Editor’s Notebook: McDaniel honored, Guild may run, Collins critiques Costello, sanction scrutinized, OccupyOKC

 To rewrite a memorable phrase from the great Mark Twain, reports of the demise of the Oklahoma Democratic party might be greatly exaggerated. Despite clear advantages to the ascendant Republicans, a variety of activities and causes around the state show the continued appeal of “progressive” policy ideas to a wide range of the electorate.

State Rep. Jeannie McDaniel will receive a “Faith and Freedom Award” from the Oklahoma Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. The event honoring the Tulsa Democrat will be held Sunday, October 23 at 4 p.m., at Temple Israel in Tulsa.

In a press release, the group said McDaniel was being honored for “her courage and determination in protecting access to healthcare, affordable insurance coverage, health and productive service clinics, and legal, safe abortions for women and their Oklahoma families.”

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Tom Guild, emeritus professor at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, is entertaining another run for the Fifth District Congressional seat. At the Oklahoma City headquarters of “Change Oklahoma” on N. Western Avenue, Guild supporters are organizing an event this Thursday (October 13) to support an exploratory committee’s look at a renewed candidacy.

Guild sought the Democratic Party nomination in 2010, but lost the party nod to attorney Billy Coyle. In the general election, Republican James Lankford was victorious. He is expected to seek re-election this year.

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Monday, October 10, the state Democratic party continues its drive criticizing Commissioner of Labor Mark Costello. The AFL-CIO is holding a “no confidence” rally late in the afternoon, in front of the state Labor Department’s offices east of Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City.

State Democratic chairman Wallace Collins, a former state legislator from Norman, some public employee associations and party activists have been demanding that Costello apologize and/or resign for comments made at a Tulsa speech, before a Republican women’s group, where he unveiled his “parity for Oklahoma” campaign.

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Also on Monday, anti-death penalty activists planned to gather at the Oklahoma state Capitol for a press conference and community roundtable. Lydia Gill- Polley, co-chair of the Oklahoma Coalition Against the Death Penalty, planned to a roundtable focused on comments offered by speakers, and “the general public attitude about the death penalty.”

Scheduled speakers included Dr. Stan Basler, Oklahoma Conference of Churches; Dr. Susan Sharp, Oklahoma University; Monsignor Edward Weisenburger, vicar general of the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, and pastor at Our Lady’s Cathedral in Oklahoma City, and Kenny Fikes, the other coalition co-chair.

The event is taking place on the same day as a world coalition held programs around the planet focusing on what organizers called “the inhumanity of the death penalty.” These topics are part of that effort: worldwide trend toward abolition, the contention there is no human way to execute wrong-doers, “inhuman” condictions on death rows, the “dehumanizing” process of capital punishment, other reasons to end the ultimate legal sanction, and actions that may help end use of the penalty.

Death penalty foes have had renewed energy since the state of Georgia executed Troy Davis, amid allegations he should be granted clemency and/or release.

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Organizers say some 300 people attended the founding “general assembly” meeting for OccupyOKC, a local effort to bring to the Sooner State a homegrown version of the activism that has garnered news coverage in New York City and other larger metropolitan areas. The event was held last Friday (October 7).

News9, the CBS affiliate in Oklahoma City, covered the event. One college student, Bailey Grogg, told a reporter, “I think it’s an outrage … the gap wealth and wage in this country is immoral and unjust, and I’m here to put an end to it,” said Bailey Grogg, Oklahoma City college student and political science major. Another attendee, Maureen Dutton, said, “I feel nobody listens and nobody cares about my needs or welfare because I don’t have millions of dollars to throw around.