Monday, April 30, 2007

Tulsan Michael Wallis Talks Billy the Kid on Book TV

The life and legend of Billy the Kid got multiple airings this weekend when cable television's Book TV featured an interview with Tulsa writer Michael Wallis.

As we have noted in previous posts, Wallis is one of our favorite Tulsa writers. He's produced a stack of books about Oklahoma and the American West, including works on Route 66, the famous 101 Ranch, outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd, Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller, and more. His booming voice has also been heard in ads and in the recent animated film, Cars.

The Book TV interview, conducted by House Minority Whip Roy Blunt of Missouri, gave Wallis a chance to explain his take on the life and death of Billy the Kid, one of those mysterious Western characters Americans seem to love. It sounds like a good read. From what Wallis said told Blunt, the book is also getting good reviews and selling very well.

Although he's a native of Missouri, Michael Wallis has made Tulsa proud.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tulsa Writers Gather on the Banks of the Arkansas

Tulsa writer Michael Wallis, author of the recently published Billy the Kid, is one of four writers who live in the lovely Sophian Plaza overlooking the Arkansas River near downtown Tulsa.

We learn this fact from an article by Kayte Spillman in the May issue of Tulsa People. The magazine refers to Wallis and his fellow writers as "The Sophian Writers' Club."

Other club members are Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg, both of whom teach history TU and write—no surprise here—historical studies. Isenberg's new book, due out soon, is a biography of Aaron Burr, famous for dueling with (and killing) Alexander Hamilton. It's called Fallen Father: The Life of Aaron Burr. Burstein's latest work, just published, is a biography of Washington Irving. The book is The Original Knickerbocker: The Life of Aaron Burr.

Eldon Eisenach is the senior member of the Sophian writer group. A political scientist who also has long ties to TU, Eisenach writes about progressivism and religion in American politics.

Despite their various interests and backgrounds, the article makes clear that the group shares a love of writing and American history. Literary life flourishing on the banks of the Arkansas River—who would have guessed it?

P.S.—Speaking of Tulsa People, AltTulsa got a notice in the April issue of the magazine, along with Tulsa blogger Michael Bates and Indie Tulsa, which features local small businesses. Links to both sites are included in our listings.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Inhofe's Continuing Foot-in-Mouth Problem

Sen. Jim Inhofe keeps trying to make the best of a bad situation. Having firmly attached himself to the failed policies of the Bush Administration, the senator finds himself defending the indefensible.

That accounts for Inhofe's recent verbal gymnastics. Just yesterday, for example, the senator had to pull out his best "weasel" words to blame the media for "mischaracterizing" the reasons the Bush team decided to launch the ill-fated Iraq war.

It wasn't about weapons of mass destruction, Inhofe said Friday. "The whole idea of weapons of mass destruction was never the issue, yet they keep trying to bring this up," Inhofe said.

We disagree. Indeed, we think his friend Dick Cheney has a long and very public record of disagreeing with that statement. After all, Cheney went on national television repeatedly in 2002 and 2003 to emphasize Iraq's threat to the U.S. To Bush and Cheney, Saddam's threat most certainly was about WMDs.

Inhofe knows this. When a reporter asked him yesterday why Secretary of State Colin Powell made WMDs the key part of his now-infamous UN speech, this was Inhofe's non-answer:

I can't answer that. In fact, I've never been one of the real strong fans of General Powell.

This is classic "weasel" talk. Not only did Inhofe fail to address the question, he attacked a former member of the administration he claims to support.

Nor is this smart politics in Oklahoma. Powell, after all, is much more popular than Dick Cheney, who (as we have noted in the past) is the most unpopular vice president since Spiro Agnew.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Cheney and Inhofe: Slowing Sinking Together

Jim Inhofe can't catch a break. Every week, it seems, his political career hits another bump in the road.

Today, for instance, the senator brought Vice President Dick Cheney to Tulsa to fire up the senator's fund-raising campaign. It's also the day that Cheney took another body blow to his shredded reputation.

We're talking about ex-CIA Chief George Tenet's new book which provides the inside story of the Bush-Cheney deception on Iraq. Tenet writes:

There never was a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat.

