Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Latest Conservative Argument: Roll Back Women's Suffrage

We love it when the Right gets nostalgic for the delights of the nineteenth century. Why back in the Good Ole Days, they say, women knew their place. They didn't get involved in politics, business and the like.

That stuff is really for men, just like the Good Lord meant it to be.

Think we're kidding? Sadly, we're not. Conservative National Review writer John Derbyshire wants to go back to the days before suffrage, to those glory days of the Gilded Age, when men smoked big cigars and women stayed in the kitchen (and the bedroom).

Think Progress has details. The story is here.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Recent Reading: Reporter Anne Garrel's 'Naked in Baghdad'

AltTulsa has been working our way through a stack of Iraq War books lately, the better to understand what happened in that war—and why.

Our latest volume is Naked in Baghdad, an account of the Iraq invasion by Anne Garrels of National Public Radio, who was in the Iraqi capital before, during and after the U.S. attack in 2003.

Garrels puts a human face on the citizens of Baghdad as well as the international press gang that found itself holed up at the Palestine Hotel. She describes the hardships of reporting under the suspicious eye of Saddam Hussein's minders and bureaucrats.

Needless to say, Iraqi corruption, bribery and harassment were part of the daily ritual.

One of the delights of the story is Amer, her driver, minder and fixer. He proves invaluable to Garrels when living conditions in Baghdad deteriorate and the search for news becomes nearly impossible. Garrels makes clear that Amer is a complex and honorable man, torn between his distaste for Saddam and his loyalty to his nation.

Naked in Baghdad is a compelling book, enlivened by Garrels's gritty personality and, back home, her husband's support.

Garrel's is one tough reporter and it's clear that she risked her life to bring the invasion to millions of U.S. listeners.

GOP Rep. Franks Backs Down on Obama 'Enemy of Humanity' Charge

The current version of rapid Republican nuttiness continues unabated. Not content to talk about facts and reality, the GOP spin machine keeps inventing stories to smear the Democratic president.

Latest example: The GOP's Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona who called President Obama "an enemy of humanity."

Oh really? Can you back that up, Rep. Franks? No? That's exactly what we thought.

For the record, Rep. Franks was trying to make an abortion point. Since he didn't have the facts on his side, so he overstated his case. He has now clarified his remarks. Details here:

Monday, September 28, 2009

Right-wing Hysteria Gets a Little More Dangerous: Guns and Crazies

The U.S. has elections as a way of peacefully transferring power. One side wins, the other loses and life goes on.

Every two years, we get to vote for congress again. Every four years, we can change presidents if we choose.

But some of the Right don't seem to agree. They talk overheated nonsense and urge violent revolution. (We are not making this up.) Obama's a socialist. He's a Nazi. He's a foreigner. He's un-American.

Well, no. But he was elected president and he's the legitimate holder of that office, no matter what fantasies the 'birthers' believe.

We had an election and Obama won. If you don't like it, protest all you want. But don't threaten violence and promote violence. It's way past time for some sensible Republicans to help stamp out the nonsense.

If you don't believe us, check this link out. It's as nutty as it is scary. Details here.

World's Best Health Care? It's Not in Texas

Conservatives are always claiming that the U.S. has the best health care system in the world. The statistics don't bear this out, but it's an appealing fantasy.

As it happens, we have the best health care system money can buy, which means that those with the money can have great health care.

And if you're poor, well, you probably didn't deserve health care after all. It's your own damn fault.

The current system leaves out millions of people who need medical attention. In Houston, for example, thousands turned up this weekend for free medical care, just the tip of the iceberg of Americans unserved or under served by expensive medical and insurance costs today.

Our friends at Think Progress have the details. Read all about it here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Liberal Activist: Tulsa's Ed Kimmel Makes News at Washington Protest

Whatever its merits as a political town, almost no one sees Tulsa as a hot bed of progressive politics. Yet even Tulsa produces some powerful liberal voices, people like former Tulsan and Central High School graduate Ed Kimmel.

Kimmel, now a lawyer, is a progressive activist who doesn't shy away from a good argument. In fact, he made a splash the other day at the 9/12 rally in Washington, a gathering of anti-Obama and other conservatives.

Kimmel's liberal activism and support for a public option in health care got him some interesting press coverage, as well as a YouTube video posting. Check out the full story here.

