Sunday, December 30, 2007

Cowboy Sports Review: OSU's Gundy Becomes Unintentional Video Star

It was as predictable as tomorrow's sunrise. When OSU football coach Mike Gundy went berserk over a Daily Oklahoman newspaper columnist in September, he instantly made himself a video star.

The Tulsa World is reporting that Gundy's rant has been viewed more than a million times on YouTube. We suspect this is not the kind of publicity OSU wants.

Gundy's rant included a few memorable phrases, lines that are likely to remain with him the rest of his coaching career.

The consensus favorite: I'M A MAN! I'M 40!

Gundy's Cowboys finished the season with a bowl win, giving the OSU coach a winning record for the year. Nice game, coach. We just hope all those YouTube viewers remember there's more to Cowboy football than a gasket-blowing coach.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fun With Oxymorons: Some Favorites

How can you act naturally? Or be terribly pleased?

These are a few oxymorons we found recently in some old office papers. Here are a few more of our favorites.

Synthetic natural gas
• Almost exactly
• Same difference
• Small crowd
• Computer jock
• Genuine imitation

And our No. 1 oxymoron: Definite maybe.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Iowa Man Has 'Worst Christmas Eve Ever'

Robert Schoff, 77, of Des Moines, Iowa, has survived what he called "the worst Christmas Eve ever."

According to the AP, Schoff spent a hour on Christmas Eve "stuck upside down in the opening of his septic tank, with his head inside and his feet kicking in the air above."

Schoff was attempting to unclog the tank, but slipped and became stuck in the opening. His wife noticed his feet in the air about an hour later but was unable to remove him from the tank.

She called the sheriff's office and deputies managed to pull Schoff out.

"Thank God my wife saw me. I don't think I could have stood staying in there much more," Schoff told the AP.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Huckabee, Clinton Lead in Oklahoma Poll

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton came out atop the most recent Oklahoma Poll, the Tulsa World reports today.

But the poll also showed that Oklahoma Republicans and Democrats both like Arizona Sen. John McCain, "the only candidate from either party viewed favorably by a majority of all those surveyed," the World noted.

On the Republican side, Huckabee was preferred by 29 percent of voters, followed by McCain at 17 percent and Giuliani at 11 percent. The "Don't Know/Refused" category came in at a strong 22 percent.

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, endorsed by Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. John Sullivan, came in at only 8 percent.

On the Democratic side, Clinton polled at 34 percent, former N.C. Sen. John Edwards at 25 percent, and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at 15 percent.

In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, Clinton lost against the leading Republicans. Edwards, however, proved much stronger among Oklahoma voters.

Other matchups showed McCain a clear winner in Oklahoma, beating the three top Democrats.

Our take: Unfortunately for Oklahoma and its voters, Sooner State choices don't matter much on the national stage. Like it or not (and we don't like it), Oklahoma doesn't have the population base or the political standing to affect the national outcome in any significant way.

For more on the Oklahoma Poll, check out the Tulsa World by clicking here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Joy to the World This Christmas Season

Our Christmas Wish, 2007:
Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

County Commissioner Fred Perry Takes On Columnist and Blogger Michael Bates

Urban Tulsa columnist and local blogger Michael Bates of Batesline fame might have a bit of cognitive dissonance these days.

Bates's mental gymnastics could be the result of the tongue-lashing he got recently in the pages of, believe it or not, Urban Tulsa. The Dec. 20-26 edition of UT featured a new Bates column published adjacent to a column highly critical of a previous Bates column.

The critical piece was written by Tulsa County Commissioner Fred Perry, who had plenty to say about some errors in a Bates column in the Nov. 29-Dec. 5 edition.

Perry starts by noting that "for someone who writes often on the subject of local government" Bates's column "was extremely misinformed and inaccurate."

Perry points out that Bates was in error in writing about the responsibilities of county commissioners. A little research, Perry suggests, would have shown Bates that his statement "was very wrong about the county commissioner's job responsibilities being being limited to unincorporated areas."

Perry has more bones to pick with Bates, including comments that Perry says are based on "wild generalizations and assertions not based on facts."

But the news isn't all bad for Bates. Perry admits that he's a "smart man." Bates also has the good fortune to write for Urban Tulsa, which, to its great credit, was open and honest enough to give Perry a chance to challenge its most prominent writer.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Romney's Stories Don't Pass the Truth Test

Our nomination for the Political Headline of the Day as found on The Huffington Post website:
The Man Who Can't Get His Lies Straight
The man is Mitt Romney and the lies concern two stories he has told about his and his father's engagement in the civil rights movement. In a speech earlier this month, Romney said he "saw" his father, Michigan Gov. George Romney, march with Martin Luther King, Jr., the famed civil rights leader.

But fact-checkers have challenged this claim and now Romney has admitted that he used the word "saw" only a figurative sense. (That's exactly what we thought! We always use "saw" figuratively, never literally. Who would?) 

To make matters worse
for Mitt, the Boston Globe is reporting that in a 1978 interview with the paper, Mitt claimed that he and his father had marched with King. A Romney spokesman has acknowledged that this statement was also untrue.

The civil rights issue is a tricky one for Romney, member of a prominent Mormon family, because the LDS church did not allow blacks to serve in church leadership until 1978.

Hosseini's Afghan Story Comes to Tulsa

The Kite Runner, a new movie based on Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel, opens today in T-town.

We we able to see a sneak preview the other night and we recommend the movie. No, it's not exactly the novel, which we read some months ago. To us, the story seemed rushed and underdeveloped in places.

Still, it's an emotionally rich story about the loss of innocence and guilt set against the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the country's takeover by the fundamentalist Taliban.

The film's Afghan actors are exotic and wonderful. We also appreciated the movie's depiction of Afghan life in California, where the refugees settle as their native land is taken over by extremists.

The Kite Runner is playing at Southroads 20 in Tulsa.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

As Huckabee's Opponents Attack, He Whines Woe-Is-Me

Former Arkanas governor and Baptist minister Mike Huckabee has seen his political fortunes rise in recent days, so much so that his rivals, including Mitt Romney, have gone on the attack.

For his part, Huckabee has counterattacked. But his efforts have included some whining that has not gone unnoticed.

Here's part of a report we found on the web today:

Under fire, Mike Huckabee countered mounting criticism from GOP presidential rivals Thursday by playing the woe-is-me card — and then hitting back by suggesting they lack substantial agendas of their own.

"Everything but the kitchen sink is being thrown at me," the Republican leader in Iowa polls complained at nearly every stop. "If the only thing some of these candidates have to run on is what's wrong with somebody else, they must not have much of a platform to talk about.

Eating Christmas Crow: KFAQ Retracts DelGiorno's Comments

Tulsa radio's former morning blabber, Michael DelGiorno, moved his right-wing act to Nashville several months ago, but he's still making headlines in Tulsa.

The Tulsa World reports today that DelGiorno's former employer, KFAQ, has retracted some statements DelGiorno made about City Councilor Bill Christiansen.

The retraction comes as part of a settlement of the 2005 defamation lawsuit brought by Christiansen against DelGiorno and KFAQ's owner, the Journal Broadcast Group. The settlement requires that the station "must air a retraction for 10 business days acknowledging that untruths were made repeatedly and offering an apology to Christiansen," the paper reported.

