Saturday, December 27, 2008

Small Town America

This week I took my grandson, Quinn, to Bass Pro Shop looking for a Tomahawk. Bass Pro did not have any Tomahawks so I suggested we go to Sam's Surplus, a family business since 1948 on South Agnew, in my old neighborhood. On our way, I decided to show Quinn Packing Town and the area we called Sand Town, when I was growing up. This is the area south of Exchange, which borders between Penn and Agnew, which is close to the South Canadian River. The homes were small and some even vacant. I explained to Quinn that familes with 4-6 kids lived in these homes with only had one bathroom. Also, families, back then, only had one car. Quinn found this hard to believe. He commented "Boy, Bob were y'all poor?" I stated "well, no not really, because everyone was poor back then and we did not know it." From Packing Town we went south on Agnew to Sam's Surplus, a place that if you have never been; it's worth the visit.

Quinn could not believe all the different items that Sam's carried. When we left Sam's, we drove by Jackson Jr. High School, where I attended. It looked like the Confetti Capitol of South OKC. I explained that growing up in that South Oklahoma City area was like living in a small town. We had our own stores, our own theatres and everyone knew everyone. One thing that caught his attention was when I stated that we never had to lock our doors at night in South Side or small town America, back in those days. Everyone respected their neighbor.

When Sarah Palin ran for Vice President and she talked a lot about small town values I understood what she meant. The below story tells about values that we still have in small towns all across this great country. Sarah Palin was a good pick as our Vice President.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr.Special to CNN

Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a nationally syndicated columnist and a member of the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Read his column here
Ruben Navarrette says Sarah Palin's critics challenged her because of prejudices about small-town values.

SAN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- During the presidential election, some Democrats demanded to know how I could defend Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Simply put, Palin is my people. She's small-town folk who wound up in the big leagues.
Because I grew up in a small town with a population of less than 15,000 people, I was disgusted by the insults and condescension coming from those who think of themselves as the enlightened elite. Meanwhile, in small towns, I detected great affection for Palin. People talked about how she was "a real person" who "reflected their values."

The most significant divide in America isn't Red State vs. Blue State, it's rural vs. urban. The country mouse and the city mouse are still slugging it out.

In 1982, New York Mayor Ed Koch ran unsuccessfully for governor of New York. Some say the deciding factor was when Koch described life in upstate New York as "sterile" and said he dreaded living in the "small town" of Albany, if elected. That didn't play well in rural areas.
Now comes Colin Powell. During a recent appearance on CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS," Powell attempted an autopsy on the Republican Party's failed presidential bid. He went after Palin, accusing her of pushing the party so far to the right that it went over a cliff.

"I think [Palin] had something of a polarizing effect when she talked about how small-town values are good," Powell said. "Well, most of us don't live in small towns. And I was raised in the South Bronx, and there's nothing wrong with my value system from the South Bronx."
You'd think the presidential campaign was about conservatives picking on urbanites. It wasn't. Sure, some Republicans probably made a mistake by using phrases such as "real America" or "real Americans" as a rallying cry for the base. Americans who live in cities might have thought they were being slighted.

But those phrases referred as much to people's politics and values as it did their zip code. I live in a city with a population of more than a million people and I never thought the GOP singled me out as not being a "real American."

If anything, it appeared that big-city liberals were tapping into prejudices about small-town America to belittle the governor of Alaska
After Powell attacked Palin, one of the governor's most vocal defenders, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, returned the favor by attacking Powell.

"What is this hatred for conservatives and small-town people and Sarah Palin?" Limbaugh asked on his radio show. "I know a lot of people that are from the Bronx, Gen. Powell, and if you think the values there in the Bronx today reflect the ones you grew up with, take a trip back and see if the street corners and the activities there are the same as when you were growing up."
Limbaugh got it. When people use phrases such as "small-town values," it's as much about time as it is place. The idea isn't that people who live in small towns have better values than people who live in cities. It's simply an attempt to recall, with nostalgia, what life was like when more Americans lived in small towns.