And this is a judgment from an administration insider, a man George Bush awarded the Medal of Freedom.

Here's how the New York Times headlined today's Tenet story: "Ex-CIA Chief, In Book, Assails Cheney on Iraq."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Day Before He Comes to Tulsa, Cheney Draws Protestors at Utah's Mormon university

Dick Cheney poses as a fighter. He loves to slam the Democrats as weak and ineffectual sissie-boys who fade in the face of crisis.

Yet Cheney's own record inspires little confidence.

This graduation season, for instance, Cheney is giving exactly two commencement speeches. One of those was today, and the Veep was taking no chances. He spoke in Provo, Utah, the reddest of the Red States.

Even at Brigham Young University, which is owned by the Mormon church, Cheney drew protesters. Some students had the nerve to point out that the vice president has not been a paragon of virtue.

And that other school where Cheney will deliver the graduation speech? You guessed it: West Point. We doubt that any cadets will speak out about Cheney's lack of military service.

When he shows up in T-town, perhaps Cheney will catch a glimpse of some Tulsans with demonstrated courage: Vietnam vets who served their country when he had "other priorities."

Cheney Comes to Tulsa—But Can the Unpopular Vice President Really Help Jim Inhofe?

Dick Cheney's coming to T-Town.

Sen. Jim Inhofe is bringing the Republican "Big Gun" to Tulsa Friday to help him raise re-election cash. Dick Cheney, perhaps the most unpopular vice president since Spiro Agnew, will headline a GOP event in town Friday.

There's no doubt that Cheney's visit will bring out Tulsa's big-time GOP donors and give Inhofe's campaign a new infusion of cash.

But reasonable Oklahomans might question the wisdom of using Cheney as a GOP cheerleader for Inhofe. Cheney, after all, has little popular support outside a small core of "red meat" Republicans, and even they have to overlook Cheney's dubious record as a leader.

In case you're the forgetful type, here's a quick overview of Cheney's political life:

• A militant hard-liner today, Cheney had "other priorities" during the Vietnam era and never served a day in uniform.

• Asked by President-elect George W. Bush to lead his vice presidential selection committee, Dick Cheney settled on the perfect candidate: Dick Cheney.

• In the selling of the Iraq invasion, Cheney assured the public of direct links between the 9/11 terrorists and Saddam's government. Cheney's evidence turned out to be wrong.

• In the run-up to the war, Cheney says there is "no doubt" that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. As we all now know, Cheney's evidence turned out to be wrong.

On the lighter side, Cheney's hunting accident in Texas resulted in only minor injuries to an elderly Republican attorney.

With a record this consistent and error-prone, we hope Sen. Inhofe brings Dick Cheney to Oklahoma more often. Every time he comes, it's likely to remind voters of why we need new leadership in the Congress and in the White House.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dick Cheney vs. the American Public

Vice President Dick Cheney has been trading barbs this week with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada. Cheney called Reid a "defeatist" on Iraq.

But Reid fired off a stinging comeback. Reid said, “I’m not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Years of Iraq 'Progress,' Yet the Violence Goes On

Jon Stewart's Daily Show is played for laughs, of course, but sometimes the political truth is all too obvious. Stewart ran a video compilation recently of the President's pronouncements on our "success" in Iraq.

Here are the President's exact words:

Bush, January 2006: "There's progress. And it's important progress and it's an important part of our strategy to win in Iraq."

Bush, November 2005: "Iraq is making incredible political progress."

Bush, October 2005: "Iraqis are making inspiring progress."

Bush, September 2005: "Iraq has made incredible political progress."

Bush, April 2005: "I believe we're making good progress in Iraq."

Bush, March 2005: "We're making progress."

Bush, September 2004: "We're making steady progress."

Bush, July 2003: "We're making progress. It's slowly but surely making progress."

Our question: How much more "progress" can we stand?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Robin Meyers' Manifesto for Liberal Religion

Oklahoma City's Dr. Robin Meyers will bring his message of liberal religion to Tulsa Tuesday night with a talk to the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance.

Meyers will be the featured speaker at the annual meeting of the Alliance at 7:30 p.m. at the Fellowship Congregational Church, 2900 South Harvard, in midtown Tulsa.