The settlement ends Christiansen's lawsuit, which had been slated for trail on Jan. 7.

The settlement also reflects poorly on DelGiorno and his daily rants on KFAQ. Steve Peters, Christiansen's lawyer, told the World he thought "KFAQ recognized that maybe the initial story they got from Mr. DelGiorno was not true."

Christiansen was more direct: "I think the retraction is clear that [DelGiorno] did, in fact, lie about me, over and over again."

Happy Holidays, Michael. You might enjoy some festive eggnog with your Christmas crow.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Is Tancredo Dropping Out? Reports Indicate Colorado Congressman Will Quit the GOP Race

Today's Republican primary news: Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado may be dropping out of the race for his party's presidential nomination.

USA Today, among others, is reporting that Tancredo will "make a major announcement regarding the campaign tomorrow [Thursday] at 3 p.m. ET in Des Moines." According to the Associated Press, Tancredo may drop his presidential bid and run for the Senate in Colorado.

The AP also reports that Tancredo "has consistently polled at the back of the seven-person GOP field. He has based his campaign on opposition to illegal immigration, running television ads that link lax border security to terrorist attacks, rape and other crimes."

Again, quoting the AP: "Tancredo announced in October he wouldn't seek a sixth term in Congress but hinted he would consider running for the Senate after his presidential bid. Colorado will have an open Senate seat next year when Republican Wayne Allard retires."

Our take: Good riddance, Tom. Bashing illegal immigrants plays well in certain quarters (Oklahoma being a prime example) but the issue was never as simple as Tancredo and his allies pretended, a point that President Bush, Sen. John McCain and others have made.

In any case, Tancredo had a proverbial snowball's chance of winning the nomination, polling at a whopping 1 percent in recent polls.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Books of the Year: St. Louis Critics Pick Their 2007 Favorites

It's mid-December, the natural time to look back at some of the year's best books. That's what the book editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch did recently, asking the paper's reviewers to nominate some of their 2007 favorites.

We were pleased to see a few of our favorites in the Post-Dispatch as well. For example, we blogged earlier this year about Arnold Rampersad's Ralph Ellison, the biography of the Oklahoma native who became famous for his one great novel, Invisible Man.

The paper also liked another biography, Robert Morgan's Boone. Morgan, a North Carolina native who teaches at Cornell, is better known as a poet and novelist than as a historical biographer. But the Post-Dispatch likes Morgan's take on the famous woodsman.

Another book singled out by the critics was Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, Barbara Kingsolver and her family's account growing their own food and eating "off the industrial food grid," as the paper put it. Kingsolver and her family conducted this experiment on their farm in southwestern Virginia. The paper described the narrative as "equal parts folk wisdom and political activism."

Finally, we'd like to plug a book we would like to read based on the reputation of the author. The book, a novel, is Tree of Smoke, and the author is Denis Johnson. The book is a Vietnam era story that has impressed a lot of critics, including those who awarded it the National Book Award.

On these long December nights, we plan to spend some time with one or more of these good books.

Rudy's Retreat: The Numbers Decline for 'America's Mayor'

Rudy Giuliani's poll numbers have been tanking in New Hampshire, bad news for the former New York City mayor. Press reports say that Rudy's team is writing off the Granite State, saving their organizing efforts and money for the Florida primary.

The Crooks & Liars blog summed up Rudy's problem in one line:
The more people see of Giuliani, the less they like him

After the Ice: AltTulsa Returns to Politics

Now that we have survived the Great Tulsa Ice Storm of 2007, we at AltTulsa are anxious to return to some more pleasant blogging posts—politics, film, and books.

We missed a lot of news last week. We missed, for example, a report on the sagging sales of Ann Coulter's latest screed, another in her continuing series of books we call "blame-the-liberals-and-Democrats-

Unfortunately for Ann, she may have plowed that field once too often. Her book made the bestseller lists for a time and then, well, then it fell off the lists. Even her most devoted readers can honestly say, "Been there, done that."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Some in Midtown Tulsa Still Powerless

A full week after a major ice storm hit Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma, some midtown Tulsans are still dark.

It's not for lack of trying. PSO and many hundreds of out-of-state workers are still on the job, but the job remains a big one.

The sun returned Sunday and remains out today, which helps our morale. Then again, our power returned Saturday. Now, thank goodness, we can relax at home, warm and cozy. "Normal" never felt so good.

We feel for our many friends and neighbors still suffering because of the ice. With PSO's continued work and a little luck, maybe tonight will be the last night of darkness in midtown.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ice Storm Plus 6: Power for AT, but Other Tulsans Still Dark and Cold

Ladies and gentlemen, we have power. Finally. 

Six days after a major ice storm caused massive power outages across Tulsa and much of the state, the power is back in many parts of midtown Tulsa. 

Unfortunately, that's not the case for some of our neighbors and midtown businesses. As of late Saturday morning, we saw plenty of buildings still dark. And now it's snowing!

Here's hoping the snow is minimal and that PSO keeps working quickly to bring every home and business in Tulsa back to life and light soon. Very soon. 

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ice Storm Plus 5: Work Continues, But Thousands in Tulsa Still Cold & Dark

Midtown Tulsa Update: Tree trimmers and electrical workers are in evidence all over midtown Tulsa, but the lights are still off for many thousands in T-town. 

The Tulsa World is reporting that the number of powerless homes is dropping rapidly, which is obviously good news. But based on appearances in the Cherry Street and Brookside neighborhoods, there's a long way to go.

We were lucky enough bunk at a neighbor's house last night. No electricity, but an efficient gas log fireplace kept us relatively toasty after three nights of no heat at our place. When we checked the temperature back at the house this morning, it was a brisk 45 degrees inside

We like to think of ourselves as extremely patient folks, but even we have our limits. Soon, we hope, we can sit at home, sipping a buttery Napa Valley chardonnay, curled up with a travel book about, let's say, Hawaii. 

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ice Storm Plus 4: Still Dark in Midtown Tulsa

As we noted in a burst of optimism yesterday, progress is being made in midtown Tulsa, four days after the worst ice storm in Oklahoma history. 

But as of 6 p.m. Thursday, there's still no electricity in our Brookside neighborhood despite the best efforts of PSO and armies of tree cutters.  

The good news: The work continues. The bad news: There's much more to be done.

Since we can't do much about any of this, we'll borrow a page from fellow Tulsa blogger Michael Bates and link readers to the PSO website, which does offer some hope for warmth and light in the not-too-distant future. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ice Storm Update: Work Crews On the Job, Thank Goodness (and PSO)

After two more days of cold gray skies, streets crowded with broken branches and downed power lines, and still no electric power, we are pleased to report out-of-state work crews in Brookside and midtown Tulsa. 

The workers we met were from Louisiana and Texas. Thanks for helping, ladies and gentlemen! 

No, the power's not on yet, but there are definite signs of progress. Shades of Brown and some other businesses on Peoria were lit up tonight. Ditto Cherry Street, where at least a few businesses were open and busy. 

Next, we're ready for good ole normalcy! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hinn & Dollar Gone! Board Shakeout at ORU

Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn, controversial televangelists who recently ignored a Senate investigation of their finances, have lost their seats on the ORU board of regents, the Tulsa World is reporting today.

