Today, 1,681 caucus locations in the state of Iowa will determine which Republican and Democrat presidential candidates have a leg up for the remainder of the 2016 primary election.

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, Gov. Mary Fallin will take to the House chamber lectern and give her sixth State of the State address to kick-off the 2016 legislative session.

In both cases, these events only begin to tell the tale of long, complex political narratives to come over the next three months. While Barack Obama won Iowa’s Democratic caucuses in 2008 on his way to becoming president, former Sen. Rick Santorum won Iowa’s Republican caucuses that year before falling off the mainstream map.

Likewise, Gov. Mary Fallin’s prior State of the State addresses have called for initiatives that ultimately became successful as well as initiatives that never got off the ground.

Last year, Gov. Fallin set the stage in her SOTS address for an important look at the state’s extensive list of tax credits:

Speaking of benchmarks for success, we need to ensure the money we are investing in economic incentives and business-related tax credits is paying off and helping to create good jobs.

The Legislature ultimately passed — and the governor signed — a bill requiring review of state tax credits. The effort has been praised by The Oklahoman’s editorial board. (That said, the created panel missed a Jan. 1 procedural deadline.)

On the other hand, a call by Gov. Fallin in her 2013 SOTS address to “restore local control to cities and towns regarding tobacco use in public places” never got off the ground. Oklahoma remains one of the only states in the U.S. where cities and counties are prohibited from enacting stronger rules on tobacco than state law. The legal requirement is referred to as “preemption.”

If you’re looking for previews of what today’s events may hold, the Internet has options for you. The latest presidential primary polls can be found on Real Clear Politics‘ site, and Gov. Fallin previewed today’s address and the 2016 session with the Associated Press and Oklahoma Watch.

Still, it’s impossible to predict the future. Buckle up and pop the popcorn. Today will be interesting in the world of politics.

Things we saw (and heard)

Harris grand jury indicts pair behind Planned Parenthood video — Houston Chronicle

Missouri professor who called for ‘some muscle’ at protest is charged — New York Times

FTC brings enforcement action against DeVry University —

Mysterious dude in Iowa is following Ted Cruz around and accusing him of liking Nickelback — San Antonio Express-News

German forest ranger finds that trees have social networks, too — New York Times

Quotes to note

“The level of dialogue on national security issues would embarrass a middle schooler. People are out there making threats and promises that are totally unrealistic, totally unattainable. Either they really believe what they’re saying or they’re cynical and opportunistic and, in a way, you hope it’s the latter because God forbid they actually believe some of the things that they’re saying.”

— Fmr. Sec. of Defense Robert Gates, on the Republican contenders, at a Politico Playbook event, 1/25/16

I just want people to understand that this is a crisis, and the decisions we’re being forced to make aren’t what’s best for students or communities. (…) We’ve cut everything incrementally that we can, to the point that there’s nothing left to cut except major programs.

— Duncan Public Schools Superintendent Melonie Hau to the Duncan Banner, 1/31/15

They were doing more harm than good. This medical marijuana has been a godsend. It relieves me of the pain — or thinking about it, anyway.

— Retired NFL quarterback Jim McMahon to the Chicago Tribune about the 100 Percocet pills he used to take monthly, 1/29/15

Vine Time

Highlights from NonDoc


‘Sick kid’ says please don’t steal her health insurance” by Rachel B. Custer


Lead Poisoning

Rural Okla. counties echo lead woes of Flint, Mich.” by Josh McBee


Trump, Sanders owe their appeal to American anger” by Spencer Livingston Gainey