It used to be that more families ate dinner together and high school students worked summers and after school. It used to be that our schools didn't make excuses for why some kids don't learn because they were too busy trying to teach them.
It used to be that parents weren't interested in being their kids' best friends, only good parents. And it used to be that people pulled their own weight and would never dare ask for a handout.
During a recent interview with the conservative newspaper, Human Events, Palin was asked if she thought her humble background accounted for some of the flak she got from the media. Palin acknowledged that she didn't come from elite stock, but said that she was grateful for that.

"I got my education from the University of Idaho because that's what I could afford," she said. "No, I don't come from the self-proclaimed 'movers and shakers' group and that's fine with me. It's caused me, or rather, allowed me, to work harder and pull myself up by my bootstraps without anyone else helping me. I think it allows me to be in touch with the vast majority of Americans who are in the same position that I am."

Sarah Palin understands a lot about America. Too bad many Americans don't understand Sarah Palin. No worries. They may get another chance to acquaint themselves with her -- in say, four years.The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely mine.

Barack The Magic Negro CD Under Fire

Republican Party
From RNC Chair Hopeful, a Provocative Holiday CD
By Michael D. Shear

Chip Saltsman, a candidate for chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent committee members this month a holiday music CD that included "Barack the Magic Negro," a parody song first aired in 2007 by talk show host Rush Limbaugh.

Created by conservative satirist Paul Shanklin, the song puts new lyrics to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon," and it is performed as if black activist Al Sharpton were singing it. Limbaugh played it after the Los Angeles Times ran an opinion piece with the same title, arguing that a vote for Barack Obama could assuage white guilt.

"A guy from the LA paper said it made guilty whites feel good, they'll vote for him and not for me cuz he's not from the hood," the song goes. "Oh, Barack the magic negro lives in DC, the LA Times they called him that because he's black but not authentically."

The CD accompanied holiday greetings from Saltsman, committee members said tonight. Saltsman, a Tennessee resident who managed former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee's campaign for president, announced his bid to lead the Republican Party earlier this month.
He did not return a call seeking comment tonight. Saltsman had earlier told the Hill newspaper, which first reported the incident, that the song is meant as a joke and should not be taken seriously.

"Paul Shanklin is a longtime friend, and I think that RNC members have the good humor and good sense to recognize that his songs for 'The Rush Limbaugh Show' are light-hearted political parodies," he told the newspaper.

Another candidate to lead the GOP, South Carolina party chair Katon Dawson, drew headlines this fall by resigning his membership of 12 years in a whites-only country club, weeks before launching his run at the national job.

The two incidents for both men come as Republicans are reeling from losing the presidency and dozens of House and Senate seats, and as many in the party are trying to improve relations with African Americans, who voted in record numbers for Obama and other Democratic candidates last month.

Among the candidates for RNC chairman are two African Americans: Michael Steele, the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, and Ken Blackwell, a former secretary of state in Ohio, who ran unsuccessfully for governor of that state in 2006.

Neither Blackwell or Steele could be reached last night for comment on the CD. Another candidate for RNC chair, Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, declined to comment, saying, "I haven't seen it. I don't really want to make any comment."

A spokesman for president-elect Barack Obama also declined to comment.
Saltsman was widely credited for helping transform Huckabee from a fringe candidate into a serious contender for the Republican nomination, tapping into a desire among evangelical voters for a candidate they could believe in.

A onetime top aide to former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, Saltsman has recently traveled to several states to woo some of the 168 Republican committee members face-to-face. The winner of the chairmanship must get 84 votes to claim the job.
Current Republican chairman Mike Duncan is also running for reelection. The vote is at the end of January.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Open Letter To Our State Party Leadership

RNC Chair.
We need change starting at the top. It's time to replace Chairman Duncan.We need strong leadership that opposes same-sex marriage and abortion. We need leadership that opposes bailouts, supports lower taxes and a smaller government. The Republican Party does not need to move to the left. We do not need to run away from Ronald Reagan. The voter should be able to tell the difference between the Democrat and the Republican Party when it comes to spending. I, for one, am sick and tired of hearing the voters say, "why should I even go vote, you can't tell the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats? They both spend money like a bunch of drunken sailors"

One of the many mistakes John McCain made, while running for President, was voting for the bailout just like the Democrats. Instead of seizing an opportunity to demonstrate fiscal responsibility, John McCain joined the Democrats and many Republicans in the biggest government giveaway in our country’s history! The Republican Party needs to get back to basics. We need leadership that is interested in changing the Republican Party by promoting the Republican platform, from the bottom up not from the top down. The Republican Party needs common sense leadership, someone that understands how important the Internet is. The technology is changing and we need to be out front, not playing catch up.