Dollar has resigned his position, the paper reports, and Hinn has been named a "regent emeritus," which means he will surrender his right to vote. 

ORU has been rocked in recent months by a lawsuit alleging financial misconduct on the part of former school president Richard Roberts and his family. Roberts recently resigned as the school's leader. 

Complete coverage of the ORU story can be found at the Tulsa World's website here

Tulsa Storm News We Already Knew

Here's the headline we found this morning on 

It's official: Oklahoma ice storm is a disaster 

The Great Ice Storm Stops AltTulsa (Temporarily)

Since our electric meter is sitting in our backyard under a pile of limbs and splinters, AT is mostly off duty for now. The Great Ice Storm of '07 has done its damage. Please check back for more of AltTulsa in a few days.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

God 'Hearts' Huckabee: Or So Huck Says

Mike Huckabee is beating the political odds—running at the front of the Republican pack in Iowa and looking more and more like a GOP winner.

The former Arkansas governor and Baptist pastor is also attracting some unwanted scrutiny of his beliefs, some of it self-inflicted.

A few days ago, for example, Huckabee came awfully close to calling himself "God's Chosen Candidate." That's a handy conceit for any politician, but we submit that Huck is just the latest in a long line of ego-driven political leaders who think that God is on their side. (Exhibit A: Former GOP candidate and TV preacher Pat Robertson.)

News flash: This is terrible theology and very bad politics.

But readers can make up their own minds. Here's the transcript from a recent talk to students in Lynchburg, Va., home of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.

STUDENT: Recent polls show you surging… What do you attribute this surge to?

HUCKABEE: There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one. It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people. (Applause) That’s the only way that our campaign can be doing what it’s doing. And I’m not being facetious nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much, and it has. And it defies all explanation, it has confounded the pundits. And I’m enjoying every minute of them trying to figure it out, and until they look at it, from a, just experience beyond human, they’ll never figure it out. And it’s probably just as well. That’s honestly why it’s happening.

Come to think of it, using God to bolster your own political fortunes helps explain why the wingnut websites keep referring to the ACLU, liberals and especially Democrats like Hillary Clinton as "Satan." Hillary's a woman, after all, responsible for taking an unholy bite out of the apple in the Garden, and—here we go!—the decline and fall of humankind.

But how will Huck explain God's grand plan for him should he happen to lose in Iowa or in some other early state? And what happens if it's God's apparent will that Hillary or Barack Obama or John Edwards or any other Godless Democrat gets elected?

We suggest that Huck and his holier-than-thou supporters back off the "God-speaks-directly-to-me-but-not-to-you" pronouncements. We doubt that his pipeline to the Divine is better than any other mortal man's (or woman's).

Friday, December 7, 2007

Rudy's 'Sex in the City' Revelations Drive Down His National Poll Numbers

News sites and political blog postings this week are showing major drops in support for former New York City mayor and Sept. 11 hero Rudy Giuliani.

Talking Points Memo today summed up Rudy's troubles in one sentence: "Rudy Giuliani's poll numbers are slipping nationally and in the key primary states."

We have no crystal ball on such matters, but we are probably safe in saying that Rudy's support in the Sooner state is small—and getting smaller as more revelations dribble out about his clandestine meetings with his former mistress (now his wife) and the ties between these meetings and NYC financial irregularities.

Military Loses Faith in Bush

New polling data out this week show that President George Bush is losing support among the military and veterans.  

A Bloomberg/LA Times poll showed that 37 percent of military-family members "approve of the job Bush is doing as president." 

The numbers also show that just 36 percent of active-duty military, veterans, and military families believe "it was worth going to war in Iraq."

Circle Cinema Hosts Slavery Investigation

Our friends at Tulsa's Circle Cinema are presenting a documentary investigating illegal slavery in the modern world and the price is right—it's free.

The film will be shown Sunday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m. A reception will precede the screening at 6 p.m. 

Slavery: A Global Investigation is being sponsored by the local chapter of Amnesty International. The group will be taking donations Sunday night, with 100 percent of the funds going to organizations that aid victims of illegal slavery. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Oops! New Iran Intelligence Report Undermines the Bush-Cheney Rhetoric

George Bush, an old baseball hand, swings and misses—again. 

For several months now, Bush, Cheney and Company have been verbally assaulting Iran and its nuclear ambitions. Most famously, Bush invoked the spectre of World War III as he tried to increase the pressure on the very bellicose Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 

Now, thanks to a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), we find evidence that "undercuts much of the foundation for that approach," to quote a New York Times analysis today.

In a word, "Oops!" 

As Times analyst Steven Lee Myers notes on page one, the new report "certainly weaken[s] international support for tougher sanctions against Iran." 

Not surprisingly, it also puts the administration on the hot seat again, forcing officials "to untangle the confusion caused by its own statements and findings…," Myers wrote. 

Given the Bush-Cheney track record in international affairs, it's time for these guys rethink the errors of their (continuing) ways. Three strikes and you're out, Mr. Bush.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rest in Peace: Observer Publisher Helen Troy

We were saddened this week to learn of the death of Helen Troy, wife of Frosty Troy of Oklahoma Observer fame.

We never met Helen, but we heard Frosty speak of her many times and always appreciated his obvious affection for his bride.

Our sympathies to Frosty and Helen's family and many, many friends. And many thanks too for her work at the state's long-running and most interesting alternative voice, the Oklahoma Observer.

For more on Helen's legacy, see "dochoc's" tribute at OkieFunk

New Poll Shows Huckabee's Rise in Iowa: Has the Right Found Its Man?

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is shaking up the Republican establishment. A new poll by the Des Moines Register shows Huckabee—thought to be a long shot at best—leading the Iowa field at 29 percent, ahead of Romney at 24 percent and Giulaini at 13 percent.

Poor Hollywood Fred Thompson, supported by some prominent Oklahoma Republicans, remains the political season's biggest disappointment, coming in at only 9 percent.

For Huckabee, the downside of his rise in the polls is the new and mostly unwelcome attention being paid to his record in Arkansas.

From the reports we're reading, some folks in Little Rock have their knives out for the good Rev. Mike.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

National Review Predicting GOP Disaster

Reading one of our favorite blogs today, we discovered this very interesting headline:
The National Review thinks the GOP is screwed for a long long time

Truth, Lies & the Demise of Karl Rove

For those of you keeping score, the sorted legacy of Karl Rove and his lies continues to grow. This week, for instance, Rove alleged that the Democrats were the ones who rushed the nation into an unpopular and ill-advised war.

It was a lie so bold that even Rove's friends have contradicted the man. Here's a quick summary from our friends over at Talking Points Memo:

Since then, there's been one thing everyone, on both sides of the aisle, can agree on: Rove is lying. Then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Rove either has "a very faulty memory, or he's not telling the truth," a sentiment echoed by then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt's office.
Rove's former colleagues are just as blunt. Former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card not only said Rove is wrong, but added, [S]ometimes his mouth gets ahead of his brain." Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer concluded, "I think Karl in this instance just has his facts wrong."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Teddy Bear's Name Provokes a Crisis

The AltTulsa team believes that some people take religion a wee bit too seriously.

No, we're not talking about the Religious Right in the U.S.

