Democratic viewpoints on politics, policy and activism

Inhofe, Newspaper Deny Ice Storm Reality

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The prevailing political partnership between U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and The Daily Oklahoman will lead to even more severe ice storms like the one Oklahoma experienced last week.

This is because the state’s largest newspaper continues to support Inhofe and his wild claims denying the impact of climate change on the state and nation. (Click on the image to the right.  An Inhofe interview comes on in about two minutes.)  Meanwhile, a state climatologist, Derek Arndt, said last week’s ice storm was part of a pattern produced by warmer winters in Oklahoma. In past decades, the ice might have turned to snow-far less dangerous and destructive than ice-before falling to the ground.

Last week’s storm was blamed for the deaths of 23 people here.  More than 600,000 people were without power at one point.  About 125,000 people still remain without power.  The storm killed or damaged thousands of trees in the state.

Inhofe and the newspaper’s editorial board do not get it, and the state will obviously suffer through frequent, horrific ice storms in the future because of it.

As everyone in the world knows, Inhofe has called global warming a hoax, and he continues to deny that climate change is caused at least partially by carbon emissions.  Reputable scientists throughout the world argue otherwise. The evidence is overwhelming. Inhofe, with the newspaper’s tacit approval, will not even engage in an intelligent conversation about it.  It seems perfectly fitting he represents a state that is probably experiencing more destructive storms caused by global warming than anywhere else in the nation right now.

The Oklahoman actually published an editorial today (“Nobel cause: Gore’s triumphs heat warming debate,” December 17, 2007) that argues global warming and the causes for it are abstract arguments, not reality.  Here is a paragraph that represents the mentality of the newspaper and Inhofe on the issue:

“So is Gore right, or does he wield the biggest megaphone? Are humans causing global warming, or does that notion have exaggerated acceptance because so many environmentalists, activists and government bureaucracies are pushing it – with philosophically aligned, awards-giving groups like the Nobel committee and Hollywood following them?”

What makes this editorial especially appalling is that it comes at a time when thousands of Oklahomans are still without electricity after suffering through a storm experts say was ultimately caused by warmer winters.  The ignorance here is almost suffocating.  Instead of looking into the issue of warmer winters in Oklahoma, the state’s largest newspaper and Inhofe sink further into the right-wing abyss of paranoia and conspiracy theories.

What if Inhofe and the newspaper would have promoted an active response to global warming starting ten, twenty years ago?  Would this recent ice storm have even occurred? These are good questions to ask.

The Oklahoman is a huge monopoly still operated by the Gaylord family.  Its publisher, Christy Gaylord Everest, is the daughter of the late Edward L. Gaylord, who turned the newspaper into a propaganda ministry for extremists in the Republican Party during the 1980s.  There is very little you can do to fight this monopoly, which is mostly despised throughout the state.

But you can fight to unseat Inhofe.  State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma) is running against Inhofe in the 2008 election.  Rice will consider the evidence for global warming and determine, along with experts in the field, the best course of action for the state and nation. He will take a serious and intelligent look at how the state’s warmer winters are causing more of these terrible and deadly ice storms.  Is there anything we can do?

OK-SEN: State Senator Andrew Rice Will LiveBlog On Daily Kos December 13

Photograph of Andrew Rice

State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City), pictured right, will liveblog on Daily Kos at 3 p.m., Thursday Dec. 13.  Here is the link.

Rice, a progressive Democrat, is running against U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe in the 2008 election.  Rice, 34, hopes to upset the 73-year-old Senator who has become a symbol of everything that is wrong about Washington politics today.

As Rice reaches out to his constituents and voters, Inhofe, who denies the existence of global warming, will be “gearing up to filibuster a Republican bill that will confront climate change and carbon emissions.”  (That’s not a typo.  It’s a Republican bill.)

Inhofe continues to embarrass the state with his personal war on science. His political stunts, which only serve the interests of the big oil companies, make the state seem backwards. If the state’s chamber of commerce types really want to improve economic development here, they will get behind Rice’s campaign.