The grassroots activists need to take this party over and stop the RNC from telling us what to think. We need leadership that is willing to listen. The RNC should be listening, and in my opinion, they have lost track of their responsibility. We need a strong leadership team, stop the old farts and get back to what the Republican Party stands far. The Republican Party needs to get back to supporting strong national defense, family values, and promoting lower taxes and opposing and runaway spending. Those four things can make the difference. We need leadership that will walk the walk and understands that BS will no longer work.

The Republican activists want action not words!The Republican Party is right; it's our leadership that is wrong. I ask our National Committeeman, Committeewoman and our State Chairman to vote for leadership that has strong Christian values, someone that believes that the Republican Party does not need to change, but leadership that will change. The last thing we need is someone that approves of abortion, that supports same-sex marriage, and that supports the bailouts. We need someone that will stay true to our conservative Republican values! We need leadership that will articulate this message to all Americans, including African Americans, Hispanics and other growing minorities to once again make the Republican Party the majority party.Bob
Below is copy of an email I received:
Your letter to the RNC comparing Congress' spending with drunken sailors insults drunken sailors. Joe

Thursday, December 25, 2008

American Red Cross

Grand Old Partisan salutes Clara Barton, born on Christmas Day in 1821. During the Civil War, she volunteered at field hospitals and became Superintendant of Nurses. She excelled in fundraising and in distributing medical supplies.
Clara Barton was active in the Republican Party and campaigned for many Republican candidates. She was a political ally of Senator John Logan (R-IL), founder of Memorial Day and a Republican vice presidential nominee. Barton also campaigned for James Garfield (R-OH), elected president in 1880.
On May 12, 1881, Senator Omar Conger (R-MI) convened a meeting in his home at which Barton made plans to establish the American Red Cross. Nine days later, Barton and her colleagues drafted an organizational charter. Her friend Frederick Douglass (R-MD), the Washington, DC Recorder of Deeds, registered the new organization. She then met with Secretary of State James Blaine, a future Republican presidential nominee, and President Garfield to discuss setting up chapters nationwide.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas Happy Birthday Jesus

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Coach C.B. Speegle

As a High School student we all have had teachers that have touched our lives. One teacher we had at Capitol Hill back in the early 50’s and the late 60’s was C.B. Speegle (The Great One). C.B. Speegle was one class act. He had a positive impact on all of us at Capitol Hill. He was loved by so many as I look back on my years growing up in South Oklahoma City, I can never remember anyone saying one bad word about C.B Speegle. He was every ones hero.


Very sad!!! A legend at Capitol Hill for sure!! Coach Speegle will not be forgotten. I spent many a night at the Speegle household and always looked forward to spending time with them. CB III was one of my very best friends. God Bless their souls!!

I believe he was originally scheduled to speak at our 50th Reunion but was unable to make it. Am I correct on this Committee?


C. B. Speegle at the age of 92 passed away Tuesday.

C.B. Speegle Jr., 92, teacher, died Tuesday. Visitation 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today (Vondel L. Smith & Son North, Oklahoma City).

Pope Trying To Save Humanity from Homosexuality

Pope Benedict criticizes homosexual behavior
Published: December 22, 2008

VATICAN CITY: Pope Benedict said Monday that saving humanity from homosexual or transsexual behaviour was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
The Church "should also protect man from the destruction of himself. A sort of ecology of man is needed," the pontiff said in a holiday address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration.
"The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less."
The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound."
The pope said humanity needed to "listen to the language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman. He compared behavior beyond traditional heterosexual relations as "a destruction of God's work."
He also defended the Church's right to "speak of human nature as man and woman, and ask that this order of creation be respected."

