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PAUL L. MCCORD JR. | K5GLH – OKLAHOMA CITY

paulmccord.net - PAUL L. MCCORD JR. | K5GLH – OKLAHOMA CITY

I’m Voting NO! on 744

If you pay any attention to me at all, you know I have some pretty strong opinions and 744 is no different.  In Oklahoma, education is the issue that no one is allowed to oppose and therefore the issue that is used to scam the people.  The commercials for proposition 744 are fairly typical with scary music playing in the back ground showing kids losing to surround states.  They do this in the form of football fans losing to Texas and then Missouri.  Then they clarify that kids are not losing to other states in football but rather in education spending.  I forgot the actual dollar amount but I think it was $1,600 per student.  The commercial says that Oklahoma spends $1,600 per student less than surrounding states.  What the commercial fails to do is what they always do when trying to get voters to vote for a fraudulent education bill is to omit how much money is spent on the generic term of “education”.

The political leaders in Oklahoma have made a science out of begging for money while telling voters to vote “Yes” for the kids.  The voters ALWAYS vote yes and forfeit more of their money to help “the kids”.  What most people miss though is that on the ballots they never earmark the money for kids but rather for education.  Education is a buzz word like “reform” that is misused to deceive the voters.  What the leaders have done is taken over many hospitals downtown like Presbyterian, children’s, etc and changed the name to “OU Medical Center”.  This means that multiple hospitals now fall under the term “education” and so qualify for the money that people voted YES to increase spending.  In other words, the commercials used children and sympathy for the children to make people feel guilty to motivate them to vote YES.  The voter was duped into thinking he or she was helping the kids but really they were paying for the construction of many hospitals downtown.  They were also paying for the construction the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.  If you have been to either of these universities lately you will have noticed how they are now extravagant mansions.

I have noticed a patter with Oklahoma education initiatives using children to sell their proposition and then once they are passed, the children never see a dime of this money.  Percentage wise, Oklahoma spends nearly double on education than any state around them.  When someone like myself dares question this, they are often blown off and told that you cannot pay attention to percentages because Oklahoma is a poor state.  They tell you that even though this state spends a higher percentage, it equates to lower dollar amount than say Texas.  I reject this notion because they are playing the numbers game without looking at the whole picture.  Of course 50 percent of 25 million people will be a larger number than our 3.5 million people.  When you look at the per capita numbers of children, you cannot legitimately say we are spending less.  You can make the argument that we are spending less “ON” the children but not less on education.

My point to all of this is that Oklahoma spends a fortune on education but mishandles the money intentionally deceiving the voters.  They never have the intention of spending a dime on these initiatives on the kids or teachers, or the schools that children go to.  This is why they use the term “education” generically.  Once you vote for these initiatives, they put it in a pot labeled education.  The state changes the meaning of issues to call them education like the OU Medical Center so that the money can be spent there instead of for the children.  The happily ignorant voter is duped again.  This is why I will not miss this ballot because I do not want to have my name attached to a bill like this.  I will make a prediction and say the voters will be duped and vote for this in the end but it will not be me.  Our state uses education the way the U.S. government uses social security.  Neither party ever even makes an attempt to secure it but rather uses the issue to dupe voters into voting against the other candidate. Once in office, they conveniently forget about it until the next election.

Don’t be duped into voting for “education” when the teachers and children are being used to spend the money elsewhere.  They have no intention of spending this money on the teachers and children and never do.  If you have been paying attention at all, you would have noticed that every single time the state wants you to vote YES on education, the parade children on the screens and say that Oklahoma spends less than neighboring states on the children.  This may be true but that does not mean the state is spending less on the generic education.  This means they are spending the money elsewhere in the name of education. It is the issue they want to keep when they want to get into your wallet.  The issue is more valuable than fixing it.  As long as they can keep using this to get more money out of the people, then they will.

How many times are we going to see this?  Do you remember they did the same thing to get the lottery passed?  I am not saying I am opposed to the lottery but rather that they used the children to get it passed.  Every time you will hear the sad music on the commercials while parading children across the screen.  The next time you vote on education, read the whole ballot all the way through.  Look for any indication that the money will be spend on schools for children and not universities.   If it does not specifically say the money is going to be spend on elementary, middle school, or high schools, or teachers and not professors then you are likely being duped again.  I can tell you this before even looking at the ballot because I have seen this so many times that it is predictable.  Another thing that is wrong about this is that in Oklahoma the state legislature must have three fourths vote to pass any tax increases.  The legislature is the only one that has the authority to pass tax increases.  When you vote to spend more on education, it will come from other state spending because this will not be a legislature vote to increase taxes.