Colbert Takes on the Race Baiters

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Beck Backlash: Conservatives Go After Glenn Beck's Racist Clap-Trap

Reality v. Fox News: Minnesota's Rep. Bachmann Strikes Again

The far right fringe of the Republican Party has its share of goofballs and morons, of course, but few of them reach the level of idiocy of Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota.

Besides a lack of reality-based thinking, Rep. Bachmann also has a knack for gross overstatement and hyperbolic rhetoric. From recent reports we've seen, even some mainstream conservatives are distancing themselves from the likes of Rep. Bachmann. Apparently, they worried that she's giving the GOP a bad name. (Imagine that!)

Now we see that Rep. Bachmann is sweet-talking the blowhards at Fox News. This week she praised the factually challenged rants of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly.

This is hardly surprising, of course, since Beck and O'Reilly provide fodder for the right-wing spin machine every day, even when they have little or nothing to scream about. That why neither of them is taken seriously in the real world, a place where facts actually matter.

Our friends at Think Progress have the details here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gay Marriage Is Fading as a 'Values' Issue

The GOP loves t0 play "wedge" politics. Find an inflammatory issue, whip up some irrational hysteria, and—presto!—you can leverage that for big votes in many conservative states.

Now, however, one of those issues seems to be losing its divisiveness. Read the FiveThirtyEight report here: Gay Marriage Is Fading.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Recent Reading: Reporter Rick Atkinson's Iraq Invasion Chronicle

Most readers won't recognize Rick Atkinson's name, but they are likely to know the subject of his recent book, an army officer named Gen. David Petraeus.

Gen. Petraeus is one of the principal figures in Atkinson's book, In the Company of Soldiers, an "instant history" of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Atkinson, a Washington Post reporter, was one of hundreds of embedded reporters who went to war.

Unlike the other journalists, Atkinson was embedded with the commander of the 101st Airborne Division, Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus. As a "fly on the wall" in Petraeus's command, Atkinson provides a close-up portrait of this tough-minded and highly competitive officer, man who went on to become the top U.S. military official in Iraq.

Atkinson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his World War II history, An Army at Dawn, provides a top-down view of the invasion, giving readers sense of how modern warfare is conducted from the staff level.

That's interesting, of course, though Atkinson's position keeps him well away from the front lines. That means he loses much of the emotional intensity of combat, details that can be found in many other Iraq war books.

Nevertheless, Atkinson is a strong reporter and his observations of Petraeus and his staff appear to be accurate and thoughtful. On that basis alone, In the Company of Soldiers is worth reading.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fox Fun Facts: Making Up Stuff About Obama, Part 263

Those wacky Fox News folks are always good for a laugh.

Instead of reporting useless ole things like facts, they fill the air with commentators who can say whatever pops into their head. It's a dangerous strategy, but Fox viewers like it that way. Fox gives 'em stuff they agree with, even if it doesn't happen to have a basis in reality.

A recent example: Wingbag Tammy Bruce, last night on The O'Reilly Factor, speaking about the president:
But ultimately, it comes down to his inability to govern, and the fact that he seems to have, it seems to me, some malevolence toward this country, which is unabated.
Oh right! Obama hates the USA because he's a secret Muslim! No, he's secret communist! Or is it a secret fascist?

Dang it, he's something bad, we just know it!

Why look how many Republicans he's locked up in his secret leftist, fascist jails! Look how he's closed down all the newspapers and right-wing blogs and Fox News!

Oh wait. He hasn't done anything of the sort.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Maureen Dowd Nails It: The Paranoids Can't Accept Reality

A clear-eyed excerpt from Maureen Dowd's column today in the New York Times:
I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer — the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids — had much to do with race.

I tended to agree with some Obama advisers that Democratic presidents typically have provoked a frothing response from paranoids — from Father Coughlin against F.D.R. to Joe McCarthy against Truman to the John Birchers against J.F.K. and the vast right-wing conspiracy against Bill Clinton.

But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president — no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq — convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.

“A lot of these outbursts have to do with delegitimizing him as a president,” said Congressman Jim Clyburn, a senior member of the South Carolina delegation. Clyburn, the man who called out Bill Clinton on his racially tinged attacks on Obama in the primary, pushed Pelosi to pursue a formal resolution chastising Wilson.

More Dumb Signs from the Tea Party Gang

Those incredibly witty and well-informed Tea Party types made noise Saturday with their protests, signs and demonstrations.

