++ AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK’S MEETING
++ ALLELUIA, AMTRAK MIGHT BE GOING AWAY!
++ AGENDA FOR THIS WEEK’S MEETING
Our 12 noon luncheon for Wednesday, September 28th will be held at
Italiano’s restaurant, 4801 North Lincoln in OKC. Our speaker this
week will be Darren Grant. Mr. Grant has a Masters degree in Science
Education from the graduate school at the Institute for Creation
Research in San Diego. Darren has taught in both government and
private schools. He also does a number of presentations on a wide
range of issues. One of which is on world views. He has asked me to
link to the following site and recommend our folks take a few minutes
to access it before he speaks:
Sorry, I couldn’t get it to light up as an url?
* FRIDAY - The highly acclaimed new movie COURAGEOUS will make its
debut in theaters across America starting this Friday. It has been
produced by the same folks who did the very good Christian movies,
FACING THE GIANTS and FIREPROOF. Supporting these movies will ensure
more like them in the future.
* SUNDAY - This Sunday will be the 4th annual “Freedom Pulpit
Sunday” at churches across America where pastors realize the
importance of not only preaching the gospel, but also becoming
relevant in the culture war and then having a strong enough spine to
actually address the issues. In 2008, 33 pastors preached an election
sermon from their pulpits, then sent copies of their sermons to the
IRS, daring the agency to fine them or try to shut down their church.
Two of those pastors, Paul Blair of Fairview Baptist in Edmond and Dan
Fisher of Trinity Baptist in Yukon, were from Oklahoma. In 2009 there
were 84 pastors who participated, the number was up to 100 in 2010 and
an estimated 400 or more will participate in 2011. Standing behind any
pastor preaching such a sermon is the Alliance Defense Fund, a
Christian civil liberties legal defense organization, ready to take
any actions by the IRS all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Thus,
they are trying to challenge the unconstitutional Johnson amendment
which became a threat to a church’s tax exempt status.
++ ALLELUIA, AMTRAK MIGHT BE GOING AWAY
Just before I left for Reno, I heard a radio sound bite of Evan Stair
(sorry if I misspelled his name), an advocate for Amtrak and its
expansion, expressing concern that Republicans in Congress might ax
many of the Amtrak routes, including the route between OKC and Fort
Then the Oklahoman ran an editorial last Thursday titled: “Loss of
Amtrak would hurt state’s quality of life”. In my opinion, it was a
rare moment of honesty about the inconsistencies of the value system
of the Oklahoman’s editorial positions. Discerning readers have
believed for some time now that the Oklahoman’s editorial page
operates under the worldview value system of situational ethics.
The editorial starts of by saying: “The Oklahoman supports the state
subsidy for Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer route. There, we’ve said it. A
newspaper that celebrates free markets and questions government
subsidies is inconsistent in supporting the Amtrak subsidy.”
Pardon me, in my opinion, the suggestion that the Oklahoman is
generally opposed to subsides is laughable. Just try to eliminate
Oklahoma’s Quality Jobs Act and see where they come down on subsidies
for businesses. How about trying to take away the 5.5% salary kickback
for a 15 year period of time from state coffers to the owners of the
OKC Thunder, one of which married into the Gaylord family which has
been the majority owners of the Oklahoman for nearly a hundred years.
If that occurred, I can just imagine the editorials about the need for
state lawmakers to keep their promises.
In the Oklahoman’s editorial they foolishly tried to make a comparison
between subsidizing Amtrack and building roads and bridges as well as
subsidizing airports through taxes beyond monies collected through
user fees. I am just as opposed to supporting the building of roads
and bridges by using borrowed dollars (Obama’s infrastructure plan) or
even collected tax dollars as I am of seeing our road and bridge user
fees siphoned off to be spent on other purposes.
Highway travel as well as air travel infrastructure costs should be
completely supported by user fees, not tax dollars. There are no user
fees associated with Amtrak. The meager price for a ticket to ride
Amtrak doesn’t even come close to paying for the operational expenses,
much less be considered a user fee to pay for its infrastructure
costs. Of course the number one problem with Amtrak is that it is a
government OWNED business, not a business owned in the free market.
The editorial continued as such: “Restoration of Amtrak service to
Oklahoma and the few communities served by the Heartland Flyer has
been good for the state’s image (I would suggest the Oklahoman’s lust
for approval “image” by the elitists in San Francisco, Chicago, NYC,
Boston, etc. is at the heart of their support for such a loser as the
Heartland Flyer).” They went on to say: “But it didn’t come without a
price - or an admittedly inconsistent position from free - market
enthusiasts such as The Oklahoman.” (I almost fell out of my chair
laughing so hard at the thought of The Oklahoman being such a champion
of free markets. The next part of the editorial will be their efforts
to justify their inconsistency by quoting poets and psychobabblers)
The editorial continues by saying: “a foolish consistency,” Ralph
Waldo Emerson wrote, ’is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by
little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a
great soul has simply nothing to do.’ Carl Jung said, ’One cannot live
without inconsistency.’” The editorial finished with “We can live
without Amtrak, but its loss would be a blow to the quality of life in
I would suggest losing Amtrak would not be a blow to our quality of
life. We currently take 2 million a year from state taxpayers to
foolishly subsidize the Heartland flyer so more Oklahomans can go to
Texas to spend money than Texans come to spend money in Oklahoma.
We could use that 2 million subsidy to cut corporate or personal
income taxes and make life better in Oklahoma. In addition, cutting
the federal subsidy to Amtrak is vital to reduce our deficit spending
and try to save this nation. When Ronald Reagan was President, his
budget director David Stockton, tried to eliminate Amtrak and found
little support. He proclaimed, if congress couldn’t cut out such an
easy item as Amtrak, how would they ever cut the more difficult items
in the budget.
It is time for Amtrak to die in any market in which the ticket
revenues fail to pay the full costs of operational expenses as well as
infrastructure costs. Failure to do so would be the blow to the
quality of life in Oklahoma as well as America.
I look forward to seeing everyone this Wednesday.