Surprising fact: Half of gun death are suicides
Gun owners often use weapons on themselves, not intruders
Monday, June 30, 2008
It's take more than seven years, but the American public has finally realized that George W. Bush has been a disaster as president.
And then there's the domestic arena, where the White House bungled the Katrina response ("Heckva job, Brownie!"), worked to politicize the Justice Department, and ignored scientific evidence on global warming and a host of other topics.
And let's not even get started on gas prices, which some in the Administration predicted would go down as a result of a stable, democratic Iraq. What a joke.
It's no surprise, then, that Bush's approval ratings are in the toilet, among the lowest in the history of presidential polling. Despite such reports, the president and his aides remain optimistic that Bush will rise the eyes of the public.
Here's the latest fiction from an administration in denial, courtesy of U.S. News:
When he travels around the country, Bush feels less “antipathy” than he used to in the crowds, along the motorcade routes, and expressed by the individuals who talk to him at his events. “He feels there has been a shift in attitudes out there that’s not reflected in polling data,” the aide says. […]
Reinforcing his point, the latest AP-Ipsos poll, released in mid-June, found that only 29 percent of Americans approved of Bush’s job performance, one of the lowest presidential ratings ever. White House officials, by the way, say they aren’t sure such polls should be believed because the questions are biased and the population samples are flawed.
The article, "Storm Journal: The Story of the Bay Town Inn," tells the completely harrowing tale of seven Katrina survivors who rode out the storm at the Bay Town Inn, a sturdy old building in Bay St. Louis that survived Hurricane Camille, a "storm of the century" that battered the area more than 30 years ago.
Writer Ellis Anderson explains in her introduction that she didn't "need a writer's imagination to fill in the details. I'm simply recording their story, interweaving five individual accounts."
And what accounts they are! The situation goes from bad to worse to absolutely terrifying in a matter of hours, with several of the survivors clinging to an oak tree after the inn blew apart. A sample:
Exhausted, the three friends tried to get their bearings. The disorientation was overwhelming. They could barely recognize each other under the sticky, black silt covering them head to toe. Even the landscape around them was no longer familiar. They might have been standing on the surface of another planet. There was no sign of the Bay Town Inn, nothing even to mark where it had stood.
As it happens, you can find more of Anderson's writing on her blog, The Language of Loss, which can be found at katrinapatina.blogspot.com.
As we said, it's a gripping story about the power of nature, the fragility of life, and the role of friendship and hope against incredible odds.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
A page-one story in yesterday's Tulsa World gave details of a community team's review of the TAC, and the results were not pretty. According to the paper, TPS board president Gary Percefull called the first year of TAC a "colossal failure."
Among the most telling evidence against Dr. Zolkoski was his failure to take advice. The World quoted District Judge Doris Fransein, who slammed Zolkoski for spurning the assistance of community leaders and organizations. Judge Fransein said:
You have a superintendent who, in the past, refused to listen. Every time we tried to sit down, he knew it all…. None of us could do anything to break through and say, 'Can we help you? 'Would you listen to someone's suggestion? This is a community you are not familiar with, Dr. Z, that we can give you tips about.'
This is a damning criticism of a major Tulsa education official, a leader who, as Fransein says, seemed to know it all and refused to listen to others. Other team members had similar criticisms, none of which reflected well on Dr. Z's judgment or leadership.
Then there's the matter of Dr. Z's proposed $50,000 bonus and recent performance, which the World blasted in an editorial Tuesday. The newspaper doesn't mince words: "No bonus; how quickly can you clean out your desk?"
The editorial points out that Dr. Z presided over the TAC debacle, a school that was "crowded. violent and out of control." The conditions there, the paper continues, were unforgivable.
We're not the betting type, but we'd say the odds aren't good for Dr. Z's longevity at TPS. As the World puts it, "We can do better."
WASHINGTON—Justice Department officials illegally used "political or ideological" factors in elite recruiting programs in recent years, tapping law-school graduates with conservative credentials over more qualified candidates with liberal-sounding resumes, an internal report found Tuesday.
Monday, June 23, 2008
The journal, published by Center for the Study of American South at UNC at Chapel Hill, makes for insightful reading, especially if you compare it to the mean-spirited and misremembered characterizations of Katrina and its aftermath on conservative talk radio.
One article considers the place of Marti Gras in the American imagination, a topic that warrants deeper consideration. New Orleans, after all, has long had the reputation as Sin City, a decadent playground for all those straight-laced Southerners wanting to cut loose for a few besotted days.
Author Maura Fitzgerald created a more creative report called "What Was Found," which includes this poignant line: "There are mornings in New Orleans when you wake up too sad to move."
And this: "There are some nights in New Orleans when you feel all in a fever and all you can do is walk."
There's much more worth reading in the journal's Katrina issue, enough to make a reader think long and hard about New Orleans life, growth and development, the weather, and hubris in the face of it all.
For more on Southern Cultures, check out the journal's website here.
I like Global Gardens because it is a fun after-school program and not only do we grow gardens but we learn about nature. And I also love Global Gardens because we all get along together. It is like a little community and in the community everyone gets along and everyone is nice to each other and everyone is peaceful.
DALLAS (Reuters) - American evangelicals remain more Republican than Democratic but are not locked tightly in the embrace of either party, according to a new survey released on Monday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
But things haven't been going well for old Karl in recent months. The money quote:
"Republicans say Rove is the architect," said one GOP insider on the Hill. "He's the architect of our demise."
Sunday, June 22, 2008
A report published today in the Tulsa World finds that CEO pay in major U.S. companies continues to fatten wallets in the executive suites.
This was the case even in major companies that had a bad year. John Thain of Merrill Lynch, for example, racked up a 2007 pay package worth $83 million, even as the company had one of its worst years ever.