After the program, Dr. Meyers will be signing copies of his book, a book with a title that makes sense to us: Why the Christian Right is Wrong: A Minister's Manifesto for Taking Back Your Faith, Your Flag, and Your Future.

Doors open at 7 p.m. Maybe we'll see you there.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Prince DelGiorno Out, Medlock In at KFAQ

Poor Tulsa! Just when the city needed him most, the revered and saintly Michael DelGiorno, dulcet voice of KFAQ radio every weekday morning, is leaving us for another town.

DelGiorno's going to Nashville.

It's a pity. We're losing a true Oklahoma prince, an inspired beacon of T-Town enlightenment and spiritual guidance that we need so badly at this moment in our city's history. Without MDG (as we—his fans—love to call him), Tulsans are doomed to live forever in a fog of Godless relativism and secular humanism.

How do we know? Because he told us so every day. He told us how wrong we were and how Godly he was. He never let us forget that he had a direct line to the Lord himself—and far be it from us ordinary folk to think for ourselves or to argue with someone on such friendly terms with God. MDG told us the real, unvarnished TRUTH every day because he was, as we all know, so saintly, so unstained, so pure of mind and heart that we came to believe every single word that flowed from his lips.

But not to worry: KFAQ quickly found a replacement, none other than former city councilman Chris Medlock. Fresh from his defeat in the Republican primary last fall, Medlock may have some time on his hands. But we're betting he doesn't have MDG's access to God—just Republicans.

As we said, it's a pity.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Mindlessness: Gonzales' Many Memory Problems

64: The number of times Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said "I don't recall" or variations of the phrase during his Senate testimony this week, according to the Washington Post.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Headlines We Like: GOP Flip-Floppers Revealed

Columnist Ruben Navarrette has written a pointed critique of Republican presidential field. The efficient headline writer in the Tulsa World made the case clearly: "Republicans have lost their way."

The San Diego-based writer went on highlight how this happened. Oklahoma Republicans might want to take note of the following flip-flops:

Rudy Giuliani talks gun rights these days, Navarrette said, even though as mayor of New York City he supported trigger locks and lobbied to ban assault weapons.

Mitt Romney, the Massachusetts Republican, has a long history of pro-choice positions. These days, he's a born-again anti-abortionist, pandering to the hardliners in the GOP fold.

John McCain, former POW and current senator from Arizona, was recently a co-sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform. When that position didn't please the right-wing base, McCain suddenly switched positions. McCain's once-formidable presidential bid appears to be rapidly losing steam.

You get the idea. The GOP is so tightly wound around right-wing ideology that its leaders can't decide what they really believe.

Boy Soldier's Book Reaches No. 1

Last month, AltTulsa noted the publication of A Long Way Gone, Ishmael Beah's account of his harrowing years as a boy soldier in Sierra Leone. We discovered the book when a portion of it appeared in the New York Times Magazine.

This week, A Long Way Gone reached the top of the New York Times' nonfiction bestseller list. That fact, along with Beah's ordeal as a drug-fueled soldier, caps an amazing personal transformation.

As a African boy solider, Beah's prospects were dim. His life expectancy could be measured in weeks, perhaps months if he were lucky. And yet, Beah survived. He was brought to the U.S., completed high school, enrolled in college, and began telling his remarkable story.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yet Another Radio Bonehead: Neal Boortz

With all the horror coming out of Blacksburg this week, you'd think that the last thing a radio talker would do would be to blame the victims.

But you'd be wrong: Neal Boortz did exactly that.

We happened to be listening this week when Tulsa's own KRMG broadcast the Boortz rant, where he complained bitterly that none of the Virginia Tech students under attack were brave enough to stop the gunman. The students, Boortz claimed, were wusses.

Well, no. Boortz was nowhere near the scene, of course, and had no way of assessing the circumstances the students were facing, or thought they were facing.

But Boortz did have the advantage of 20/20 hindsight. Leave it to Boortz: Student wusses are to blame for letting the gunman keep on killing.