Another Pope story
From Times Online
December 23, 2008
Pope accused of stoking homophobia after he equates homosexuality to climate change
(Gregorio Borgia/AP)
Pope Benedict has spoken out against 'gender theory'
Philippe Naughton
Pope Benedict was accused of stoking homophobia today after a speech in which he declared that saving humanity from homosexuality was just as important as saving the rainforest from destruction.
The Pontiff made the remarks yesterday in an end-of-year address to the Curia, the Vatican's central administration. He said that humanity needed to listen to the "language of creation" to understand the intended roles of man and woman and behaviour beyond traditional heterosexual relations was a "destruction of God’s work".
"The tropical forests do deserve our protection. But man, as a creature, does not deserve any less," he told scores of prelates gathered in the Vatican's Clementine Hall.
"What’s needed is something like a ‘human ecology,’ understood in the right sense. It’s not simply an outdated metaphysics if the Church speaks of the nature of the human person as man and woman, and asks that this order of creation be respected."

Lisbian speaks out.

The Rev Sharon Ferguson, chief executive of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, described the Pope's comments as "totally irresponsible and unacceptable in any shape or form". She said: "It is more the case that we need to be saved from his comments. It is comments like that that justify homophobic bullying that goes on in schools and it is comments like that that justify gay-bashing.
"There are still so many instances of people being killed around the world, including in Western society, purely and simply because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity.
"When you have religious leaders like that making that sort of statement then followers feel they are justified in behaving in an aggressive and violent way because they feel that they are doing God’s work in ridding the world of these people."
Her views were echoed by the Reverend Dr Giles Fraser, the vicar of Putney and president of Inclusive Church, the pro-gay Anglican movement. "I thought the Christmas angels said ’Fear not’. Instead, the Pope is spreading fear that gay people somehow threaten the planet. And that’s just absurd ... Can’t he think of something better to say at Christmas?"
Pam Spaulding, a leading lesbian blogger from the United States, was even more direct. She said: "The Prada Papa Ratzi opens his trap again, and the homophobia stinks like trash piled up during a NYC garbage strike."
The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful, homosexual acts are. It opposes gay marriage and, in October, a leading Vatican official called homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity, a wound".
The Pope's speech was also seen, however, as a denunciation of "gender theory" – the study of how gender assignments affects the behaviour of individuals. The Catholic Church has repeatedly spoken out against gender theory, which gay and transsexual groups promote as a key to understanding and tolerance.
"That which is often expressed and understood by the term ‘gender’ in the end amounts to the self-emancipation of the human person from creation and from the Creator," the Pope said.
"Human beings want to do everything by themselves, and to control exclusively everything that regards them. But in this way, the human person lives against the truth, against the Creator Spirit."
Mark Dowd, campaign strategist at Operation Noah, the Christian environmental group, who is a gay man and a former Dominican friar, said that the Pope’s remarks were "understandable but misguided and unfortunate".
He said that he understood the Pope’s vision of creation in which rainforests were protected and men and women "complement one another, reproduce and live happily ever after".
But he said: "The problem is that if you study ecology seriously as any intelligent man would do, and the Pope is a fantastically intelligent man, you realise that ecology is complex, it has all sort of weird interdependencies and it is the same with human sexuality.
"It is not a one-size-fits-all model, there are lots of differences, so therefore I think it is really sad that these comments betray a lack of openess to the complexity of creation."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Balkman's Win

Notice anything unusual about this Christmas card? See the object crawling away in the background. That's not a dog that's Zoe, the youngest Balkman. Thad-Amy did not even notice she crawled off until Amy saw her do a double gainer off the side of the bridge. They win the best Christmas card of 2008.

Congressman Cole In Iraq

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Weiner, Paterson, and Israel Visit Officials, Troops in Baghdad
Representative Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn and Queens), along with Governor David Paterson, Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) and members of the New York congressional delegation visited American troops and top officials in Baghdad on Sunday. The delegation shared meals with service men and women, toured American bases and met with U.S. and Iraqi officials during the trip.

Left to Right: Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Governor David Paterson (D-NY), Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, the Commander of MNSTC-I (Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq). Photo credit: Office of Rep. Israel / Mike Ryan
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; it's the only thing that ever has" - Margaret Mead

Monday, December 22, 2008


Tim Pope and Brent Rinehart might be in trouble. I sure hope that they have not done anything illegal. Check out the story on


Tom Cole Off To Iraq

Congressman Tom Cole is off to Iraq to spend part of his Christmas holidays with our troops. We appreciate Congressman Cole and his support and respect for our brave military personal. Bobby

Electoral College Members Outraged!