It’s time for a change.  The state needs to send Inhofe into retirement and elect someone as U.S. Senator who is forward thinking and intelligent.  Check out Daily Kos here at 3 p.m.

Is Inhofe Connected To ORU Scandal?

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Image of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe

It should surprise no one that U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe’s name has surfaced in connection with the ongoing Oral Roberts University scandal in Tulsa.

Inhofe, a former Tulsa mayor, was mentioned in a recent Tulsa World article that published excerpts of emails allegedly written by Stephanie Cantees, Richard Roberts’s sister-in-law.  Cantees served as an advisor to Roberts, who recently resigned as ORU president amid allegations he and his family misspent university money to fund a lavish lifestyle.  The emails were addressed to Roberts, according to the article.

The emails seem to support claims by a former ORU professor that “Roberts ordered students to participate in Randi Miller’s mayoral campaign,” according to an attorney for the professor, the article states.

According to the article, Miller, who lost her 2006 election bid, said she entered the race after discussions with Inhofe and Roberts.  One of the emails obtained by the World refers to an alleged meeting between Roberts and Inhofe about the mayoral race, but Cantees’ attorney denies she wrote it, the article states.

The issue is whether Roberts politicized the university and students, risking the schools nonprofit status, with the help and influence of Inhofe.

Did Inhofe actively participate in trying to make the university a partisan, GOP political organization? If so, did his actions lead to IRS violations at the Christian college? The senator needs to come forward and explain his relationship with Roberts and the school.

(Roberts and his wife face several allegations.  According to an online Time article, “Among the allegations: the Roberts had remodeled their home eleven times in 14 years with university money; they bankrolled one of their daughters’ $29,411 trip to the Bahamas with school funds; and Lindsay Roberts had spent the night in an O.R.U. guest-house with an underage male nine times.”)

Meanwhile, the best take on the Inhofe/Roberts connection so far comes from John M. Wylie II, publisher of the Oologah Lake Leader. In an editorial on the issue, Wylie writes, “Inhofe is almost certain to be deposed as civil and perhaps criminal probes move forward. ‘What did you know and when did you know it?’ are not questions any politician seeking reelection wants to answer under oath.”

Wylie argues, “If the discovery process in the Nov. 21 suit filed by former ORU senior accountant Trent Huddleston produces links to Inhofe, it could be a true disaster for Oklahoma’s senior senator and sleazemeister.”

Inhofe, 73, repeatedly embarrasses the state with his ongoing war against modern science.  State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City) is running against the vulnerable Inhofe in the 2008 election.

Rice Challenges Inhofe On Climate Change

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This is a press release from the Andrew Rice campaign:

OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 29, 2007) – After U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe consumed another two hours of Senate floor time on Friday railing against “left wing scientists” who express concerns about global warming, Oklahoma State Senator Andrew Rice, D-OKC, today asked Inhofe to devote equal time instead to promote his home state’s unique position as a leader in the development of clean-burning fuels.

Rice declared his candidacy in August for the Democratic nomination to challenge Inhofe in next year’s general election.

“While Jim Inhofe continues to insist that our eyes deceive us, most Oklahomans have moved past the debate about whether or not climate change is real,” Rice said.  “Oklahoma is rich in natural gas deposits and other natural resources that can be converted to renewable fuels, so the sooner our country takes responsibility for helping to curb global warming, the sooner Oklahoma will gain economically.”

Sen. Inhofe occupied the Senate floor for more than two hours last Friday to discuss “unbelievable” changes in science that “we have witnessed in the last five months.”  Oklahoma’s senior Senator then discussed two studies that he claims prove that human beings do not contribute to global warming.