We're talking about the oh-so-sensitive and zealous Sudanese who are calling for the execution of a British teacher who allowed her students to name a class teddy bear Muhammad.

This "crime" has led to the teacher's conviction and a 15-day jail sentence. A Sudanese government spokesman told the New York Times that the teacher's sentence was "very light."

He's not kidding. CNN is reporting today that Sudanese protesters want the teacher, Gillian Gibbons, executed. The Times reports that British diplomats are "furious." They have called the incident "an innocent mistake."

Perhaps these very devout people ought to consider the consequences of their values, beliefs that can elevate a minor slight into an international incident and put religious dogma ahead of actual human life.

Coming Soon: Ch. 6 to Air Historic Tulsa Films

Tulsa producer Jack Frank will broadcast the latest edition of his "Fantastic Tulsa Films" next week on KOTV Channel 6. The show will air on Monday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.

As many Tulsans may recall, Frank has produced a series of programs featuring rare and historic Tulsa film footage. We haven't seen the new show, but if it's anything like his earlier efforts, it will be well worth watching.

Here's how Frank describes the new program:
This show includes clips of Bell's Amusement Park in the 1950s, rare footage of 1920s OSU football games, the Mr. Zing & Tuffy Show, Dance Party on KOTV, Thomas Gilcrease home movies, Tulsa’s parades from long ago, and much more.

For more about Frank, his new program and his other films, check out his website,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

ORU's Roberts Tells the AP that God Forced His Resignation

The Associated Press is reporting today that Richard Roberts, who resigned last week as president of Oral Roberts University, did so "because God insisted."

The AP report continues:
God told him on Thanksgiving that he should resign the next day, Roberts told students in the university's chapel.

Hobby Lobby U: Craft Retailer Bails Out ORU

Mart Green, the man behind the craft retail chain Hobby Lobby, has offered $70 million to Tulsa's financially strapped Oral Roberts University if the school will reform its financial structure.

News of the gift was announced Tuesday following a two-day meeting of the school's board of regents. The offer came after the board accepted Richard Roberts' resignation as the school president. In a lawsuit filed earlier this fall, Roberts and his family were accused of lavish spending on personal items.

According to today's Tulsa World, "The Roberts family will no longer have a say in the school's business operations."

The newspaper also reported that Green has had no previous connection with ORU, but referred to the school as "God's College." Ok, but we always through the label belonged to a certain school in South Bend, Indiana.

Tulsa Cartoonist Hits the Mark: 'Bush Lied'

The Tulsa World's new editorial cartoonist, Bruce Plante, knocked one out of the park this week with his depiction of the "Dubya Lied Warehouse."

In a cartoon published in Sunday's edition, Plante drew a warehouse filled with library shelves and a deliveryman announcing "another book confirming Bush lied."

The librarian's response: "Goes in 'The Public Couldn't Care Less Dept.' section W. Aisle 167, Row 86."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Recommended Writers: Harwelden Hosts Book Fair for Oklahoma Authors

AltTulsa is fond of Oklahoma's literary lions, so we're pleased to pass along this press release about Oklahoma Ink, a book fair scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 29, at the Harwelden mansion on Main Street south of downtown Tulsa. The event runs from 6-8 p.m.
TULSA—Nearly 20 Oklahoma authors will again gather at historic Harwelden mansion just after Thanksgiving to give the public an opportunity to buy signed books as gifts for the holidays—and to help raise funds for the Tulsa Press Club Scholarship Fund.

The event features a diverse array of Oklahoma authors (novelists, journalists, historians, children’s book writers and illustrators, among others) for a free public appearance and signing.

This year’s authors are Carl R. Bartholomew, Plane Phenomenon; Bart Borsky, Passing Gas and Getting Paid For It: The Musings of a Comic Anesthesiologist; P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast, Betrayed: A House of Night Novel; Connie Cronley, Mr. Ambassador: Warrior for Peace; David Dary, True Tails of the Prairies and Plains; David Halpern, Pilgrim Eye and Tulsa Art Deco; Carolyn Hart, Set Sail for Murder; Davis D. Joyce, Alternative Oklahoma: Contrarian Views of the Sooner State; Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa’s Daily World: The Story of a Newspaper and its Town; Constance Murray (wife of the late Danny Goble), Tulsa! The Biography of an American City; Mel Odom, Exodus; Jim Stovall, The Ultimate Life; Will Thomas, The Hellfire Conspiracy; Michael Wallis, Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride; Laurence Yadon, 100 Oklahoma Outlaws, Gangsters and Lawmen.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Huckabee Takes a Hit: Columnist Calls Arkansan 'A False Conservative'

Veteran conservative columnist Robert Novak has blasted former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee as a "false conservative."

According to The Huffington Post, Novak wrote that "serious Republicans know that [Huckabee] is a high-tax, protectionist advocate of big government and a strong hand in the Oval Office directing the lives of Americans."

When Huckabee was a second-tier candidate, Novak continued, he was mostly a "nuisance candidate." Now that he's surging in the polls, the columnist wrote, "the beleaguered Republican Party has a frightening problem."

We can't speculate about the source of Novak's animus, but we see this outburst as more evidence of confusion on the Republican right, which can't decide who is conservative enough to carry the banner of Ronald Reagan.

The way it's going, no one—not Mitt Romney, not Fred Thompson, and certainly not the liberal former mayor of New York—can fill Reagan's conservative shoes.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blogging Baptist Pastor Censured by Southern Baptist Convention

Wade Burleson, a Baptist minister and blogger from Enid, has been censured by the Southern Baptist Convention for his public disagreement with the congregational leadership.

According to a story in the Nov. 21 issue of the Oklahoma Gazette, Burleson was censured by the trustees of the congregation's International Mission Board because he has continued to criticize some of the trustees' actions.

Although a compromise was negotiated
between Burleson and a three-member team from the IMB's executive committee, the deal fell apart when Burleson refused to apologize for his public dissent.

For now, Burleson told the Gazette, he intends to continue attending meetings of the IMB, even though he will have to pay his own way. He also intends to continue blogging.

'No Country' Wins Praise in OKC Gazette

We are on record (see AT's last post) as fans of the new Coen brothers film, No Country for Old Men, now playing in Tulsa. Today we noticed that Oklahoma City's weekly newspaper, the Oklahoma Gazette, has praised the film as well.

Gazette reviewer Phil Bacharach writes that the film is a "brutal, harrowing and ultimately mesmerizing tale of Texas-sized murder and greed." The Gazette headline even refers to the movie as "masterpiece."

Perhaps it is, though we're sure that not everyone will enjoy this story, which doesn't try too hard to tie up its loose ends.

Bacharach also praises the acting of Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Josh Brolin, who "evokes the spirit of a young Nick Nolte."

Serious film students ought to check out No Country for Old Men.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Coen Brothers Put McCarthy's Bleak Border Vision on the Silver Screen

Regular readers of AltTulsa will recall our interest in the Tennessee/Texas novelist Cormac McCarthy, best known for his Border Trilogy, novels that explore the rugged and violent life along the Texas-Mexico border.

Now the Coen brothers, filmakers Ethan and Joel, have put a McCarthy novel on the big screen with considerable effect. No Country for Old Men, now playing at the Southroads 20 in midtown Tulsa, has collected dozens of positive notices from the critics, some of whom are calling it a "masterpiece."

