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Guest Column: 10 Ways to Improve the Oklahoma Legislature (and Political Press Coverage)…


Hi everyone! My name is Eliot and I am new contributor here at The Lost Ogle. I have been wanting to write for this site for quite awhile, and after buying Patrick several happy hour beers (and when I mean several, I mean a lot), he finally decided to let me give it go.

Before I give this a shot, I should let you know that I'm involved in politics.  I'm not exactly what you would call a politician, but my office is only a Shiner Bock© crate across the street from the capitol.  Therefore, a lot of my posts will be political in nature. But don't be too alarmed by that statement, I'll try to balance out any political observations by inane references to hot chicks, alcohol and occasionally midgets.

So to my column, it looks like 2009 was a sterling session for the first-ever Republican legislative majority. From the State Capitol Press Corpse, here are 10 suggestions for lawmakers (and reporters) to try on for size:

1. Senator Steve Russell Must Wear a Tracking Device

A freshman Republican from south Oklahoma City, retired Lt. Col. Steve Russell rode the capture of Saddam Hussein into the state senate. Then he started telling the story for $5,000 a pop. Then he made a music video (no kidding). And got elected to the Oklahoma senate, as a Republican, with the help of Glen Coffee.

Well, on the (supposed to be) last day of session, he was nowhere to be found when SB 980 came up for a vote. This bill creates a state information officer to be in charge of all state computers and data bases (evidently to keep them from conspiring to build Terminators to take over the Sooner State). Republican Senator Harry Coates and 21 Democrats voted against the bill, leaving it one vote short of the majority needed for passage. Where was Steve? Well, he was at the US Air Force Academy, probably talking about the hunt and capture of Saddam Hussein. In the words of another obscure local political blog, "Oops."

The Senate voted to extend session by two days to be able to take up the measure again, at an estimated cost of about $30,000. Glen Coffee says it is the Democrats' fault. Maybe Steve can make it up to everyone by throwing a concert in the rotunda and playing his tribute to fallen comrades.


2. Run a TRW on All Members of the Leadership

After the tax woes of Lance Cargill, Gus Blackwell, and Glen Coffee, and the bankruptcy of Randy Terrill, perhaps Republicans should ask the question of themselves about their leadership, "would I trust you to run the night shift at the Moore Whataburger franchise?" A simple background credit check might be in order, plus the submission of tax records. Both parties can subcontract out to the Trial Lawyers political hit team (motto: Death By a Thousand Paper Cuts) to do the background work, considering the job they did of turning Glen Coffee's life into a mid-life medical exam.


3. Give Rep. Mike Reynolds (R-South Oklahoma City) a One-way Bus Ticket to Branson, Missouri

Mike looks normal. Then, he talks, removing all doubt that there really are people crazy enough to believe Joseph McCarthy.
Mike Reynolds is the guy who led the charge to derail the effort to name the Flaming Lips' "Do You Believe Realize" as the official Oklahoma rock-n-roll song. Since Mike doesn't like the questionable lyrics of the Lips, or their M*****F*****G t-shirts, the legislature should send him to his natural element where he can hear all of the Andy Williams and Roy Clark he desires.

Note of caution to Mike: Even Branson is not safe for a true believer. Stay away from the Osmond Family Theatre (Mormons), and the Baldknobbers Country Jubilee (which sounds homoerotic).

4 - 10 are located after the "read more" button thing....


4. Keep the Staff and the Lobbyists Out of the Senate Press Gallery

The Press Galleries are really nice. They are also glassed off from the rest of the chamber and have better climate control. I guess that's why the Senate's press people keep wandering and trying to tell the journalists how to do their jobs. I mean, really, that's my job.


5. Sponsor a Bill to Allow Stem Cell Research on the Stem Cells of KWTV's Alex Cameron

Clearly he is living his life backwards, and we must understand why "“ and we need to act fast before he turns into a fetus.


6. Republicans Should Get a Photo Op With Some Puppies

Just when you thought things couldn't get any weirder up at 2300 Lincoln, the state legislature failed to report out of conference committee a bill to regulate puppy mills in the state of Oklahoma. We knew that a Republican majority coming up here that we'd see some free market initiative, but this was just strange. The legislation was introduced by Representative Lee Denny, a Cushing Republican who also happens to be a veterinarian, and Senator Cliff Branan, a Republican from Oklahoma City who looks a lot like a puppy. It would have set requirements on legitimate breeders by setting what Branan termed "minimum standards for dogs and cats" while doing nothing to regulate against rural renegade dog breeders. Democrats objected that this was unnecessary government regulation. I guess guns don't kill puppies, only people kill puppies. Well, it sounded better in my head before I wrote it. The good news for Senator Branan is that at least people won't be tattooing the eyeballs of their puppies.


7. Every Lawmaker Voting for a Ten Commandments Monument Must First Recite the Historical Importance of the Ten Commandments Like Charlton Heston

The way OU political science professor Keith Gaddie explained it to me, Ten Commandments displays on public property must be placed into a broader historical context to not violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. Lawmakers, before voting for a Ten Commandments display, must first recite the commandments (in order) like Moses speaking in the original English of the Bible, and then explain their historical relationship to something besides gun control.


8. Find Someone Besides Keith Gaddie to Quote in Stories

It was fine when it was just the Oklahoma Gazette at first, but then the Tulsa World, the Oklahoman, the AP, the McCarville Report, OETA, KGOU, News9, the Norman Transcript, NewsOn6, Fox 25, Fox 23, KOCO, KOKH, KTOK, E-Capital, Morris News Service and the Journal Record? Geez! Can't anyone find another expert? When 84% of independent expert opinion on state politics comes from one source, reporters are not working hard enough.


9. Note to the Legislative Democrats: Come up with a strategy that wasn't inspired by a Monty Python Movie



10. Lori Rasmussen versus Meg Alexander in the "Leopard Skin Cage Match" on the House Floor at Meg Alexander's Local News Fight Club

Look at the pictures. Think about the possibilities. "˜Nuff said.

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