Too bad these folks live in a nearly fact-free universe, a place devoid of standard reasoning and logic. Some of their signs make the point quite well.

First, let's speak ill of the dead, always a witty way to win over your opponents: "Bury Obamacare with Kennedy."

Second, let's conflate right-wing German authoritarianism with Obama's somewhat left-of-center policies and actions, despite a huge number of philosophical and practical differences: "Hilter was a member of the National Socialist Party."

Finally, let's repeat the lie about death panels because, well, we can't be bothered to read or understand the truth: "Obamacare is elderly suicide."

Glenn Beck's Mob Rule: Commentary from The Daily Beast

Spot-on commentary from John Avlon, writing for The Daily Beast:
Republicans are now benefiting from the tens of thousands of angry white people who descended on Washington over the weekend-but they've tapped into something ugly that they can't control.

Obama Derangement Syndrome is establishing itself as a potent political force, able to rally tens of thousands of citizens to the Washington Mall after Glenn Beck’s call. Joe Wilson’s outburst isn’t an embarrassment of incivility to these folks; it is a rallying cry for an army of useful idiots. But Republicans will soon find that they cannot contain or moderate this strain—while Democrats won’t understand what hit them.

The wave of white people that descended on Washington, D.C., this Saturday wasn’t motivated by simple racism, as some liberals might wish—at least that’s what the lady waving the Confederate flag told me. No, this was something else: a pent-up frustration at unprecedented Washington overspending and an individualistic resentment of the welfare state, all mixed with a dose of self-referential patriotism and a spicy dash of paranoia.
Posted using ShareThis

Dumbest Tea Party Signs, Part 1

The Tea Party crowd was out in full force Saturday, desperately trying to drum up support for the idea that President Obama is fostering socialism, fascism, communism, and every other horrible "ism" on an unsuspecting nation.

It's a gimmick with little resemblance to reality, but the Tea Party types have convinced themselves that they are the nation's only true patriots.

Here's a sample of their exceptionally keen political wisdom. Under a photo of Obama as The Joker, the protester had this incredible Nazi comparison :
When we smell the burning flesh from the ovens it will be too late for us all.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

How 'bout Those No. 5 Cow Pokes?

OSU's Cowboys went into their Saturday game at Stillwater ranked No. 5 nationally. Whoo-hoo. Houston is a world-class doormat. Go 'Pokes!

Oops! Breakdowns and miscues sink the 'Pokes. Houston wins! The OSU defense gets an F.

Despite the hoopla last week, Coach Mike Gundy's empire in Stillwater isn't quite what is ought to be.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oklahoma Poll Puts Bartlett Ahead of Adelson

The Tulsa World reported today that Dewey Bartlett is 10 points ahead of Tom Adelson in the race to be Tulsa's next mayor.

The poll results show Bartlett with 46 percent, Adelson at 36 percent, and the "Don't know/refused" category at 18 percent.

The Oklahoma Poll was taken before Tuesday's mayoral primary, a fact which certainly colors the results.

The World also noted that the race is a rematch of the 2004 race when Adelson beat Bartlett for the District 33 state senate race.

Both Bartlett, a Republican, and Adelson, a Democrat, have raised a substantial amount of money for the mayoral race.

Bartlett has the advantage in name recognition, since his family has a long history in Republican politics in Oklahoma.

PolitiFact Checks Joe Wilson's 'Lie' Claim: Obama Wins, Wilson Loses

The fact-checkers at PolitiFact have done their homework and—guess what?Rep. Joe Wilson's verbal attack on President Obama was wrong.

That's right, Sooner fans, the GOP noise machine got it wrong again. Like many on the far Right, Wilson would rather lie about health care reform that actually do anything constructive.

The straight story is here: Joe Wilson said Obama lied, but he didn't.

Posted using ShareThis

Making Stuff Up: Conservative Washington Times Writer Curl Claims Obama Cut Bipartisanship Line He Delivered

AltTulsa has a lot of fun reading the conservative press. Often, when they don't have the facts on their side, they simply make stuff up.

It's dishonest, of course, but why let the facts stand in the way of your beliefs? Who needs those pesky facts anyway? Facts are for liberal losers!

Still, today's example from the conservative Washington Times is blatant. The sad details are here: Curl claims Obama "cut out" bipartisanship line he actually delivered.