Radio Bonehead of the Week: Rush Wins Again

Further evidence that right-wing college dropouts on the radio can politicize anything, including mass murder, by blaming liberals:

If this Virginia Tech shooter had an ideology, what do you think it was? This guy had to be a liberal. You start railing against the rich and all this other -- this guy's a liberal. He was turned into a liberal somewhere along the line. So it's a liberal that committed this act.

--Rush Limbaugh
One tiny thing missing from Rush's rant: Evidence. Evidence? Rush don't need no stinkin' evidence.

Even Texans Turning on Gonzales

We rarely find ourselves in agreement with Sen. John Cornyn, Republican of Texas. Cornyn, after all, usually supports his fellow Texans, George W. Bush and Alberto Gonzales.

Today, however, Cornyn got it right. Speaking to Attorney General Gonzales, Cornyn said:

"I believe you are a good and decent man," Cornyn told Gonzales. "But I have to tell you that the way this process has been handled is really deplorable."

News Flash: Coburn Dumps Gonzales

Sen. Tom Coburn today lived up to his reputation as a maverick Republican: He blasted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and called on him to resign.

On this issue, senator, we're with you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tulsa Farmers' Markets Try Again

The AltTulsa folks like to buy local when we can. That's why we keep pushing Tulsa-area farmers' markets, including the Cherry Street Farmers' Market. It's Saturday morning at 15th and Peoria. The Pearl District Farmers' Market is every Thursday evening at 6th and Peoria.

The rain and chill made last week's markets a tough sell. The Brookside Herb Day went forward, though the number of merchants and shoppers were down.

This week, the forecast looks better. Maybe we'll see you there, munching a cinnamon roll and buying some tomato plants for the garden.

Cheney Comes to Tulsa for Photo Op

Calling all Big Spenders! Vice President Dick (Five Deferments) Cheney will be in Tulsa later this month to raise money for Sen. Jim Inhofe, former mayor of Our Fair City and one of the finest minds of the 1950s. For only $2,000, you can have your photo made with the Veep himself.

Think about it: With Cheney and Inhofe in the same room, you have a festival of Republican error and misinformation. Inhofe, always flaking for the oil business, can't seem to embrace modern science (even as the oil companies—including Conoco Phillips—themselves have recognized global warming).

For his part, Cheney has an unblemished record of erroneous predictions about the Iraq war. For a mere $2,000 bucks, you can ask him about those WMDs he assured us were in Iraq. Ask him about our soldiers being greeted as liberators. Ask him about the links between Saddam and the 9/11 terrorists. As we said, he's always been wrong.

While you're at it, ask Cheney about his military experience during the Vietnam years. Oh, that's right, he kept getting deferments, five in all. Meanwhile, his classmates and peers went off to an unpopular war.

Can you spell "Chickenhawk"?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

'Alternative Oklahoma' Wins Praise in Tulsa

A new book about the state's surprisingly diverse past received a positive review Sunday in the Tulsa World. Alternative Oklahoma, edited by historian Davis Joyce, was praised by reviewer Mike Nobles.

"Every now and again a book comes along that makes you proud to be called an Okie," Nobles began. "This is such a book."

Nobles wrote that the book includes essays by a range of writers on Oklahoma's hidden history, views that usually don't turn up in textbooks and other mainstream accounts of the state.

The book comes from the OU Press in Norman and sells for $19.95.

As we noted in a post last week, Alternative Oklahoma is certainly worth a look. We haven't obtained our copy yet, but we will soon. In time, we'll report on some of the essays here. Until then, see Mike Nobles' fine review. It's available at in the "Books" section of

Monday, April 16, 2007

Our Crystal Ball Works: McCarthy Wins A Pulitzer

We don't claim much insight into the world of big-time literature, so we were surprised to learn today that Cormac McCarthy was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for his latest novel, The Road.

Just last week (see below), we noted that The Road was an Oprah Book Club selection, a choice that has boosted some writers from relative obscurity to fame and fortune. McCarthy didn't need Oprah's help. He became a famous writer some years ago with the critical and popular success of his Border Trilogy, powerful stories set in the West Texas and northern Mexico.

McCarthy grew up in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he attended the University of Tennessee. Several of his early works were set in East Tennessee. Later, McCarthy moved to El Paso, Texas, where he wrote a series of startling western novels, including Blood Meridian, All My Pretty Horses, The Crossing, and Cities of the Plain.