I will jump in here now.

It was my understanding that the Secretary of State (Susan Savage) was responsible for the proceedings, etc. Her letter said proceedings were to start at 2:00PM. I glanced at the wall clock when she entered the room. It was between 15 and 20 after 2:00PM.

So the Governor must have arrived after 2:30PM. Common courtesy would call for her and the Governor to at least be in attendance at 2:00PM sharp. When they did appear, neither uttered any apology for being late in arriving.

One of the first things our Mommies taught us - have good manners, be polite, and apologize if you keep someone waiting.

The two short sentences he spoke before turning over the proceedings to his aide only further demonstrated his lack of respect.

He never welcomed the Electors (or their guests in attendance) to the State Capitol. Looking back, I believe the Secretary of State and the Governor showed deliberate disrespect to the Electors, individually, and to the purpose for our meeting.

I do not believe any of us could have spoken up and done anything different. I believe by law, the proceedings were to be conducted and led by the Governor and Secretary of State. This was their show!

About the only good thing about the day was personally visiting with the Electors I had not previously met. Gail, Diana, Pete. I agree with Bobby, the entire ceremony (what ceremony?) sucked! On December 15th we were all thrown under the bus!

I have not received my mileage check yet. But I want round trip mileage and tolls and if I do not receive, I will speak up.
Member of Oklahoma Electoral College

Top Gay Speaks Up

Rep. Frank Opposes Warren Invocation at Inauguration
Frank, who is openly gay, says it was a mistake to give such a high honor to a pastor who compared homosexuality to incest
WASHINGTON -- The first openly gay member of Congress said Sunday it was a mistake for President-elect Barack Obama to invite the Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration.
"Mr. Warren compared same-sex couples to incest. I found that deeply offensive and unfair," Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., said in a broadcast interview.
"If he was inviting the Rev. Warren to participate in a forum and to make a speech, that would be a good thing," Frank said. "But being singled out to give the prayer at the inauguration is a high honor. It has traditionally given as a mark of great respect. And, yes, I think it was wrong to single him out for this mark of respect."
Read more

Chaney Mocks Biden

Cheney Mocks Biden, Defends Rumsfeld in 'FOX News Sunday' Interview
Vice President Cheney mocked Vice President-elect Joe Biden's grasp of the Constitution, defended former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and said President Bush "doesn't have to check with anybody" before launching a nuclear attack.In a blunt, unapologetic interview on "FOX News Sunday," Cheney fired back at Biden for declaring in October that "Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in American history.""He also said that all the powers and responsibilities of the executive branch are laid out in Article I of the Constitution," Cheney said in a interview that was conducted on Friday. "Well, they're not. Article I of the Constitution is the one on the legislative branch.""Joe's been chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a member of the Judiciary Committee in the Senate for 36 years, teaches constitutional law back in Delaware, and can't keep straight which article of the Constitution provides for the legislature and which provides for the executive. So I think I'd write that off as campaign rhetoric. I don't take it seriously."Cheney, who is often called the most powerful vice president in history, also challenged Biden's claim that the Bush administration has amassed too much executive authority, a trend Biden reportedly plans to reverse."If he wants to diminish the office of the vice president, that's obviously his call," Cheney shrugged. "President-elect Obama will decide what he wants in a vice president and apparently, from the way they're talking about it, he does not expect him to have as consequential a role as I have had during my time."
Biden bit back, however, in a dueling Sunday morning interview that aired on ABC's "This Week" in which he said he stood by his statements.
To see the rest of this story go to

Archbishop Sends Warning

Archbishop warns of dangers of economic dogma
LONDON (AFP) — Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams warned Monday that governments should not pursue dogmatic solutions to the financial crisis at the risk of the most vulnerable, saying that is what the Nazis did.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph newspaper, he said Hitler's movement was based on a system of principles that "worked quite consistently once you accepted that quite a lot of people that you might have thought mattered as human beings actually didn't".
Williams, the most senior cleric in the Church of England, said that in the current climate, "what looked like a principled defence of some of our economic assumptions... seems more ragged and vulnerable than it once did".