What ends up happening is that many people that work for the state end up getting their spending cut so that “education” gets their increase.  This angers those employees who begin to put pressure on the legislature to raise taxes.  Once the door is opened here, it never closes.  Once the precedent has been set to raise taxes when the money has no oversight, then it can be used indefinitely.   This is a bad idea all the way around.  Education spending has become a racket and not used appropriately again and again.  Let’s tell these people to spend the money where it was originally intended and not allow them to get away with the misuse of our tax dollars.  If they want to build another hospital then they need to tell people that is what they want.  Do not allow them to tell us they are helping the kids all the while spending it somewhere else.

Good Morning

Tucson Trip

This image was taken in Tucson, Arizona at the encouragement of my 16 year old son.  He saw the foolishness of how the Border Patrol labeled the spot where you put the gas in this truck.  I posted this to make a point that the United States government is not the right people to be handling the affairs of ordinary people.  If they control the Border Patrols to the point that they tell them where to put the gas then you can imagine their control of your healthcare.  I work for the government and I can tell you that the Border Patrol is not an isolated incident.  All areas of the government are the same.  At work they force us to identify wall outlets in the office so that we know they are 120 volts.

It is early on a Sunday morning and my family still sleeps.  Yesterday I had to work an unusual Saturday so the weekend seems short.  At work there are some deadlines that must be met while they impose a new web based program on us that is not ready for operation.  This is pretty typical for the way the government does things.  I really do not like to harp on the government all the time but they have proven themselves incapable, bureaucratic over and over again.  The system that we are being forced to use is admittedly not ready yet because many of the tools are not even available to update though we are still being held to the same standards as though they were.  This web based system is replacing a stand alone computer program that is saved right on the computer that is being worked on.  Anyone that has worked with a web based system knows that you have bandwidth issues with transferring data over the web slowing things down.  With every transaction it requires a save, and refresh and each transaction requires this four or five times.  With every refresh it can take ten to 30 seconds to refresh.  Since we have several hundred tasks, the time taken increases more than four times the old method.  This does not even account for the modules that are not available yet.

For this reason, I had to be at work on a Saturday at 6:15 am and will have to work overtime every day this coming week and and then do it again next Saturday.  Anyone that has ever dealt with any governmental agency whether it be city, county, state, federal, they know that it can be a bureaucratic red tape to do anything.  Just go to the Veterans Administration, or Social Security office and you will find they have requirements that are above and beyond other agencies.  The VA for example will require you to see a doctor even if you are not sick as a condition for their covering your medical treatment.  This is just the nature of government because governments are not held to meeting a bottom line.  They do not have to be concerned about profit margins and so efficiency is usually not even a factor in deciding how to do a process.  I am not saying that it is malicious but rather just the nature of how things work in the government.  If the government runs out of money, they just force the tax payers to give more.  This is done through extortion, threats and intimidation.

This is not me going on a rant but rather just pointing out some observations of my being connected to the government for more than 20 years.  When you add to this bureaucracy that inevitably exists in any government agency by nature, that they are funded by politicians that may or may have no idea how to run a business, the problem is made worse.  Our government is headed up by 535 Senators and Representatives that have virtually no accountability.  We have an executive branch that also has no accountability. The Judicial branch is so out of control and has the least accountability of all branches.  Our founding fathers created a system that was supposed to have checks and balances to keep leaders from gaining too much power.  What has happened over the years is that we have lost our direction and created a two party system that has created a divisive network of issues that really help no one but are used to drive a wedge between groups of people in an effort to gain votes.

There has become this Republican versus Democrat system set up that has its core issues, none of which help any of their constituents yet they are used to emotionally enflame their constituents to vote for one side or the other.  There is never a middle ground or any other issues that matter because they along with a willing accomplice in the American media have successfully galvanized the public to fall for these issues.  Either you are for it or you are not.  Either you support this candidate or you support the other side that is evil.  There is no middle ground.  These issues are so predictable and always the same.  On the Republican side it is the issues of the legality of abortion, the fight against big government and taxes, illegal aliens, and a host of others.  On the Democrat side it is the issues of medical care, the poor, the elderly, the unions among others.  On both sides they paint the other sides as villains to their respective cause and people just fall right in line.  Maybe it is laziness, maybe it is ignorance but in my opinion it is both.  I think it is a willing laziness to just accept what you hear on the television as fact and not hold these people accountable.