“Since the 1990s, Senator Inhofe has consumed many hours of Senate floor time raging against environmental groups, and since 2003, he has spoken more than a dozen times attempting to disprove the science of global warming,” Rice said.  “But this is 2007, and I see tremendous economic benefit for Oklahoma in a future energy policy that encourages clean-burning fuels, job creation in the state and new opportunities for Oklahoma’s farmers.”

“As I travel across Oklahoma, farmers and sportsmen and women tell me that something is going on because our crops and wildlife habitat are suffering dramatic changes due to erratic weather patterns,” Rice said.  “These Oklahomans don’t need to read a scientific study.”

Rice, who currently represents State Senate District 46 in the Oklahoma Legislature, said he will be leading efforts at the State Capitol next year to encourage conversion of state vehicles to clean-burning natural gas.

“In addition to our rich deposits of natural gas, Oklahoma has an abundance of wind, switch grass, animal fats and other natural resources that can be converted to renewable fuels,” Rice said.  “Instead of always posturing as the obstacle to change, Senator Inhofe could help Oklahoma by leading the charge for conversion to clean burning energy.”

Rice cited recent developments in Oklahoma, including announced plans in Guymon for construction of the state’s third biodiesel refinery and groundbreaking research at the Sam Noble Foundation in Ardmore to extract ethanol-producing sugar from switch grass, a weed that thrives in Oklahoma.

Inhofe Against Open Access To Research

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U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe is making controversial news again.  This time he is trying to stop open access to government-funded research.

A bill, passed by the House, would require that manuscripts associated with research conducted by the National Institutes of Health be made public in at least 12 months after they are published.

Inhofe, the infamous global warming denier, has introduced two amendments in the Senate’s bill that would effectively gut the provision. Andrew Leonard over at How the World Works at Salon.com has an interesting take on the issue. Leonard ties it to Inhofe’s global warming position.

Overall, this is a just another example of the Republican Senator’s continued war on science.  What people do not know will hurt them, and Inhofe obviously does not care.

Click here to help State Sen. Andrew Rice defeat Inhofe in the 2008 Senate election.

Environmental Group Attacks Inhofe's Record

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Image of Jim Inhofe

(Yes, please, Inhofe already.  It is time to send U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) into retirement. Check out his opponent in the 2008 election, State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City), a true progressive who supports a full and open discussion on climate change and all environmental issues.)

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe has brought more embarrassment to Oklahoma.  The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has designated Inhofe as the leader of its “Dirty Dozen” list for possessing one of the worst anti-environmental records in Congress.

Unfortunately, the designation ultimately reflects on the state’s residents, many of whom do not support Inhofe’s radical anti-environmental agenda and ideology.  This must include some of his fellow Republicans.  For example, in his ongoing gesture of absurdity, Inhofe calls global warming a “hoax” developed by liberals.  He has been admonished by U.S. Sen.  Barbara Boxer twice at Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meetings for acting rudely to former Vice President Al Gore and a fellow senator as they tried to speak candidly about climate change.

Inhofe not only denies global warming, he also wants to prevent any public discussion about the issue.

“Our future will be significantly impacted by how we work to fight global warming, yet Senator Jim Inhofe won’t even acknowledge that global warming exists,” LCV Senior Vice President Tony Massaro said.  “During his tenure in Congress, Senator Inhofe has made it his mission to vote against commonsense solutions to global warming and our nation’s energy challenges, earning an abysmal 5 percent lifetime LCV voting score and a place on our ‘Dirty Dozen’ list.”

Inhofe is at odds with the world’s scientific community and President George Bush, who believes humans have contributed to global warming problems. Since 2001, Inhofe has accepted $636, 965 in campaign funds from “polluting energy interests,” according to the LCV.

Image of Andrew Rice

Inhofe responded to LCV’s designation by (what else, of course) trying to demonize the organization as a liberal special interest group, according to his personal public relations firm, The Daily Oklahoman.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Al Gore and the United Nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace Friday for their work educating the world about global warming.