McCarthy is notoriously reclusive. He gives few interviews and makes few public appearances. In person, however, he can be friendly and gracious. We say that based on a chance meeting with McCarthy some years ago in Knoxville. We were driving down Kingston Pike near the UT campus when our sharp-eyed passenger, a Tennessee poet, spotted McCarthy walking up the street.

We invited him to lunch at the nearby Rudy Tuesday's, and spent the next hour or so listening to the writer himself. The details of that meeting have faded over the years, but we do recall his friendliness on that occasion. Also, his intensity.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Oprah Picks Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'

Novelist Cormac McCarthy made a big splash in the literary world a few years back with this Border Trilogy, epic novels that captured the adventurous (and violent) spirit of the Texas-Mexico borderlands in the early decades of the twentieth century.

McCarthy's most recent book, The Road, now out in paperback, has also made a splash. It's the current pick of the revived Oprah Book Club, a fact which is likely to boost sales and bring more attention to the reclusive author. We haven't read The Road, but the reviews have been mostly positive. It's a survival story, which makes it sound rather bleak.

If his earlier books (Child of God, Blood Meridian, All the Pretty Horses, Cities of the Plain) are any clue, McCarthy's new book will be dense, beautiful and terrifying all at the same time. The Road is worth a look.

Arts & Letters Daily: A World of Ideas

We were reminded recently of a great website for books, ideas and current events. The site is Arts & Letters Daily and it includes a huge list of links to books, journals, magazines, newspapers and other sources of informed comment and criticism.

You probably won't appreciate everything you find on Arts & Letters Daily, but it's certainly an interesting site with a variety of provocative ideas and opinions. We're adding the site to the permanent list of national sites we like, all of which are listed in the right-hand column below.

Check it out for yourself at

Thursday, April 12, 2007

See You Saturday at Brookside's Herb Day

This Saturday will be busy in midtown Tulsa. It's the first day of the Cherry Street Market at 15th and Peoria, as well as the annual Herb Day in Brookside, a couple of miles south at 41st and Peoria.

In between, there's a plant sale and bazaar on the front lawn of the Tulsa Garden Center, just south of 21st Street on Peoria.

All three markets will promote Oklahoma-grown plants and products. The Brookside event will also include a couple of Oklahoma wineries, which is a nice touch in a state not known for its grape production.

And as we noted in a post below, Tulsa's Climate Action Day is Saturday afternoon at Veteran's Park, a few blocks east of Peoria on 21st Street.

Like the bumper sticker says: Buy Local.

Climate Action Day Comes to Veteran's Park

Regular readers of AT will know that we are unapologetic environmentalists. That's why we're happy to spread the word about an event this Saturday called Climate Action Day.

The environmental fair will run from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at Veteran's Park at 21st & Boulder in midtown Tulsa.

The event will feature music, food, educational exhibits, prize giveaways and more. Check it out this weekend.

The Tulsa event also has a handy and informative website with more information. It's here:

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Inhofe's Two Grand Photo Plan: Cheney & You

Yes, ladies and gents, Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe has an exciting photo opportunity for YOU!

For the measly sum of $2,000, you can stand next to Vice President Dick (Five Deferments) Cheney and have your picture made. It's part of Sen. Inhofe's reelection campaign, which is bringing the VP to Tulsa's Downtown Doubletree Hotel on April 27. Lunch with the Veep will cost you a mere $250—such a deal.

Make those checks out to the Inhofe Victory Committee.

But don't count on us for any quick cash. As Cheney once said in explaining why he didn't volunteer for the military during the Vietnam War, we have "other priorities."

Cheney Slammed as 'Morally Dubious Man'

Poor Dick Cheney. Even in Utah, the man can't get a break.

As we have noted in recent posts, the vice president recently let it be known that he was available as a graduation speaker this spring at the mostly conservative Brigham Young University in Provo.

But the nice Mormon students are not amused. This week, press reports say, some BYU students had the nerve to recall what the vice president once said to Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy. (Hint: It contains the F-bomb and ends with "you.") As it happens, BYU students have to live with an honor code, which includes "using clean language." Oops!