Posted using ShareThis

'Sour Grape' Cartoon: Tulsa's Martinson Takes a Hit

Editorial cartoonists have a great job. You can sit at your drawing table and think up clever ways to lampoon the high and mighty and the arrogant.

So when Tulsa Councilor Bill Martinson went down to defeat in the city primary this week, Bruce Plante, cartoonist for the Tulsa World, couldn't resist turning Martinson's own words back at him.

Take a look for yourself here.

HuffPost Blogger: Rep. Wilson Is the Poster Child for the Republican Party

Boorish behavior is hardly new in American politics, but some in the Republican Party appear to be pushing the limits.

We're speaking , of course, of South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson, who heckled the president last night when Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress. Wilson has since apologized for his outburst.

As many fact-checkers have noted this morning, Rep. Wilson was not only rude, he was wrong on the facts.

Here's an excellent critique of Wilson's juvenile grandstanding by Huffington Post blogger Robert Creamer: Wilson Is the Poster "Child" for the New Republican Party.

Posted using ShareThis

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

California Meltdown: Dirty-Talking GOP Lawmaker Resigns

Here we go again: The Republican "family values" types who can't live up to their ideals.

They don't even try. Apparently, it's do as I say, not as I do. Morality is for the common people.

Here's today's GOP hypocrite, courtesy of The Daily Beast:
Countless politicians have been caught in awkward positions in earshot of a hot mic, but the case of Michael Duvall, a Republican California Assemblyman, outdoes them all: Following a shockingly graphic conversation caught-on-tape conversation about sexual adventures with two women—one of whom is reportedly an energy lobbyist and neither of whom is his wife—Duvall resigned from office on Wednesday. Duvall, who is vice chair of the Committee on Utilities & Commerce and a champion of “family values,” whispered such raunchy comments as, "So, I am getting into spanking her. Yeah, I like it. I like spanking her."
There's more, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dewey Up: Conservative Candidates Fall in GOP Mayoral Primary

The far-right wing of the Tulsa Republican Party failed to stop the Dewey Bartlett freight train Tuesday as the Tulsa oilman blew past conservative challengers Chris Medlock and Anna Falling.

Michael Bates of Batesline and other Tulsa conservative bloggers have been promoting Medlock for weeks, an effort that included attacks on Bartlett as insufficiently conservative to be a true Republican.

It didn't work. Bartlett received 5,000 more votes than Medlock, with Falling nearly 10,000 votes further down. Despite all their noise, conservative bloggers and their allies remain a political minority in Tulsa.

The Tulsa World reported these vote totals Tuesday night:
Dewey Bartlett Jr.: 12,061
Chris Medlock: 7,004
Anna Falling: 2,178

Curmudgeon's Advice to Tulsa: Please Elect Anna Falling Mayor

The Sensuous Curmudgeon isn't serious, but he says he really, really wants Tulsa voters to give creationist Anna Falling a chance in the mayor's office.

It will take Divine Intervention to make that happen, but if it did, the Curmudgeon would have a field day making fun of our new mayor, as well as the entire city of Tulsa.

Read the Curmudgeon's nasty comments here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's Horrible: Obama's 'Indoctrination' Speech to Students Calls on Them to Be Responsible

The text of President Obama's school speech has been released and—surprise!—it's hardly the "socialist indoctrination" speech his critics claimed he would deliver.

The fear-mongers were wrong again. (A lot of Republicans owe the White House an apology, including Tulsa Rep. John Sullivan.)

The President—gasp!—wants students to study hard, stay in school and be responsible!

Here's a sample of Obama's "socialism:"
I'm here because I want to talk with you about your education and what's expected of all of you in this new school year.

Now I've given a lot of speeches about education. And I've talked a lot about responsibility.

I've talked about your teachers' responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn.

I've talked about your parents' responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don't spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

I've talked a lot about your government's responsibility for setting high standards, supporting teachers and principals, and turning around schools that aren't working where students aren't getting the opportunities they deserve.

But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world - and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.

More Evidence Rep. John Sullivan is a Partisan Political Hack

You don't have to be a Rhodes Scholar to represent Tulsa in Congress. In the case of John Sullivan, you don't even have to a passing acquaintance with the truth.