The contrast cannot be greater. Gore, who won the popular vote for president in the 2000 election, wins the Nobel Peace Prize; Inhofe brings more ridicule upon Oklahomans.  It is one thing to be a skeptic about the causes and effects of climate change.  Honest skepticism helps people get at truth.  But it is quite another thing for Inhofe to actively work to suppress basic information about climate change. 

It should go without saying that the world needs to have a full and open discussion about global warming.  Fortunately, State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City), who is running against Inhofe in 2008, will encourage such a discussion if he is elected.  He will not rubber stamp any particular global warming initiative or report without careful scrutiny, but he will allow all sides on the issue to be heard.

There are many reasons to support Rice over Inhofe in this race, but this issue alone should be enough for Oklahoma voters to send the 72-year-old Senator into retirement.

 

Inhofe Turns Wrath Against Oklahoma Children

Satirical image of Jim Inhofe

(It is time to send U.S. Sen Jim Inhofe into retirement. State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City), who is running against Inhofe in 2008, worked diligently in a bi-partisan effort last legislative session to pass the “All Kids Act,” which increases health care coverage for children.) 

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, the infamous global warming denier, has turned his legendary right-wing wrath against Oklahoma children.

The 72-year-old Inhofe is actively working to stop an appropriate and much needed expansion of a popular children’s health insurance program, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), even though he represents a state with high rates of uninsured children.  Inhofe, echoing President George Bush, calls the expansion a new “entitlement” program for the middle class and even issued a press release about it.

 

The bill would add $35 billion over five years to the $5 billion insurance program and would be funded by raising cigarette taxes.  By contrast, the Iraq invasion and ensuing occupation, supported by Inhofe, have already cost close to $500 billion and are not funded by a dedicated revenue source.  Bush recently asked for another $200 billion to fund the occupation.  This would bring the occupation’s basic costs to $700 billion.

Bush has vetoed the bill expanding the insurance program.  Both the House and Senate passed the expansion bill by wide majorities.  Many Republicans joined with Democrats on the issue.  About 70,000 Oklahoma children are now covered under the program.  Health officials say another 40,000 might be eligible for the program if Congress rejects the Bush veto.  (If the votes remain the same, the Senate can override the veto but the House cannot.)  There are over 140,000 uninsured children in the state.

Ivan Holmes, chairperson of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, said this in response to Inhofe’s vote and press release, “As a U.S. Senator, Jim Inhofe enjoys some of the most generous health care benefits in America.  But, when Oklahoma middle income working families can no longer afford health insurance for about 40,000 children, he tells them, ‘tough luck.'”
U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, the only Democrat in Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation, recently reversed course on the bill, saying he would not support Bush’s veto.  Holmes commended Boren for his decision.

“It is encouraging that we have one Congressional Representative in Oklahoma who cares about Children’s health,” Holmes said.

Inhofe continues to support Bush’s ideological stances despite recent poll numbers that show only 39 percent of Oklahomans approve of the president’s performance.

Image of Andrew Rice

It is simply ludicrous to politicize the expansion of this program. A vast majority of Oklahomans and Americans know our health care system needs reform. If Inhofe and Bush want to test our kids relentlessly under No Child Left Behind, then at the very least they should make sure they have halfway decent health care. What are Inhofe’s ideas about improving health care for all Oklahomans, even those with health insurance?

Fortunately, Inhofe is up for re-election in 2008.  His opponent, State Sen. Andrew Rice (D-Oklahoma City) worked diligently in a bi-partisan effort last legislative session to get the “All Kids Act” passed, which increases health care cpverage for children..  Rice says wants to improve the ailing health care system for all Oklahomans.

In a sign that Oklahomans want a new direction, Rice raised $312,000 in campaign funds the last eight weeks.  His campaign grows in momentum.  Click here to get involved with or donate to Rice’s quest to send Inhofe into retirement.

In another sign that Oklahomans want a new direction, John Edwards leads all presidential candidates here (yes, that includes the Republicans) in a recent poll.