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."