The code also promotes honesty, a quality contradicted by numerous Cheney pronouncements about Saddam, WMDs, and American soldiers being "greeted as liberators."

Here's how one BYU student summed up the Cheney invitation: "The problem is this is a morally dubious man,” said Andrew Christensen, a 22-year-old Republican from Salt Lake City. “It’s challenging the morality and integrity of this institution."


Bad News for Bush: The Verdict Is In

You don't have to look very hard these days to find critics of George W. Bush. One example turned up today in the Tulsa World, which published an op-ed column by Georgia Anne Geyer.

Geyer, a veteran foreign correspondent and columnist, minces no words in assessing the President's troubles. Here's a sample:

It is becoming increasingly clear that no one pays attention to the Texan with the destructive ambitions anymore—and that the nation's view of Iraq has undergone a massive and important transformation.

In one sentence, Geyer sums up two failures: a presidency and a policy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Hannity Scam: Name & Blame, Truth Be Damned

One of our least favorite conservative talkers, Sean Hannity, has a way with words. He's persuasive, smooth, and appealing. But Hannity's grasp on the truth is an entirely different matter.

Here's a recent example of Hannity's penchant for playing fast and loose with the facts. Speaking to Sen. John McCain on Fox News this week, Hannity repeated the charge that CNN reporter Michael Ware heckled McCain at a Baghdad news conference earlier this month. McCain told Hannity that someone was laughing during the session, though did not name Ware as that someone.

Why not name Ware? Because McCain doesn't know that Ware heckled him, nor does Hannity—despite his statement singling out Ware as the "liberal media" offender. But as the Media Matters website has noted, the Ware accusation originated with blogger Matt Drudge, who cited only one anonymous source for the story.

Ware, meanwhile, hotly denies the accusation. Ware told CNN's American Morning, "I did not heckle the senator. Indeed, I didn't say a word, I didn't even ask a question." A videotape of the news conference posted on The Raw Story website appears to support Ware's position. He asked no questions and there were no interruptions to the session.

But Hannity and other conservative commentators haven't let the facts get in their way. The conservative RedState website repeated the charges against Ware, again without evidence. Nevertheless, the RedState post concluded predictably, blaming the "liberal media":

Ware's childish antics notwithstanding, a case can be made that the media should stop being taken so seriously, and that Ware is a poster child for the childishness they exhibit in telling us what they want us to hear, rather than what they actually saw.

Here's how Hannity trumped up Ware's supposed heckling while talking to McCain:

[T]his guy's supposed to be a journalist for, you know, for a credible news network. It's a disgrace, and why he wasn't fired, I don't know.

We know why: It's a bogus charge. As Media Matters noted, "At no point during the interview did McCain state that Ware had either laughed during the press conference or heckled him."

Memo to Hannity, Drudge and friends: Facts can be stubborn things. And whatever your politics, you can' t just make them up.

Newt Slams Inhofe's Position on Global Warming

The senior senator from the great state of Oklahoma, our very own Jim Inhofe, is steadily losing allies in the political battle over global warming. The latest defection is none other than a stalwart of the Republican Right, Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House of Representatives.

In a public debate earlier today in Washington, Sen. John Kerry asked Gingrich to clarify his message to conservatives such as Inhofe on the issue. Gingrich said:

My message I think is that the evidence is sufficient that we should move towards the most effective possible steps to reduce carbon-loading of the atmosphere.

"And do it urgently," Gingrich added, to applause from the crowd.

If this keeps up, Sen. Inhofe will find himself a lonely man, even in his own party.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Gonzales Update: Newt Wants Him to Go

More bad news for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales: Speaking today, former House Speaker (and admitted adulterer) Newt Gingrich said the embattled AG might want to consider resigning.

When Newt loses confidence, the worm has begun to turn. Bye, bye, Alberto.

Radio We Like: Tulsa's Folk Salad

Whenever we can, the AltTulsa crowd likes to spend a pleasant musical hour on Sunday nights listening to Folk Salad on KWGS 89.5 FM. Scott Aycock and Richard Higgs are the congenial and knowledgeable hosts of the Folk Salad show, which airs Sundays at 7 p.m.