Many people that run for political office have no qualifications to run a 7-11 store much less spend millions of dollars of our tax money in an attempt to stay in office.  Many times political figures will offer some sort of social program and the entire political movement along with the media stands behind this issue as the defining issue of the day.  These politicians will paint a picture of some perceived injustice that is happening to a group of people, usually a large voting block like the elderly.  They will put themselves in a position as savior to fix this problem if you just support them.  They will offer some social program that will give those voters some sort of benefit that is too small to make a real difference yet large enough to convince them that the politician is on their side.  The Democrats are very  very good at this.  They do this in a way that anyone who would dare go against spending this money is portrayed as evil and against progress.  This is how the galvanize their followers to vote not only for the program but against the opponent.  The Republicans are not as good as the Democrats at doing this but they are just as dishonest.

Our American political system has become a system of celebrity worship where if the candidate can get the most name recognition, they are the winner.  The qualifications of the candidate are not even a factor.  There are many candidates in Congress that have never had a real job and yet they are making decisions that affect the rest of the country.  Another troubling problem is that in our government we have a disproportionate number of lawyers that are in political office.  This is not meant to be a slam on lawyers but rather to point out another observation.  A lawyer is a special career choice that specializes in rhetoric.  When I say rhetoric, I mean the art of words.  Being a lawyer is more than just having knowledge of laws that are applicable but also having a knowledge of the power of words.  If you have a large vocabulary and the ability to communicate orally and written, then you have skills that are powerful.  The career choice of being a lawyer also requires the ability to make an argument  for or against anything using whatever information is available.  It is an art that must be learned for most people but some are born with it.  In this career it is more important to win the argument than it is to be right or wrong.  Success it determined on the number of arguments won rather than how many right or wrong arguments are won or lost.

Just as the nature of government is to be bureaucratic, the nature of being a lawyer is to convince people whether by facts or emotion to agree with one side.  This is usually done using emotion rather than facts and most lawyers that I know will admit this fact.  The problem that arises is that you have a disproportionate number of people that are in charge that are more driven by success of an argument than they are by the drive to do something that is morally right.  When this happens people sometimes get emotionally drawn into the argument of the day believing they are doing the right thing when they are really just being played upon.  The power brokers are pulling all the strings driven by staying in power and winning their argument while the people are emotionally tied up in issues that the politician/lawyer cares virtually nothing about.

This is made worse because two of the three branches of government, those being the executive and legislative branches have put all controversial decision making on the judicial branch.  The judicial branch meaning the courts are run 100% by lawyers with the same drives that I have spoken of before.  The courts have zero accountability with lifetime appointments and no chance of being removed from office.  The average citizen has no power in the decisions that are made in the courts.  The judicial branch of government was intended to make Constitutional determinations of laws that were made by Congress and signed into law by the President.  Their job was to determine the Constitutionality of laws. The judicial branch should be used to say yes or no.  Yes it is Constitutional or not.  What has happened is that judges and courts in general have gone further by adding their opinions to the decisions. These opinions themselves are unconstitutional.  These opinions are being referenced in other cases to determine whether other issues are constitutional or not.  Judges have no place adding opinions to cases.  Further, the use of case law for deciding other issues is just as wrong.

If one judge oversteps his or her power in a decision, then it opens the door for others to use this previous decision to justify their irrational decisions.  Since both the executive and legislative branches have not stood up to their responsibilities by impeaching these corrupt judges, there is absolutely no accountability.  The Congress turns a blind eye to to corrupt judges and refuses to use their power to remove these judges.  Our system has been further corrupted by those in power.

Those in Congress have forced our children to go to schools that preach a certain political slant.  They control the education system with the curriculum and money.  They have indoctrinated a whole generation of children to believe that a socialist system is better than a capitalist system.  When I say socialist, I mean by definition where the government controls the money and assets.  Socialism means that the welfare of the nation is determined by the government because they are the handlers of money.  I heard a recent poll that said that only 52% of Americans thought that Democracy was better than socialism.  This is a scary proposition because many of these people are too young to understand the implications of socialism.  They do not remember the former Soviet Union’s grip on Eastern Europe and the world.  They do not remember the Soviet Union’s real name was the Union of Soviet SOCIALISTS Republic (USSR).  Governments by their very nature will grab more power than is offered them.

