit songs and all of a sudden people are falling prostrate before the celebrity and swearing total emotional devotion. Celebrity worship played a role in Donald Trump being elected president and even he seemed to be aware of it, saying that he could shoot someone on 5th avenue and he wouldn’t lose any supporters.

And now there is a lot of talk about electing Kid Rock (real name Robert Ritchie) to the U.S. Senate from the state of Michigan. Seriously? Why? What is it about this man that appeals to people, politically? When word first broke of his possible candidacy, I was stunned at the number of people who seem to think it’s a great idea. Even Texas Governor Greg Abbott seemed excited about the possibility of Senator Ritchie.

IT’S HAPPENING! New poll has Kid Rock leading Debbie Stabenow. THIS will shake up Washington. #tcot #PJNET @TexasGOP https://t.co/HtRWFe5U8m

— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) July 24, 2017

[…] → Keep reading

Was the 17th Amendment a Mistake?

After Senate Republicans failed to pass a bill last week repealing major parts of Obamacare, including the individual mandate, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee sent an interesting tweet that has been given a lot of attention.

Time to repeal 17th Amendment. Founders had it right-Senators chosen by state legislatures. Will work for their states and respect 10th amid

— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) July 28, 2017

In an age when a lot of people probably couldn’t even tell you who their own representatives are, I would not expect most people to know about the 17th Amendment and how it changed the way Senators are elected. To save you having to Google it, the 17th Amendment was ratified in 1913 and established the election of Senators by the people. Previously, Senators were elected by state legislatures.

To my mind, the 17th Amendment is just another nail in federalism’s coffin.

When the Founders wrote the Constitution one of their concerns was the preservation and protection of state’s rights. The federal government was never, ever intended […] → Keep reading

Have I Traveled to a Parallel Universe?

In every movie and television episode I can think of where the protagonist somehow travels to a parallel universe, one of the chief differences is that those who are good and bad have swapped roles. I’m outing myself as a Trekkie here, but the most notable example I can think of is the original Star Trek series episode, Mirror, Mirror, in which Captain Kirk and others accidentally swap universes with their counterparts. Kirk suddenly finds that the Federation is a conquering empire and his ship, the Enterprise, is a battleship sent on a mission of domination and murder.

I haven’t yet worked out the science of it how it happened but I think I may have been transported to a parallel universe.

For weeks now the news from the Oklahoma state capitol building has been proposal after proposal to increase ‘revenues’ by various methods. Let’s pause for a moment here and dispel the euphemism, ‘revenues,’ and call it by its true name, taxes. Anytime you read or hear someone say the word ‘revenues’ just automatically replace it word the word […] → Keep reading

Is Marrying A Computer Coming?

If you think being allowed to marry a computer sounds ridiculous, so did same-sex marriage in the past. I never would have thought in my younger days that two men or two women would be legally allowed to get married. And not only that, failing to participate in the festivities could find you in legal hot water, sued out of business and up to your eyeballs in debt if you’re a florist or cake maker and opt to not put your stamp of approval on such an event.

We live in strange times. And it seems the times are on the cusp of getting even stranger.

A man named Chris Sevier is suing the state of Utah for the right to marry his laptop. The Utah Attorney General’s Office tried to have the lawsuit dismissed for a number of reasons, the main one being that a laptop cannot consent to marriage. But, a federal judge declined to dismiss the suit and allowed Sevier to amend his complaint.

Fox 13 Salt Lake – “For example, the Proposed Amended Complaint alleges Mr. […] → Keep reading