Aycock and Higgs play a wide range of regional and national singer-songwriters, including some acts from Tulsa and around the Sooner state. They also air interviews from local and visiting singers, and offer previews of folks acts on their way to T-town.

Tonight, the boys played a beautiful recording of Tracy Grammer, a singer we'd love to hear more of. Check out the Folk Salad guys, their playlists, and other aspects their musical world at their website,

As Aycock and Higgs always say, it's "Certified Organic Music."

One of Folk Salad's regular sponsors is the Cherry Street Farmer's Market, which open this Saturday, April 14, at the corner of Peoria and Cherry Street in midtown Tulsa. We'll see you there.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Gonzales Update: More Signs of Trouble in Bushworld

AltTulsa tries to keep abreast of the on-going saga of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, under fire for his apparent attempts to politicize the offices of U.S. attorneys.

The latest: Another Republican Congressman has called for Gonzales to go. Even worse: Another Gonzales aide has resigned, the one whose attorney said she would plead the Fifth Amendment if forced to testify before Congress.

Our view: The evidence of misconduct is piling up, slowly but surely. Even under the best of circumstances, Gonzales appears to have stacked the deck against the fired U.S. attorneys and misled Congress when questioned about it.

Ah, but he's always loyal to his patron, George W. Bush.

Cheney Update: VP Earns Still More Bad Press

A choice headline in today's Washington Post: "Cheney Sticks to His Delusions."

On the plus side, at least the vice president is consistent. Too bad he's consistently wrong.

Cheney Claims at Odds (Again!) with the Truth

Vice President Dick (Chicken Hawk) Cheney keeps sticking his foot in his mouth about terrorism and Iraq.

The VP's latest embarrassment came yesterday on Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Cheney once again made the claim that there was a link between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the September 11 terrorists. It's a great talking point, but it isn't true. In fact, it's a claim that has been repeatedly and thoroughly debunked.

As numerous news outlets and blogs are noting today, a Pentagon report released yesterday provides still more evidence against the Saddam-terrorist link. Other investigations, including the 9/11 Commission, also debunked the Cheney claim.

The Huffington Post sums up the latest Cheney stumble over the truth succinctly: "Cheney v. the Pentagon."

Since Cheney once served as Secretary of Defense, this is surely a very bad sign for the VP.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Cheney Update: Even Republican Students Are Protesting

Yesterday AltTulsa reported that Vice President Dick Cheney will be coming to Tulsa later this month. Well-heeled Republican donors (starting at $250 per ticket, from what we hear) will be able to see the VP as he helps raise funds for Sen. Jim Inhofe, the state's senior senator.

But Sen. Inhofe may want to consider the latest Cheney news: His star keeps sinking.

We learn today, for example, that Cheney's invitation to speak at Brigham Young University's graduation came only after the VP's office suggested to BYU officials he'd like to be invited. So, in effect, Cheney invited himself.

One way to make sense of this is that the VP knows he's extremely unpopular and that BYU was one campus where he might be welcome. But even that hasn't turned out well. Here's a news report we picked up from Provo, the home of BYU and one of the most conservative places in the nation:

More than 200 students attended the College Democrats’ protest, a sit-in next to the campus library with no shouting allowed.

“As much as I’m opposed to Cheney and enjoy demonstrating against his politics, this is a really good chance to show the political diversity of BYU,” said Philip Erickson, a sophomore studying international relations.

But not everyone at the protest was a Democrat. Heather Marsh, a freshman studying neuroscience, held a sign stating, “Republican against Cheney.”

To which we can only add: Ouch!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sen. Inhofe Brings the Veep to Tulsa

Vice President Dick Cheney is not exactly a huge crowd favorite these days. As we noted in an earlier post, Mr. Cheney's sunny predictions about weapons of mass destruction and the Iraq war have proven consistenty wrong. The Scooter Libby trial included testimony that made the VP's office look extremely thin-skinned. Then there was the 2006 hunting accident in which the VP shot a Texas lawyer in the face.