Anytime the people willingly give up their freedoms in the name of security, are also giving up their rights.  These rights once they are lost, will never return.  Security is something we all desire but not all have the willingness to fight for it.  When we become lazy and give that security fight over to a government whose nature is to grab power, we lose our rights.  This post is not an attempt to scare everyone to death but rather to vent my frustrations at what I see in the world.  I see the nation that had such a great reputation in the world willingly handing over the freedoms that were fought for in the name of becoming secure.  How many other nations have done this to see their glory days a distant memory?  The Soviet Union most likely desired security.  The Nazi Germany likely went down the same path.  Please do not be lazy and allow those that may not have your best interests at heart be in control of your future.  Do not turn your rights over in the name of security.

Do not allow the two political parties and the media to determine your future.  Do not allow those that are good with words to take your rights when they are more concerned with winning an argument.  Take responsibility for yourself and be critical of those over you.  It is good to be critical of those that make decisions over you.  Never accept that anyone in power is thinking of you because by our very nature we are selfish.  People do what makes them happy without thought.  If we hold each other responsible for our own actions, then maybe we should hold those that make decisions on our behalf responsible.  This is not meant to be malicious or callous in any way.  This is just an attempt to wake people to understand that you have to take responsibility and not let someone else make decisions for you.

I know I paint a bleak picture of our political system in this blog post.

Today Was The Big Day

After a long couple years, the graduation is over.  Today I graduated the University of Oklahoma putting a lot of stressful times away.  This is tough enough when you are 18 years old but when you are 43 and have a full family life and a full time job, it makes it even more of a challenge.  This day was supposed to be a huge moment and it was to a degree.  I feel like the whole event was under the influence of drugs.  I have not slept for more than three continuous hours in a week and the doctor gave me some itching medication for my poison ivy that really made me sleepy.

It was a good day though and I have a wonderful family that was there for me.  My beautiful wife Sunday shown in this photo has made so many sacrifices for me in our 20 years of marriage.  She sacrificed so much for me in getting this accomplishment done that I really do appreciate her.  She is testament to the Proverbs 31 woman spoken of in the Bible.  She is so incredible that words cannot express.

Now that I have this behind me, I can get back to life again.  The time involved in completing this goal has been amazing.  Our whole lives have been adjusted to make time for this.  God has been very good to us but has taken an unfortunate back seat to this goal.  It is time to put HIM first again and remember where my blessings come from.

Sunrise in OKC

Sunrise in OKC

It is hard to find anything more pleasing than a nice morning sunrise when you do not have to go to work.  The beauty of my situation this morning is that it is the end of the year and I have some use or lose vacation time that I have to burn so I took this beautiful Friday off.  Although it is a crisp 32 degrees at this early hour it still is a pretty morning.  This time last year we were sitting in the dark for a week.  You may remember the horrible ice storm that knocked out the electricity to more than 250,000 in Oklahoma City while more than a million state wide.  You can look at the photos I took here.  The weather forecast is showing another ice storm coming in next week though most believe it will not compare to the monster we had last year. Most people sleep in on their day off but not me.  I love mornings and I always have.  I went out to breakfast at the Waffle House at 5:30 this morning as she was going to work.  She could not take the day off because in her Wing they were having a General come to their office.  She had to be involved in the protocol activities so I had to do without my beautiful wife this morning.  As a second choice I thought I would spend my morning watching the sun rise over Oklahoma City.  I took this photo among others around 7:00 AM.

Below is another photo of downtown.  As you can see the Sandridge Energy and the Chase Bank both have crosses on the buildings representing the incredible sacrifice Jesus made for us as we celebrate his birth on Christmas.  Now I sit here listening to 40 meters on ham radio while typing a blog post.  I wanted to get some pictures of the full moon but there were some clouds in the western sky.  I only have two more classes before I can graduate the University of Oklahoma.  I will start those on January 20, 2009 and I am very happy to have this journey almost complete.
Sunrise in OKC

This morning I found San Francisco 49′ers football star Jerry Rice and the Phoenix Suns star Shaquille O’Neal on Twitter.  That was pretty cool as well.  Now that we have the Oklahoma City Thunder I will have to temper my love for the Phoenix Suns.  As many of you know we use to live in Phoenix, Arizona while I was stationed at Luke AFB.  I also lived in Tucson, Arizona while stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB.  Those were some wonderful times of my life that I will never forget.  I lived in Phoenix during the great run of the Suns in 1993.  That is when I really became a fan of the NBA.