CBS isn't having an especially good year either, and yet CEO Les Moonves was awarded more than $67 million in compensation.
Or consider GM's Rich Wagoner, whose company has closed four plants recently due to falling sales. GM lost $39 billion in 2007, and the company's stock price dropped 19 percent.
Wagoner's pay, however, was up 64 percent, to nearly $16 million.
As we noted at the start, the rich get richer. Meanwhile, the men and women who work every day struggle with higher food and fuel prices, living paycheck to paycheck.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that something is wrong with this picture.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
According to witnesses, former new York City mayor and one-time favorite for the Republican presidential nomination Rudolph Giuliani was seen slumped over and asleep on the Coney Island-bound F train late Tuesday night….For more from The Onion, check out their website here.
Only 17 percent of those polled say the country is headed in the right direction. Not surprisingly, economic woes such as high gas prices were cited by many respondents.
"Poor leadership" was cited by some 23 percent of those polled, another result that's hardly surprising for those of us in the reality-based community.
The general and specific incompetence of the Bush Administration over the last seven-plus years speaks for itself, something AltTulsa believes American voters will remember this November.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
One way to honor Russert's memory is to note his efforts to make the Bush Administration own up to its incessant drumbeat for war. Unlike too many of his media colleagues and the entire conservative establishment, Russert was a skeptic about many of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld talking points.
Here, thanks to the folks at Mother Jones, is a small sample of Russert's good work, and Dick Cheney's erroneous judgment.
MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we're not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don't think it's likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators….
A few days ago, Cheney claimed that the Chinese, on behalf of Cuba, were drilling for oil 60 miles off the U.S. coast. It's a great right-wing story, guaranteed to whip up a furor among conservatives. Other GOP operatives quickly repeated the story, some even moving the Chinese operation closer to Florida.
Too bad it's not true, as even Cheney has been forced to admit. Think Progress has the gory details here.
Remember, Sooner fans, this is the same glorious vice president that Sen. Inhofe brought to Tulsa last year. Talk about the blind leading the blind.
Friday, June 13, 2008
The first one praised the senator's "stubbornness," an obvious appeal to the senator's (supposed) independence and grit. The guy's a fighter for Oklahoma "pork," the ad made clear.
Okay—Jim's our tough guy in D.C. Or is he?
The second ad, out this week, shows Inhofe's (supposed) softer side. In it, a whispering female voice describes the senator's many quiet trips to Africa, where he's portrayed as a behind-the-scenes humanitarian.
Obviously, Inhofe wants it both ways. But the effect of these conflicting messages is likely to produce more confusion than support. Indeed, Inhofe would be better off to stick with his tough guy image, one that's a lot more credible than his new (and highly calculated) embrace of humanitarianism.
Finally, a note to the ad agency handling the Inhofe account: Drop the female whisperer. It's a gimmick, and not one that's going to win friends among Oklahoma voters.
AltTulsa was pleased to attend the group's screening of Third Ward TX earlier this week at the Circle Cinema. The film is a documentary about the restoration of an inner city neighborhood in Houston, a project developed and run by artists—yes, artists.
The film showed how a group of visionary Houston artists worked with Third Ward residents to restore and revitalize a neglected and poverty-stricken neighborhood. In a word, it was inspiring.
Notably, the screening attracted a group of about 50, activists who stuck around after the screening to talk about how the ideas in the film might be applied to Tulsa.
Sustainable Green Country—AT's June selection for Tulsa's best progressive organization.
Monday, June 9, 2008
We don't mind the Oklahoman going digital, since it's clear that newspapers need to do something to keep up with emerging technology and attract younger readers. But neither the Oklahoman's Tulsa ads nor the website itself offers much that is new—or particularly interesting, for that matter.
Let's start with the TV ads. The ads feature a good-looking young couple (she's blond—it's television, after all) talking about all the great features of the new website. Unfortunately, the advertisements promise a lot more than the site itself delivers.
Our recent look at the site found poor production values, awkward sound, irritating ads, and a lot of warmed-over content. For example, NewsOK.com today was promoting the fact that American Idol star Carrie Underwood would be coming to Tulsa in the fall for a concert.
When you combine the site's dullness with the paper's long history of editorial wrongheadedness, the television ads appear to be a waste of good airtime. Instead of ads, the Oklahoman might want to invest is some actual news gathering in the greater Tulsa area.
If NewsOK.com is the best that Oklahoman can come up with, we're afraid their convergence experiment will be a bust. For now, we're sticking to the printed version of the Tulsa World, which at least has some actual professional news on its old-fashioned printed pages.
Friday, June 6, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
In a story on a judge's order to halt some sections of HB 1804, Oklahoma's immigration law, the KRMG ran a sound bite from the bill's author, Rep. Randy Terrill, a Moore Republican.
Not surprisingly, Terrill blasted the judge's decision, pointing out to KRMG listeners that Judge Robin Cauthron was a Clinton appointee to the federal bench.
Terrill's point: Clinton's liberal judge put her liberal philosophy ahead of Terrill's totally legal bill and the will of Oklahoma's voters.
Damn activist, liberal judges! Look how they thumb their noses at the law.
Only one problem with Rep. Terrill's analysis: He was wrong. Judge Cauthron was appointed by George Bush Sr.
Bush Misstated Saddam's Links to Terrorism, Senate Report Finds.
But there's another, more accurate, way to look at the senator's achievements in Washington: it's all about the pork. Contrary to his tight-fisted image, Inhofe is more than willing to open up the federal pocketbook when it benefits his home state.
In other words, Inhofe is hardly a true fiscal conservative. Indeed, he's a old-fashioned, pork-barrel legislator—the kind of person he likes to pretend he's not. But his ad is a terrific demonstration that he's not what he claims to be.