Despite the VP's declining image, our very own senior U.S. senator, Jim Inhofe, will host Mr. Cheney at a fundraiser later this month. According to Republican sources cited today in Oklahoma City, Cheney will be in Tulsa for a hotel luncheon on Friday, April 27.

We feel sure that Oklahoma's party faithful (at least those who can pony up the cash) will love the VP's Tulsa visit. Cheney is great, after all, at "red meat" rhetoric.

But before the festivities begin, it's worth noting that Cheney's upcoming commencement address at Brigham Young University is not meeting universal approval in the very red state of Utah. Associated Press reports we've seen reveal that some students, faculty, and others are upset over BYU's invitation to the vice president. The AP quoted one business professor who pointed out that BYU's emphasis on personal honest and integrity was at odds with Mr. Cheney's political activities.

When a conservative Republican vice president gets "dissed" in Utah, you know things are going from bad to worse for the GOP.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

OU Press Book Highlights State's Contrarian Past

A book with an interesting title caught our attention the other day. The title is Alternative Oklahoma, and the book, edited by Davis Joyce and published by the University of Oklahoma Press, promises a view of state history that doesn't always get much attention.

The OU Press website puts it this way:
These decidedly contrarian Sooner voices reflect the progressive, libertarian, and even radical viewpoints that influenced the state’s creation. Contributors talk of growing up “Okie and radical,” of the legacy of Woody Guthrie in the Red Dirt music scene, and of the Sunbelt Alliance that helped to stop the building of the Black Fox nuclear power plant. They look back at Oklahoma City’s role in the early civil rights sit-in movement and at an Oklahoman’s experience with Vietnam Veterans Against the War. They consider religion outside the mainstream—and everyday women squarely within these unique expressions of faith.

As this passage makes clear, Alternative Oklahoma is not your father's Oklahoma history. But it does appear to be an important part of the state's history that deserves greater attention. As the OU publicity puts it (copying Oklahoma's Paul Harvey), this is "the rest of the story."

Alternative Oklahoma editor Davis Joyce is Professor Emeritus of History at East Central University in Ada. He is also author of Howard Zinn: A Radical American Vision. The book's "Foreword" is by Fred R. Harris, former U.S. Senator from Oklahoma who now teaches at the University of New Mexico.

We have only thumbed through the book at this point, but we like it so far. Given its title, that's probably not a big surprise.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

In Praise of Speaking Up: Some Free Speech Heroes

Free speech, we believe, is a key part of democracy and intellectual freedom. That's why we support a wide range of free speech and individual expression, even when it's speech or expression we don't agree with or appreciate.

With that in mind, we'd like to a highlight some international writers honored recently for their courage in the face of threats, intimidation, jail, and other forms of suppression.

Let's start in Kenya, where reporter Peter Makori has been arrested numerous times on trumped up charges ranging from defamation, murder and publishing alarming reports about government abuses. One of Makori's detentions lasted 11 months, during which he was denied food and medication, beaten, and threatened with death. Fortunately, he is now a fellow at the University of Missouri journalism school.

Shahram Rafizadeh of Iran has been less fortunate. An investigative reporter, blogger, poet and literary critic, Rafizadeh has written about Iranian intelligence agents and their 1998 murders of intellectuals and writers. For this "crime," Iranian officials put Rafizadeh in solitary confinement for 86 days.

In Cuba, Maria Luisa Leiva Viamonte has been followed and threatened by the security police. Her offense? Leiva is a journalist and one of the founders of Ladies in White, a group of wives and mothers of imprisoned dissidents.

Then there's the rising Asian economic superpower, China, which went after novelist and literature professor Cui Zi En. His offense was openly admitting his homosexuality. For this, he was barred from teaching and forced from his university apartment. When he refused to acknowledge that his sexual orientation was a disease, he was ordered to a hospital.

None of this is encouraging to free inquiry and personal liberty, values we champion here at Alternative Tulsa.

We know about these writers and others thanks to Human Rights Watch, which administers an annual program called the Hellman/Hammett Grants. These grants provide financial assistance to writers who have been victims of political persecution. According to the information we found, the 2007 grants are going to 45 writers from 22 countries, including those named above.

We salute all the writers who have the courage to stand up for their beliefs, even when their governments disapprove.