I had a very nice visit with my dad last night.  Many of you ham radio people may know him as W5QO, the trustee for the Del City Amateur Radio Club (DCARC).  It is hard to believe that experiment has lasted for six years.  It is hard to believe that in 2002 I was trying to kill time while my wife was spending time in the hospital visiting her mother has turned out to be a full blown ham radio club with an FCC license (W5DEL).  Though I had an amateur radio license since 1983 I was not very active because I could not afford the gear until my dad gave me a dual band mobile radio.  Now it is a whole different world where I have my own ham shack, President of the DCARC and a 70 foot tower in the back yard and all this since 2002.

This year just does not feel much like Christmas with my 16 year old son gone.  He ran away on 26 Sep 08.  He is safe and staying with friends.  I spoke to him briefly on Yahoo Instant Messenger the other day.  We have decided to let him go and put faith in God that he will overcome and have a successful future.  Many have told me to file charges against the people that he is staying with but I think that would just make things worse.  My goal is to retain a relationship with him for the future and hope that he remains well.  Thank you for those that have offered their prayers of support.  We have decided to keep faith in God and enjoy life.  My other son got his driver’s license a couple days ago and we added him to our insurance.  Once I came too and realized that we really could afford the extra $100 per month premiums I was fine. :) I am happy for him as he just got a job at a local restaurant a couple weeks ago.  Despite everything I am very proud of both of my kids.  Once I graduate, I will have more time to do some hobbies that I have neglected for the last couple years.  I love taking pictures and talking on the radio.  Of course let’s not forget my big hobby of playing on the computer.  Thankfully today with amateur radio and photography joining with computers I can do all of them at the same time.

Again, it is a beautiful morning and I am off work too.  With no homework this weekend I am sure to have a nice weekend.  I only wish my wife could have taken off work.  That would have made it perfect.

Oklahoma Education is a Racket

There is one thing that really makes me mad and that is the racket that is our educational system.  If you are a citizen of Oklahoma you may or may not have noticed that we are continuously being told that we have one of the lowest paid teachers in America.  We are always given this line as they are asking for money.  On average we have an initiative every six months at most to raise money for education.  Just hearing this angers me at the way we are approached continuously with the same sob story.  I am not saying I think it is an unworthy cause but rather that we are being taken with these claims.  We always vote yes to raise money for “education”.  We even voted for a state lottery in the name of “education”.

With these requests for raising money the key word is “education” and not “teachers”.  The plea is for teachers but the initiatives are for “education” without being specific.  Education is a broad term and is not just teachers.  I am a student of the University of Oklahoma and have endured increases of 9.9% the last two years in a row.  This at the same time football coach Bob Stoops annual salary is $6,023,109.30 for 2008 not counting bonuses.  This does not count the staff and the rest of the sports program.  The University of Oklahoma has one of the biggest souvenir sales of any university in the United States making millions of dollars annually.  Because this school is a state run college, they get money from our taxes.  If you were to go to the university campus you would see a campus that looks like royalty.

The University of Oklahoma is likely the largest single recipient of our tax dollars under the name of “education”.  I grew up in Oklahoma so I like others have been a very big fan over the years.  I have always looked forward to watching the Sooners play when I was growing up.  That attitude has changed as an adult because I watch the way this university squanders our tax dollars and gouges the students.  Add to this, I have seen so many people that are OU fans that are psycho.  These people determine their day based on the outcome of a game.  The reason I posted this article is because I was posting on Twitter about the game tonight and we had a safety.  I posted “A safety?  Oh well, it is just a game”.  I was immediately jumped on for not being a real fan.  I snapped back to tell him that if he thinks it is more than a game that he has problems.  I work with some of these psychotic fans that you have to approach differently depending on the outcome of a game.

Back on topic.  I get so tired of the state giving us sob stories about how our teachers are one of the lowest paid in the United States.  We fall for it every time and vote yes to raise taxes.  Here we are dozens of initiatives later and we are still hearing that we have one of the lowest paid teachers in the nation.  Where is all the money from the last dozen or so “yes” votes?  Where did the money go?  I would venture to say it went to the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.  We are constantly being deceived to raise taxes for the “poor teachers” and when you look at the ballot it says “education”, not teachers.  This means OU gets another new building.  We need some transparency in this racket called education.  We need accountability to ensure the money goes specifically for those teachers that we are being begged to support.  I have decided that I will vote no on any new initiatives that are earmarked for education.  This is not an acceptable plea for me anymore.  I will not vote for any education initiatives that do not specify exactly what these funds are going to be used for.

I wll also continue to have no patience for these Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans that put more emphasis on a football game than the education they supposedly advocate.  I give them a hard time every time I see them.  I tease them about lowering the flag half staff and wearing black when the Sooners lose a game.  I am hopeful that at some point we will stop pouring more money into a corrupt system we call education.