We are reluctant to use that particular superlative, but we did find the film a taut and coldly effective work. It's not a sunny vision, but it is an unflinching one, and, significantly, one that explores the way some men decide to live—and die.

The dusty landscape of McCarthy's West Texas (actually New Mexico) is haunting and bleak. Native Texas Tommy Lee Jones is agreeably world-weary as a county sheriff and Javier Bardem is as calculating and evil as any movie killer in memory.

McCarthy's 2005 novel, as we recall, was poorly received, failing to meet the critics' expectations in the wake of the acclaimed Border Trilogy novels. But the Coen brothers have a knack for cold hearts and casual violence (their first film was the noir thriller Blood Simple) and in their hands No County for Old Men proves to be a chilling mediation on the human condition.

If that sounds a bit too grandiose, we can explain. We've read and admired a number of McCarthy novels, though we admit he's not always an easy or pleasant read. We've even met the man, which is something of a coup since McCarthy is famously reclusive. As it happens, we also had occasion to meet the Coen boys once at a screening of Blood Simple.

So we know McCarthy's literary pedigree
well and the borderlands too, having traveled the wilds of West Texas for ourselves on occasion.

All of which leads us to this conclusion: No Country of Old Men is a terribly potent film that kept us twitchy in our seats for its entire length. Fans of Hollywood's lighter fare won't find much entertaining here, but noir film buffs and serious cinema students are likely to find a great deal to celebrate in the latest from the Coens.

Bush Ally Loses Power In Australia

International news story of the day: Another foreign leader foolish enough to support the Iraq invasion bites the dust.

First it was the UK's Tony Blair, who should have known better, and today it's John Howard, completely out of step with the voters Down Under.

The Huffington Post calls the latest reversal of fortunes the "coalition of the no longer willing." Here's the lead paragraph from today's New York Times:
Prime Minister John Howard, one of President Bush’s staunchest allies in Asia, suffered a resounding loss after 11 years in power.

Friday, November 23, 2007

News Flash: ORU's Richard Roberts Resigns

ORU President Richard Roberts has resigned, according to press reports. The resignation comes after damaging charges against Roberts made in a lawsuit filed by three former professors as well as a recent "no confidence" by the tenured faculty.

We haven't a clue about what this means for the school, but it may help stabilize an institution that's had a lot of bad news lately.

The Tulsa World has more—much more—about ORU's recent troubles on its website here.

'Imperial Life' Wins National Acclaim

AltTulsa's last post gave an overview of Rajiv Chandrasekaran's 2006 book Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a detailed and persuasive critique of the U.S. occupation of Iraq in 2003-04.

We aren't the only ones who think highly of this book. Imperial Life was a finalist for the National Book Award earlier this year. This week we learned that the book was named a nonfiction "Notable Book" by the New York Times Book Review.

As we noted in our last entry, the book reveals the folly of the neocon project to create a Jeffersonian democracy in the Middle East. The President and his advisers were extraordinarily ill-equipped to take on this task.

We agree with the blurb on the back jacket of our copy: "Every American who wants to understand how and why things went so badly wrong in Iraq should read his book," author Steve Coll wrote.

Interested readers can find out more at the author's website,

Republicans Abroad: Misguided Ideology and Foolishness in Baghdad's Green Zone

What happens when a group of bright, eager but naive neocons and their disciples try to reorganize a nation they know little about?

Not surprisingly, what happens is a disaster.

Such is the tale told in Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City, a compelling report on Paul Bremer and the other Americans—most of them loyal Republicans—who tried to remake Iraq from the safety of the Baghdad's Green Zone.

Chandrasekaran, former Washington Post bureau chief in Baghdad, provides story after ridiculous story of official misunderstanding and bureaucratic incompetence by Bremer, the American viceroy in Iraq, and scores of other well-intentioned but misguided political actors.

A couple of examples illustrate the point:

--Bernard Kerik, former NYC police chief and hero of 9/11, was absolutely the wrong man to place in charge of training Iraqi police. His short tenure in Baghdad was marked by considerable posing and grandstanding.

--A 24-year-old with no financial experience who is put in charge of rebuilding Baghdad's stock exchange. His plans are grandiose—computerized data, financial transparency, etc.—but entirely unrealistic.

Imperial Life in the Emerald City is a first-hand chronicle of the many ways nation-building can and does go wrong, aided by the arrogance of the Bush neocons: Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, and, not least, Paul Bremer.

Chandrasekaran's book deconstructs the Bush Administration's misadventure in Iraq and offers a potent warning to future idealists about the hazards of democracy-building. Read it and weep.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

ORU Faculty Votes 'No' on Richard Roberts

Thanksgiving week started out badly for ORU's leader Richard Roberts.

More than 80 percent of the tenured ORU faculty do not want Roberts to stay on as the school president, according to press reports.

The AP and the Tulsa World report today that a faculty survey Monday showed an overwhelming "no" vote on Roberts' continued leadership of the south Tulsa institution. The survey follows a faculty "no confidence" vote on Roberts last week.

ORU's recent troubles stem from a lawsuit filed earlier this fall by three former professors that alleges financial misconduct by Roberts and his family.

Stay tuned, folks. This story show every sign of continuing for some time to come.

Huckabee Celebrity Endorsement Update: Pro Wrestler Will Back Former Arkansas Governor

Move over, Chuck Norris. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has another celebrity endorsement, this one from pro wrestler Ric Flair, also known as The Nature Boy.

But wait, there's more: red-meat hunter and rock star Ted Nugent is also throwing his support to Huckabee, "citing the Republican's support for second amendment rights," CNN reports.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Huckabee TV Ad Features (We Are Not Making This Up) Chuck 'Walker, Texas Ranger' Norris

From the "Life Imitates Television" file, we can now report that former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has lost his political mojo—assuming he had any before he decided to run for president.

We make this claim on the basis of an incredibly silly ad the Huckabee campaign has produced featuring native Oklahoman, martial arts fighter and wannabe Texas Ranger Chuck (Walker) Norris.

Hey, we love Norris/Walker as much as the next working stiff, but we disagree entirely when Gov. Huckabee says that he has a two-word solution to illegal immigration: "Chuck Norris."

As we noted above, we are not making this up!

Huckabee actually reduces a complicated and intractable dilemma into a problem that can be solved—presto!—by the Hollywood magic of Walker, Texas Ranger. Underneath the Norris beard, Huckabee continues, there's no chin—there's another fist!

What are we supposed to make of this blend of fantasy problem-solving and macho Hollywood conservatism?

We confess: we're stumped.

But if this is Huckabee's idea of impressing right-wing voters, he's even more of a long-shot than we supposed.

Thompson's Campaign Train Grinding to a Crawl

Our favorite political headline of the day, courtesy of Congressional Quarterly:
Some House Backers of Thompson Are Starting to Lose the Faith
The CQ story explains that Thompson's presidential campaign has been so lackluster that even his House allies are asking hard questions about viability of the candidate. Here's the money quote from CQ:
"I think he’s kind of done a belly flop,” said an estranged Thompson backer who indicated he will not pull his public support before the “Super Tuesday” primaries. “We’ll just wait till after Feb. 5 because I think he’s going to get beat.”
No word yet on the flailing Thompson from Tulsa Rep. John Sullivan, another House member who is supporting the former Tennessee senator.