Here's a quote Sullivan provided the Tulsa World about President Obama's speech to school children set for Tuesday:
The administration believes that if they can reach our kids, they can gain an Obama advocate in every household.
Oh really? But does our esteemed Congressman provide a single shed of evidence to support this outlandish accusation? Well, no. Sullivan is talking nonsense, of course, making stuff up to play to the fears of his most partisan supporters.

This is not thoughtful political leadership and it's not good for the body politic. It's political gamesmanship, the sort of Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, take-no-prisoners lie that the GOP is infamous for.

Even Sullivan should know better. Sadly for Tulsa and Oklahoma, he doesn't. Sullivan should be ashamed of himself.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bush 41 Speaks: Unmasking the Right's Lies about the Obama School Speech

Tulsa Poll Shows No Surprises: Bartlett Overwhelms Medlock, Falling

Big surprise in the GOP race for mayor—not!

The marginal candidates and their lackeys keep howling in the wind, but a new poll shows that Dewey Bartlett is well positioned to trounce Chris Medlock and Anna Falling in Tuesday's Republican primary race.

AltTulsa has argued all along that Bartlett's cash advantage, name recognition and long-time family ties would make him a formidable candidate for mayor, a prediction the poll, published in the Tulsa World, supports.

The Oklahoma poll puts Bartlett at 53 percent, with Medlock at 15 percent. Anna Falling, the only other candidate to gain more than 1 percent of the vote in a crowded field, garnered only 7 percent.

We don't have a crystal ball, of course, but we feel saying that Medlock is headed for yet another losing effort, one of several in his recent political history. While we're at it, here's a little advice for Chris: Might be time to find a actual career and get a real job.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Joe Scarborough Pushes Back against Talk Radio's School Lies

PolitiFact Slams GOP Charges on Obama's School Speech

AT believes in basic notions of truth and honesty. But the Republican Party—not so much.

This explains why PolitiFact gave its highest dishonor—the Pants of Fire award—to the Republican Party of Florida for its fear mongering over President Obama's plan to speak to school children next week.

The Florida overreaction is one of many recent examples of hysterical GOP screeching about anything linked to the Obama Administration. Instead of policy disagreements or fact-based arguments, the Right insists that it's all a secret socialist plot to destroy America.

But it's a transparent lie, as PolitFact douments. Even Oklahoma City political blogger Mike McCarville, is hawking this nonsense. He should know better.

You can read the PolitiFact report here: Republican Party of Florida says Obama will "indoctrinate" school children with "socialist ideology".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Campaign Update: Bartlett Swamps Medlock in Mayoral Fundraising

The Tulsa GOP money machine is putting its dollars into the mayoral campaign of Dewey Bartlett Jr., leaving challenger Chris Medlock well behind in the dash for cash.

The Tulsa World reported today that Bartlett has raised $286,000 to Medlock's $48,000 campaign war chest.

Even worse for Medlock, the report shows that he has spend most of his money, more than $45,000. Bartlett has well over $100,000 on hand—a huge advantage as the campaign enters its final phase.

Anna Falling, another Republican contender, didn't file the required report, the World reported.

The Five Biggest Lies about Health Care Reform

We like a vigorous debate. Democracy, after all, needs the vitality of argument and discussion in order to seek the truth and best serve its citizens.

We don't like lying—making stuff up and pretending that the lies are legitimate parts of the political process.

Courtesy of Newsweek, here are five major whoppers in the health care debate. The Daily Kos story, with a link to Newsweek, is here: Five Biggest Lies: Brought to you by the GOP.

Back to the Future: Some in GOP Want Cheney in 2012. No Kidding!

We didn't see this one coming. Despite eight years of secrecy and thumbing his nose at the public, Dick Cheney still has supporters. Some of them want Cheney to run for president.

As members of the loyal opposition, we love the idea. Cheney has high negatives among our friends, which is why we'd love to see him at the top of the GOP ticket.

Here's a report on the Cheney movement from The Huffington Post: Cheney In 2012? Some Key GOPers Aren't Kidding.

Texas Secessionists: Why Do They Hate America?

The wild-eyed conservative radicals are out there, and—guess what?— they hate America. They really do.

The Texas branch of wackos rallied in Austin the other day not to show their patriotic pride or argue for peaceful, democratic change, but to urge secession.

Way to go, fellows. Instead of working for a better nation or a more just society, they want to take their ball and go home. Talk about sore losers.

The Raw Story has the details here.