Academic System is Corrupt

Many of you may remember it was June 27, 2007 that I posted a letter of frustration about tuition going up nearly ten percent in one semester at the University of Oklahoma. Tuition goes up every semester and a ten percent jump is outrageous. Well they did it again. Here is the email that I got from our OU president David Boren telling us the tuition is going up nearly ten percent again this coming semester. This means a twenty percent increase in less than one year. I already have to borrow the money and take ten years to pay it off. I for one am really tired of the Oklahoma education system being so corrupt.

It seems as though every election time there is an initiative to raise taxes for our schools. They always do it in a way that never specifies where the money goes but just puts it into “education”. We even created a state lottery that is supposed to go to “education”. That is “Oklahoma” for OU, and OSU. If you ever go to either of these campus you will see how they waste money. They have 42 inch plasma screen televisions on the walls to tell you what classes are going on. Oklahoma University is second in the nation for sales related to their sports program. This college makes millions of dollars every year for their football program. They pay their football coach more than the governer of the state many times over.

If there are budget problems at the University of Oklahoma, I can tell you right now it is because of mismanagement. Oklahoma spends 70 percent on education and then tells us they have the lowest paid teachers in the nation. Then they say it is because we are a low income state. I reject that answer out of hand because we are not a poor state. Yes we have some low income families but so does every state. I will tell you now, if you are a legislator of some kind you may need to come up with a better excuse next time when you want to raise taxes. Do not come to me with a sob story about how our kids are suffering and we need to raise taxes for them. If you say “do it for the kids”, then I am voting NO! It is no surprise that year round one of our public officials are under investigation, or indicted for some crime. I do not trust any of them whether they be Republican or Democrat. The OU president David Boren is a typical former Democratic governer/senator in that he likes to raise taxes over and over again with no return on our investment. I say stop this insanity of raising our tuition 10% twice in one year when we already have to borrow the money. I have zero respect of the leadership of the University of Oklahoma. They get half our budget, then rob us with outrageous tuition, and then beg for more. Am I the only one that feels this way?

________________________________________
From: davidboren@ou.edu [davidboren@ou.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 4:14 PM
To: donotreply@ou.edu
Subject: Letter from President Boren

TO: OU Family

I am writing to share with you the university’s budget situation for the upcoming academic year which begins this fall. I especially want to thank all of those who attended the open forum with me in Beaird Lounge to discuss our budget.

All of us have been working hard to educate the legislature about the need for adequate funding for the university and about the financial burdens already being carried by our students and their families.

Many students participated in Higher Education Day at the state capital, and faculty and staff members have also contacted legislators and the Governor’s Office. Thank all of you for your help.

The final amount including the allocation to OU from the State Regents for Higher Education will not be determined until late in the month. Our own university budget cannot be completed until we receive that information.

The outlook, however, is not optimistic. The legislature has about $350 million less in revenues to appropriate than was available last year. It appears that there is a strong possibility that no new funds will be appropriated to higher education even though our costs at OU have gone up for the Norman campus alone by more than $23 million this year, including increases in health care and retirement costs, utility and energy costs, building maintenance and several other areas. This amount would only include a 2% cost of living adjustment for faculty and staff, which is clearly inadequate compensation for their outstanding performance.

We will do our very best to hold increases in tuition and fees to the lowest possible level while maintaining our high academic standards. Hopefully, we can hold the increases within single digits.

Even though our academic performance continues to go up and is being more widely recognized with each passing year, we are still far below the national average in total tuition and fees and are near the bottom of the Big 12 in these costs for students.

UNDERGRADUATE TUITION AND MANDATORY FEES
BIG 12 UNIVERSITIES
2007-2008 ACADEMIC YEAR

RESIDENT
Missouri – $8,098
Texas – $7,670*
Texas A&M – $7,335
Texas Tech – $6,783
Colorado – $6,635
Kansas – $6,600
Kansas State – $6,235
Nebraska – $6,216
Iowa State – $6,161
OKLAHOMA – $5,607
Oklahoma State – $5,491

NONRESIDENT
Colorado – $24,797
Texas – $24,544
Missouri – $18,754
Iowa State – $16,919
Nebraska – $16,236
Kansas – $16,107
Kansas State – $15,970
Texas A&M – $15,675
Texas Tech – $15,123
Oklahoma State – $14,916
OKLAHOMA – $14,721

* Based on a flat rate tuition for all undergraduates that varies by college.