New OU Press Book Highlights the Red Scare

Since it's our birthday (see previous post), we decided to celebrate by highlighting a favorite AT topic: books.

One volume that caught our attention recently comes from the University of Oklahoma Press, just down the Turner Turnpike from T-town. Books on Trial: Red Scare in the Heartland, a new book from OU, looks fascinating—and more than a little scary. According to a blurb we saw, authors Shirley A. Wiegand and Wayne A. Wiegand chronicle the "sobering story of innocent people swept up in the hysteria of their times."

Books on Trial comes in at 280 pages and will run you $24.95, though we noticed a discount on the OU Press website. For more information, check out the site at

We're going to put Books on Trial on our reading list.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Happy Birthday to Us; AT Turns 1 This Week

That's right, dear readers, AltTulsa is one year old as of tomorrow.

Maybe we'll celebrate Monday with an Americano from our favorite Tulsa coffee shop, Shades of Brown in Tulsa's Brookside neighborhood.

During our 12 months of blogging, we have reported on and critiqued a host of local, state and national issues. We've plugged a few of our favorite magazines, books and authors, as well as some alternative movies and documentaries, mostly films playing at Tulsa's amazingly interesting Circle Cinema.

We even managed to attract a few readers along the way.

We're also pleased to report that we even got a nomination as "Best Political Blog" in the Okie Blog Awards, which was a terrific bit of confirmation for our "alternative" mission in the Sooner state.

But perhaps we're most pleased that we kept up a steady stream of posts during the past year, nearly 500 posts in the 364 days since we started. Yes, many of them were short, but we think brevity is a virtue in blogging. It helps us focus.

Besides, we do have an actual life beyond the blogosphere—contrary to all those stereotypes about lonely, pencil-necked geeks blogging all night from some dingy basement apartment. (For the record, our apartment is on the second floor.)

In any case, thanks for reading. And keep those comments and criticisms coming—it keeps the site lively.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Delusions of KRMG's Michael Savage, Part 112

One of our favorite conservative blabbers is reliably hyperbolic Michael Savage, heard locally on Tulsa's KRMG AM 740. Savage is a textbook example of the old notion that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," which means he's wildly mistaken or misinformed on a huge range of political and policy issues.

On the plus side, Savage is often hilarious, though most of his humor is unintentional.

Yet even in the overheated world of conservative talk, Savage can sometimes blunder into completely uncharted territory. This week, for example, he fired two empty barrels at Media Matters, a website that has the inconvenient habit of pointing out Savage's reign of misinformation.

Here's how Media Matters summed up its latest run-in with Savage:
On the November 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage referred to Media Matters for America as a "fascist front group." As Media Matters has documented, on the September 26 edition of his radio show, while discussing Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's controversial comments on his own radio show about his visit to Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem, Savage called Media Matters for America a "gay, fascist website." Savage has also labeled the organization a "hate group," a "group of gay Mafioso," "the homosexual Mafia," and "a gay smear sheet." On the January 30 broadcast of his show, Savage called Media Matters a "little website" and claimed, "I'm not even going to read its name anymore."

On his November 14 show, Savage later added: "Media Matters was created by Hillary Clinton, and they're after Michael Savage. They're after Bill O'Reilly. They're after anybody that doesn't toe the Hillary, left-wing party line." As it has repeatedly noted, Media Matters is a progressive nonprofit organization and is not affiliated with any candidate or political party.

Let's review, shall we? Media Matters, Savage says, is (1) "fascist," (2) "gay," a (3) "hate group," part of the (4) "gay Mafioso," and part of the (5) "homosexual Mafia." Even worse (by Savage's lights), it was (6) "created by Hillary Clinton."

That's an amazingly bizarre bit of name-calling, though it's remarkably free of evidence. But as the cynical old cigar-chomping reporters used to say: Never let the facts stand in the way of a good story.

Justice Update: Supporters Establish Gonzales Legal Defense Fund

This has been a bad week for Bush loyalist Alberto Gonzales.

Gonzales, a Texas crony and former White House counsel who was appointed Attorney General by the president, used his time at Justice to politicize the DOJ, forcing out independent-minded prosecutors and putting in Republican partisans more interested in right-wing politics than minor matters such as, say, equality under the law.

This week, some of the Gonzales mismanagement came back to bite him in the ass. Here's a one-paragraph summary of the former AG's troubles:
Friends and supporters have established a legal defense fund for former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales, who is still facing “an ongoing Justice Department investigation into whether” he “committed perjury or improperly tampered with a congressional witness.”

Good work, Alberto. The Justice Department, the very agency that you recently ran, is now investigating you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

This Can't Be Good: ORU Faculty Votes 'No Confidence' in President Richard Roberts

AltTulsa has no inside information on the goings-on at Oral Roberts University, but this page-one headline in today's Tulsa World appears to be another blow to the leadership of Richard Roberts:
ORU faculty gives vote of no confidence
The story explains that the tenured faculty at ORU is not expressing an opinion about the lawsuit against the school filed recently by three former profeessors. It also explains that the faculty expressed confidence in the school's provost, Mark Lewandowski.

Monday, November 12, 2007

ORU Regent's Atlanta Church Rakes in Millions

Atlanta minister Creflo Dollar, a regent at Tulsa's financially troubled Oral Roberts University, reported that his church took in $69 million in 2006, according to press reports.

Dollar is one of several televangelists being investigated by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, which is looking into allegations of opulent lifestyles and excessive compensation by the ministries. Besides Dollar, the Senate is targeting two other ORU regents, Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland.

Dollar told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he pays his own expenses using personal investments in business and real estate. His ministry did give him a Rolls Royce, which he uses for special occasions. "Without a doubt, my life is not average," Dollar told the newspaper. "But I'd like to say, just because it is excessive doesn't necessarily mean it's wrong."

Dollar preaches the so-called prosperity gospel, telling followers that God will reward the faithful with material riches.

We know nothing of Dollar's parishioners, but the philosophy seems to be working well for Dollar himself. Besides, there's always the example of Jesus himself, who spent his days hustling the Israelites for every shekel he could squeeze from his flock.

Oh wait, we're confused. The hustler we're thinking of is Jim Bakker, the former televangelist who once hustled Americans on behalf of Hertiage USA, his Christian theme park near Charlotte, North Carolina.

If we recall correctly, Jesus cared not a whit for worldly prosperity, preferring a humble life of service to humanity. But that Jesus apparently doesn't play well on television.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Price of Recklessness: Bush's $600 Billion War

On this Veteran's Day, let's honor veterans young and old who have served our nation—and continue serving today.

Let's also recall George Bush's foolish decision to invade Iraq, an elective war that has cost far too many American lives—nearly 4,000 killed and many thousands more wounded.

Let's also acknowledge the financial costs of Bush's stupidity, a price that all of us continue to pay:
If the Bush administration succeeds in its latest request for funding for the war in Iraq, the total cost would rise to $611.5 billion, according to the National Priorities Project, a nonprofit research group.

Friday, November 9, 2007

ORU's Bad Week: Problems Mount at Oral U

The news from South Lewis Avenue remains bleak. A page-one headline in Wednesday's Tulsa World gave unwanted publicity to three ORU regents.

