The Duncan Banner


May 19, 2013

Is it ‘coincidence’ the OCE has no teeth?

DUNCAN — Since I spend most of my working hours in offices in Duncan and Waurika, it’s nice both communities now have recycling programs so I can deposit the sticky notes that serve as my memory. Slip off your partisan political Polaroids for a minute and let’s take a wider view of what goes on under the rotunda in Washington, D.C.

In November, an investigative piece by The Washington Post revealed that over the course of three years, 130 members of Congress and their families traded stock in companies registered to lobby before congressional committees. Over 5,000 of those trades happened when Congress was considering bills that would impact those companies.

In all, The Post found 73 members of Congress “sponsored or co-sponsored legislation in recent years that could benefit businesses or industries in which either they or their family members were involved or invested.”

The report seems to have not raised an eyebrow among our elected officials. Since Tom DeLay was taken to the woodshed in 2004, only two House members have been disciplined for playing ethically fast and loose, and the Senate Ethics Committee has issued just four “letters of admonishment” to members accused of questionable ethics.

Politicians from both parties say representing their constituents is their job. If their personal financial interests happen to overlap with their constituents’ interests ... well that’s what, just a coincidence?

Four years ago, Congress created the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which was to independently monitor members’ behavior and recommend action for those who cross the ethical line. No one’s been before that board, yet, because House leaders of both parties haven’t even named members to the OCE board.

Tell me, are you really surprised?

 If this were a perfect world, your shin bone would have more meat on it.

 Of course, if it was a perfect world, I wouldn’t be interested.

 At one convenience store it’s called “crushed ice.” At another convenience store it’s called “pellet ice.” At a third convenience store it’s called “chunk ice,” And at a fourth convenience store it’s called “shaved ice.” Can’t we find some unanimity on this pressing issue?

 Duke Ellington once explained his “sound” this way: “I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.”

 Is it a good thing 13-year-olds can now acquire a Facebook account?

 Are you buying the industry rhetoric that gasoline prices have spiked because of refinery outages? Locally, the price for a gallon of petrol has risen 70 cents in less than a month, but Chuck Mai of AAA Oklahoma says he knows of no problems at Oklahoma refineries. There’s talk Oklahoma gas has been moved from local refineries to help with shortages in areas around the Great Lakes. Could be ... but all I know is: In five decades of driving, this is the first time I can remember diesel fuel being cheaper than regular unleaded.

 OK, the next time you want a day off, try this one: “Hey, boss, I can’t come to work because I’m stuck in the blood pressure machine down at the Walmart.”

 Although some of us struggle with belief, how else does someone have a voice like Smokey Robinson’s unless there’s a creator?

 “You’re a beard with an idiot hanging off of it.” A zinger from the now-defunct British television comedy Black Books.

 Sauerkraut didn’t start off as a German delicacy, it was created in China about 1,000 years before becoming popular among Germans.

 Plastic surgeons can now take fat from the buttocks and add it to the breasts? I’ve got a line — or five — I could use in response, but I’ve really been trying to get a grip on my “typical male” side.

 The most true thing my parents told me was: “You won’t believe how fast it (life) goes.” I guess that’s why the older I get the more life seems like an eternal loop of Mondays. I get up Monday morning, blink my eyes,  and the next thing I know it’s Monday morning again!

 If you believed all the stuff you can read about political candidates on the Internet, we’d never elect anybody.

 “Plan for the future because that’s where you are going to spend the rest of your life.” Mark Twain said it.

580-255-5354, Ext. 172. Kaley is managing editor of Waurika News-Democrat

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    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014