    This fails to mention that our flat rate tuition is only half of what we are charged

Still I constantly think about how hard it is for many students to find the funds to complete a university education. That is why the university’s top goal in private fundraising efforts is raising funds for scholarships. I’m happy to report that we have far surpassed the $50 million goal of our five-year scholarship drive. With one year still to go, we have reached the $125 million mark because of the generosity of alumni and friends of the university. This means that more than 4,000 additional students will receive privately funded scholarships this year than was true only four years ago. We will continue our campaign for scholarships to help you with a full understanding of the urgency of this effort. Last year scholarship funds available for students with financial needs went up slightly more than tuition and fees. Our goal is to make OU more affordable.

Since the budgetary outlook is not positive, I would again urge all students with financial need to act now to apply for scholarships for next year for which they may qualify.

The new Sooner Heritage Scholarships are especially designed to help middle-income families and not just lower-income families. Students receiving OHLAP or other financial assistance may also apply for them. If you have any doubt about whether you qualify, please contact the Financial Aid Services office at Buchanan Hall, Room 214, or by telephone at 325-4521. Application for Sooner Heritage Scholarships can be completed on line at http://www.financialaid.ou.edu/, then click on Sooner Heritage. The deadline for applications is July 10.

After the legislature completes its budget and the State Regents have allocated a final amount to OU, I will report to you again before I submit my final budget recommendations to our Board of Regents in late June.

In the meantime we will continue to work to increase financial support from the state and to identify internal cost savings.

Because of your strong commitment to excellence and high standards, we will continue our progress as one of the nation’s leading public universities.

Sincerely,

David L. Boren
President

As provided by University policy, the Office of the President has approved the application for distribution submitted with this E-mail under the mass E-mail policy. The approval is to the form of the application only, not to the content or viewpoint of the message. Approval of the form of this E-mail for distribution under the mass E-mail policy does not imply any position of the University.

January 12, 2008 Update

Good morning everyone,

I am anxiously awaiting the sun to return and the temperature to rise a bit.  Every since the ice storm in December, life has been out of order.  We have been slowly getting back to normal.  Yesterday was a big step in getting back to normal when the city of Del City’s contractors came to pick up the broken tree limbs and debris from my street.  There was so many branches in front of my house that I could only see the top half of the house across the street and it was driveway to driveway.  After picking up the branches with a mechanical arm on a tractor and dropping them into a large truck, my yard is pretty messed up.  That arm put some deep cuts in the front yard and left many branches laying in the street.  After raking them back up, there was another pile about 3 feet tall and 7 feet long.  I cannot complain though because it would have taken me 10 loads to get all the debris to the land fill.

My beautiful wife and oldest son and his girlfriend are in Altus, Oklahoma today visiting my sister in-law.  I really hope they have a good time.  My youngest son is staying with a friend in Shawnee so I am here alone.  I had planned on climbing the ham radio tower to fix my high frequency (HF) antenna that was destroyed during the ice storm.  A neighbor’s tree had fallen across the fence and snapped the wire and bent the 10 foot stand off pole at the top that keeps the antenna away from the tower legs.  As you can see from the photo below, the tree is laying across the power lines and all around my tower.  It was terrible but on January 8, 2008, that tree was cut to the ground and it cost me a fortune but it was worth every dime.

Tree from Hell

I was going to do this repair on the antenna last weekend but I climbed about 35 feet and changed my mind because of the heavy winds.  It was windy all week except yesterday that was perfect but I did not have time to work on it.  Today, it is cold with a North wind.  I looked at the Satellite photo and found that clearing sky is coming this way within an hour and it should warm up to 54 today. Hopefully I can get that antenna fixed today.  I should have to climb the tower twice, once to take the antenna down, and another time to re-install.

We finally got the next door neighbor’s very large elm tree cut down and that should make working on the tower much easier.  That tree was a thorn in our side for 9 years.  During the ice storm, a very large tree limb fell on the tower guy wire and pulled up one of the anchors on the opposite side.  We had to hire some people to come over and cut up the branches and then finally the entire tree.  That tree pulled the power box off the back of the house in the last two ice storms.  Then I had to get some new bigger and stronger anchors for the tower.  I had to re-level the tower and tighten all the guy wires to make it safe again before I even considered fixing the antenna.  It has been more than a month since that ice storm and we are still feeling the effects.  I sure hope I can get my front yard back to normal.  The really tore up the grass picking up the branches.