The regents, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Creflo Dollar, have been targeted by Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, who is investigating financial misconduct at ministries associated with each regent.

According to the World, the investigation is focusing on luxuries and generous perks the ministries allowed the televangelists. The luxuries include expensive cars and private jets, the newspaper reported.

This unhappy report was followed by a page-one story in Thursday's World on a much-delayed student center that ORU has raised almost $9 million to build. The building, announced in 2001, remains on the drawing board, yet the site is vacant.

Meanwhile, some of the money raised for the project has been used for scholarships and operating expenses, the newspaper discovered.

As we noted in an earlier post, ORU has more than $50 million in debt, a obligation the school's board is trying to reduce.

We have no idea what all this bad news might mean, but ORU's troubles seems to be growing, not fading.

It's Official: The Torture Presidency Rolls On

President Bush has made it perfectly clear: "The United States does not torture," he has said.

But the President's words ring hollow in light of the Senate vote last night, a vote that confirmed Michael Mukasey as the nation's new attorney general.

As we noted yesterday, there are principled reasons to question Mukasey's fitness for office. After all, the man could not admit that waterboarding is a form of torture. He even pretended to be ignorant of the exact nature of waterboarding, a ruse that allowed him to sidestep additional questions about waterboarding.

The President and his Administration continue to thumb their nose at common decency as well as international standards of morality. Administration actions continue to tarnish the nation's proud tradition of civil liberties and individual dignity.

For America's sake, let's hope that the nation's new chief law enforcement officer, Michael Mukasey, has the guts to stand up to his boss and others in the government. If he does, he may save the nation yet more embarrassment on the world stage.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Columnist Hentoff Challenges Bush Attorney General Nominee Mukasey on Torture

Nat Hentoff takes a back seat to no one when it comes to speaking up for civil liberties. So it wasn't a big surprise when the veteran columnist has blasted attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey.

To its great credit, the Tulsa World ran Hentoff's piece as an op-ed this week, a column that nailed Mukasey for his waffling on the question of waterboarding. Mukasey, you may recall, feigned ignorance about the specifics of the practice and refused to call it torture.

Henhoff rejected Mukasey's evasions. He points out, for instance, that the former Judge Advocate General of the Navy John Hutson has no problem calling waterboarding torture. "Waterboarding was devised by in the Spanish Inquisition. Next to the rack and thumbscrews, it's the most iconic example of torture," Huston said.

Hentoff also reviews a host of recent prisoner abuses, all of which sound like a lot like torture and all of which contradict President Bush's statement that the U.S. does not engage in torture. The Senate, Henthoff continues, will be acting irresponsibly if it votes to confirm Mukesey after his statements before the Senate.

We agree. Oklahoma's top Republican lawmakers, Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, ought to rethink their usual rubber-stamp voting behavior. Otherwise, they too will be more deeply implicated in the Bush Administration's on-going but ill-advised and illegal torture policies.

It's high time that Oklahoma Republicans stand up
for the rule of law and for recognized standards of human rights.

To read Hentoff's column for yourself, click

Today's Most Improbable News from China

We don't like to think of ourselves as naive, but this headline struck us as completely far-fetched. Unfortunately, it's not.
Chinese toys found to contain date-rape drug

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's Rudy! Robertson Endorses Giuliani for President

Christian conservative and "700 Club" televangelist Pat Robertson today endorsed former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani for President.

No, we're not kidding.

Apparently Robertson has a more forgiving heart that we imagined. After all, he has to forgive Rudy's three marriages, messy divorces, and left-of-center positions on gay rights, gun control and abortion. That's a lot of forgiving of a lot of key issues, especially for a guy like Robertson.

But stay tuned: There's bound to be some fallout on the Christian Right about this endorsement.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bush's Disapproval Numbers Top Nixon's, Reach Record High

President George W. Bush has reached another milestone, albeit not one any political leader aspires to. Here's a news clip we found today that puts Bush's unpopularity into historical context:
For the first time in the history of the Gallup Poll, 50% say they "strongly disapprove" of the president. Richard Nixon had reached the previous high, 48%, just before an impeachment inquiry was launched in 1974.

Monday, November 5, 2007

U.S. Supporting a Dictator? Why Would Anyone Think Such a Thing?

A powerful posting today on Think Progress, noting the two foreign policy faces of President George Bush:
President Bush has so far said nothing publicly about Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s crackdown in Pakistan. As The New York Times notes, Bush’s “silence contrasts sharply to his reaction to the crackdown on dissidents in Myanmar last month. In that case, Mr. Bush announced specific steps against Myanmar rulers.”
For more from Think Progress, click here.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

UK Telegraph Ranks Influential U.S. Conservatives, Including Two Sooners

Sen. Tom Coburn turned up as No. 43 on a ranking of the 100 Most Influential U.S. Conservatives, a list released this week by a British newspaper, The Telegraph.

The list was topped by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a fact that might cause many conservatives to question the entire enterprise. Giuliani, after all, has been well to the left of the most Republicans for years, only recently revising his own history on such topics as gun control and abortion. On top of that, Giuliani's divorces and three marriages make him an unlikely "family values" candidate.

Other rankings may also have Republicans scratching their heads. Rush Limbaugh was ranked No. 5, just ahead of Vice President Dick Cheney. Christopher Hitchens, an atheist, came in at No. 27, several steps above a professed believer, none other than President George Bush. (Talk about a lame duck.)

And that other Sooner on the list? We expected Jim Inhofe to shine. After all, he's our senior senator and a well-known right-winger. But no, it's martial arts movie star and infomercial pitchman, Chuck Norris.

That's right, Sooner fans, Hollywood conservative and Christian activist Chuck Norris comes in at No. 72, well ahead of such right-wing flamethrowers as Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin.

No, it doesn't make sense to us either. More importantly, it's sad testimony to the waning power of Sen. Inhofe

Friday, November 2, 2007

Earth to Dick: Get Your Latin American Dictators in the Right Latin American Country

We know Dick Cheney has a loose grip on reality. And we know that everyone has an occasional mental meltdown.

Still, we were surprised that Cheney confused the nation led by persistent U.S critic Hugo Chavez. Chavez, as alert readers will recall, is the president of Venezuela. But here's Cheney's response when asked about Chavez earlier this week:
My own personal view is that he does not represent the future of Latin America. And the people of Peru [sic], I think, deserve better in their leadership. But that’s obviously a matter they’ve got to resolve for themselves.

Yet Another Reason To Resent Big Finance

We don't usually pay too much attention to the comings and goings of the high rollers in Big Finance.

But the removal this week of Stanley O'Neal as the CEO at investment bank Merrill Lynch was cause for some alarm. O'Neal, CEO since 2002, was forced out this week after the company lost $2 billion last quarter in the troubled mortgage market.

The rub: His more-than-a-little-generous "golden parachute." According to press reports, O'Neal will receive more than $160 million to leave Merrill Lynch, plus a corporate office and an executive assistant for three years.

, as the kids say. We just wonder what kind of cash O'Neal would have raked in had he actually made money last quarter at Merrill.

If 'They' Waterboard, Is It Still OK With Bush?

Our nomination for Torture Quote of the Week:
It's a sad day in America when the nominee for attorney general cannot flatly declare that waterboarding is unconstitutional.
--from an editorial this week in The Washington Post

Thursday, November 1, 2007

ORU May Sell TV Station to Reduce Debt

The latest news from South Lewis Avenue, location of the financially troubled Oral Roberts University, involves selling the school's television station.

Today's Tulsa World reports that ORU could sell its station to help reduce the school $52 million debt.

ORU owns KGEB Channel 53, which carries broadcasts of Richard Roberts, son of Oral, and Richard's wife, Lindsay.

The World also reports that Miami minister Guillermo Maldonado spoke at the school this week and gave students a message from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit told him that "every time the people raise their hands, I will strike the enemy." Shouting helps too, Maldonado said.

It was a deal too good to pass up, apparently, and the students raised their hands and shouted.

A word to Satan: Stay the hell away from South Lewis Avenue.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

KRMG's Bonehead: Talker Michael Savage and the End of Civilization as We Know It

We hate to use the words "Michael Savage" and "civilization" in the same sentence, but such is the skewed world of Conservative Talk Radio.

Savage, Talk Radio's No. 3 blabber, can now be heard an hour earlier on Tulsa's KRMG Radio. The AM station broadcasts Savage's rants beginning at 6 p.m.

For those unenlightened innocents out in Radioland, Savage is a windbag of extraordinary hysteria. In the parched desert of Savage's head, anyone to the left of Oliver North is a traitor to America.

Hell, even Col. North is sometimes too left-wing for Savage. North, after all, has read a couple of books, a sure sign of a closet pinko.

Recent evidence: Savage went ballistic Monday on President Bush—that well-known Godless liberal—for awarding Presidential Medals of Freedom to people who don't meet the Savage test of ideological purity.

Some sample victims: Presidential honoree Harper Lee, who apparently had the nerve to write (who knew?) a great novel about Southern racism, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Another target: C-SPAN's president Brian Lamb, "recognized for elevating the public debate," according to an AP report.

But Savage wouldn't know anything about that.

What's the World Coming To? A Woman Will Lead Texas Baptist Convention

We were pleased this week to see that our brothers and sisters in the Baptist General Convention of Texas elected their first female president.

Joy Fenner, a retired missionary, will lead the organization, the largest Baptist group in Texas. According to wire reports, the group includes 5,600 congregations and more than 2.3 million members.

What makes Fenner's election all the more interesting is the lack of women in Baptist pulpits in the Lone Star State. The wire service notes that "fewer than 1 percent of the convention's pastors are female."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Columnist Jones Takes a Stand Against Rep. Duncan's Intolerance Bandwagon

Let's hear it for the straight talk and good sense of Mike Jones, a columnist for the Opinion section of the Tulsa World.

In Sunday's edition, Jones took aim at the shortsightedness and religious bigotry of Rep. Rex Duncan, the Sand Springs Republican who thought it would be a good idea to reject a gift of the Quran last week.

Jones points out that Duncan's refusal started a legislative stampede of sorts, with 24 lawmakers eventually making the same ham-fisted gesture. Duncan's action, Jones points out, is not unusual in the world of politics.

More importantly, Duncan and his fellow legislators have fallen for the sloppiest and most dishonest of post-September 11 cliches. As Jones rightly notes, these folks apparently believe "that everything in the Quran is evil, hence, all Muslims are evil."

This kind of intentional bigotry is popular right-wing radio propaganda, perhaps, but Oklahoma citizens ought to have legislators who can make basic discriminations between actual terrorists and Oklahoma's Muslim citizens, none of whom have been accused of killing anyone.

Jones gets it right, blasting these simpletons for playing to the worst instincts of the voters.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Standing Tall for Religious Diversity: Some Oklahomans Critical of Intolerant Legislators

When State Rep. Rex Duncan, a Sand Springs Republican, rejected the centennial gift of a Quran this week, he made exactly the wrong symbolic and political move.

Rep. Duncan reduced all believers in Islam, one of the world's great religious traditions, to terrorists or terrorist sympatherizers. "Most Oklahomans do not endorse the idea of killing innocent women and children in the name of ideology," Duncan told the Tulsa World.

On this point, we agree with Duncan.

But as the legislator surely knows, the vast majority of world Muslims are not terrorists. And as far as we can tell, the Oklahoma Muslims who presented the copies of the Quran are peace-loving neighbors and good citizens, hardly the sort to endorse the killing of innocent Americans.

A leader in the Tulsa Jewish community has recognized this fact and supports Oklahoma Muslims. "Today, I'm an American Muslim, speaking for our brothers," David Bernstein, of the Jewish Federation, said in Saturday's Tulsa World. "Hateful words inevitably lead to hateful actions," he added.

Exactly so. That's why we reject the narrowmindedness of Rep. Duncan and a group of other state politicians who refused the Quran. This action may placate the religious haters in Sand Springs and elsewhere, but it also plays into stereotype of Oklahomans (and many Americans) as small-minded bigots who can't tell the difference between lightning and a lightning bug (thank you, Mark Twain).

We're proud to side with Oliver Howard, president of the Oklahoma Conference for Community and Justice, who told the newspaper that religious intolerance has no place in Oklahoma. As Howard also noted, "All religious communities have or have had zealots who exploit scared scriptures for their own ends, including violent and human acts."

We're also proud to quote the words of Allison Moore, a member of the Islamic Society of Tulsa. "Our religion teaches us to be peaceful, tolerant, loving and respectful of neighbors and friends, and uphold justice for all people."

It's reprehensible that Rep. Duncan and like-minded legislators can't see beyond the violence of some Islamic extremists and recognize the goodness and humanity of their fellow Oklahomans.

Friday, October 26, 2007

FEMA Improves Image By Interviewing Itself

The latest example of FEMA's incompetence: A California press conference with Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, the deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in which the questions were all posed by FEMA employees.

And—big surprise!—the questions were all "softballs," and the answers were all upbeat. Real reporters and hard questions are apparently too difficult for FEMA's leaders.

Meanwhile, the California fires continue to burn.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Debt Burden at ORU: $50 Million and Change

The bad news continues at Tulsa's Oral Roberts University. Today's Tulsa World includes this headline on page one:
ORU in debt $52.5 million
The newspaper report does contain some good news for the university. Board of Regents Chairman George Pearson told the World that the board is "doing everything we can to get rid of [the debt]."

Momaday Named to OK Writers Hall of Fame

Oklahoma's writing community is small compared to some states, but the Sooner state's literary quality is quite high. As evidence, we cite the induction this week of N. Scott Momaday into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.

Born in Lawton in 1934, Momaday came to wide public attention when his 1968 novel, House Made of Dawn, won the Pulitzer Prize. Momaday's writing career has also encompassed poetry, plays, and stories. Other Momaday titles include The Way to Rainy Mountain, a poetic mediation on Momaday's Kiowa upbringing in Oklahoma.

Momaday earned a Ph.D. at Stanford and has taught at UC Berkeley and the University of Arizona. Earlier this year, Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry appointed Momaday as the state's Centennial Poet Laureate.

Momaday was in Tulsa this week for a Hall of Fame banquet in his honor. Momaday was introduced by Federal Judge Robert Henry.

All praise to Teresa Miller of OSU-Tulsa's Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers for recognizing the literary contributions of an Oklahoma master, N. Scott Momaday.