Well school starts back for me at the University of Oklahoma (OU) tomorrow so I will have to get back to work.  The break I had was not very relaxing as I had hoped since I had to have surgery, then lose power for a week, then spend days cutting up and raking tree limbs.  One of the problems with living in an older neighborhood is there are large, well established trees and all the power lines are above ground.   Ice storms have the potential of doing a lot of destruction in those situations.    Well I think I covered most of what I wanted to cover so I will say goodbye for now.

We Have Power!

Well everyone, we finally have our power back on after six days.  The lights came on at 5:57 pm last night and we were just thrilled.  It is hard to describe how you feel short tempered and lack of patience when your power is off.  On Wednesday we went and bought us a generator at I-240 and Shields Blvd.  There were many trucks that had come from the Cummins manufacturer in Kansas that were selling generators right out of the truck.  We managed to pick up a 6500 watt generator for $599.99.  With the install kit and tax, it was a little over $750.00.  That was money well spent because at least we could run a TV, a couple of lights and our refrigerator.  The neighbor tapped in and she used her refrigerator, TV, and a light as well.  This has been a very eventful couple of weeks.

I had finals at OU this last week all while having gall bladder surgery on the fifth of December.  Then last weekend we had the worst ice storm in Oklahoma history.  I just checked the TV and found that there are still more than 100,000 people here in the Oklahoma City metro with no power.  We need to keep those people in our prayers.  Thanks to you Jack, for offering to let us stay with you.  We appreciated the offer but we did have gas heat and already bought the generator.

My tower has some slight damage to the guy wires.  There was a branch about 8 inches thick that landed on the top guy wire and really shook the tower up and pulled up one of the anchor rods on the opposite side about 10 inches.  The guy wires are swaying about 3 to 4 feet in any direction so for all intents and purposes there are no guy wires holding it up.  It is pretty much standing on its own.  I have a 6 meter, 2 meter, 70 cm antenna that is pretty  much destroyed.  Both of my HF antennas are destroyed but thankfully they were just dipoles.  The most expensive one of the two was an Alpha Delta DXB-PLUS that runs about $250.00.  We have had five inches of rain in the past week so my back and front yards are just mud holes.  I hate to go out there and work because you sink into the grass.

We had another snowstorm, if you want to call it that, this morning where we had a coating on the cars.  My dad, W5QO is still without power over at his house.  I still have our WIN System repeater off the air because I have not had a chance to inspect the antenna after the tree branch landed on the tower.  The nightmare is almost over.  We seemed to have lost a week with all this going on.  I just looked at the calendar and realized that Christmas is only a week away.  What a busy week.  Sunday is inventorying all of the lost food in the refrigerators and freezers to claim on the insurance.  It was pretty scary the first time we opened them up.  Today we are doing laundry all day trying to get caught up on this whole week of sitting in the dark.  I am going back to work on Monday for the first time since before my surgery.  It will be good to get back to normal.  I think that pretty much covers the damage and what we have been doing this past week.  I will keep you posted.

Technorati Tags: ice storm,Oklahoma City,WIN System,OG&E,electricity,University of Oklahoma

Back to school

Well it has been a busy week getting ready for school.  My kids started school last Tuesday and both of them are now in high school.  It is hard to believe that time has gone so fast.  I am so proud of them and they are really doing well.  Of course this new school year includes a lot of new expenses like it usually does.  My school starts this Monday and so does the high costs of tuition and books.  I believe it will pay for itself in the long run.  This semester’s books were nearly $300 so they add up.  This evening I have been reading my school books trying to get a jump on the work.

This evening my wife and I along with my son and girlfriend went out to eat at Johnny Carinos Italian restaurant and had a nice meal.  It was a nice break from the hectic happenings of work.  It seems like they can hardly get it together at work.  One good thing is that Tropical Storm Erin has moved over us bringing some rain to the state.  I know that sounds strange if you have followed this blog and remember me saying that we have had more rain than ever this year.  One of the problems that we have in Oklahoma is that we get rain in great volumes, then long periods of dry weather.  After 37 inches of rain it stopped for weeks.  Now my grass barely has a green tint to it and the ground is cracked.  It was in the 70’s in July and this week it was 100+.

This week we finally received our new IRLP board for the repeater.  Our 443.3 repeater is still out for repair but hopefully it will be back soon.  The 145.25 repeater has been working good from all reports.  I hope to have the systems back up and running in a couple of weeks.  This week we got a letter in the mail telling us that our truck is paid for.  That was a good letter to see.  Any time you can get a debt paid off that is a good thing. Stay tuned for more later.

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