Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tulsa's Robert Spoo has some interesting observations. Much less interesting are those of Sen. Jim Inhofe, who's still playing partisan politics. But with Inhofe, that's always the case.
The latest example comes as the former Bush adviser got caught changing his view of the kind of intellect it takes to make it through the Ivy League.
Speaking this week at a debate in New York, Rove claimed that Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor was "not necessarily" "very smart." When host Charlie Rose noted that she attended Princeton and Yale Law School, Rove replied that you you don't have to be smart to attend a top school.
Unfortunately for Rove, he's on record arguing exactly the opposite point in defending the Ivy League credentials of George W. Bush. In an interview before the debate, Rove cited Bush’s experience at Harvard and Yale to mock claims that Bush is stupid. “The myth was that this guy…, was not smart.”
In December 2008, Rove also touted Bush’s time at Harvard and Yale in a Wall Street Journal column, writing, "You don't make it through either unless you are a reader."
You can't have it both ways. So which is it, Karl?
Monday, May 25, 2009
Speaking Friday to Fox News windbag Glenn Beck, Brietbart said that Oprah Winfrey is the real power behind the Obama throne.
Here's the oh-so-brilliant quote:
Well, this doesn’t surprise me. Does it surprise you? This is the Oprah Winfrey presidency. She was his biggest supporter, and I think that she’s been behind the scenes orchestrating this presidency as a media presidency, photo ops, giving billions of dollars of gifts away to people and to companies like General Electric….
Sunday, May 24, 2009
More signs that the Oklahoma Republican Party is out of touch with the voters: In Utah (Utah!) the Republican governor says the GOP needs to move toward the center.
Governor Challenges Utah's Conservative Verities
SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. of Utah, a hugely popular Republican from one of the nation’s most conservative states, made waves and headlines in recent months by suggesting that his party would need to move toward the center to start winning national elections again.With his support for President Obama's economic stimulus plan, his successful effort to ease the state’s method of regulating liquor sales and his advocacy of civil unions to protect same-sex couples, Mr. Huntsman ignited a debate over what the Republican Party here should be.
Here in Soonerland, the GOP keeps pushing right. But the American public isn't following. Even in Oklahoma, the hard-right pitch seems to being losing steam.
One of the GOP's most respected members has some advice for the party. Here's the summary of Colin Powell's comments earlier today:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican Party needs to broaden its base rather than move farther to the political right to make gains against President Barack Obama's Democrats, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Sunday.
"Let's debate the future of the party. And let's let all the segments of the party come in," Powell, a Republican who served in President George W. Bush's Cabinet but endorsed Obama last year, told CBS's "Face the Nation."
"And, if we don't do that, if we don't reach out more, the party is going to be sitting on a very, very narrow base. You can only do two things with a base. You can sit on it and watch the world go by, or you can build on the base," Powell added.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Texas Constructs U.S. Border Wall To Keep Out Unwanted Americans
The Texas-U.S. border wall will protect Texans from foreigners who do not share their beliefs and customs.
WICHITA FALLS, TX—Calling it an essential step toward securing the Texas border and protecting his people's way of life, Gov. Rick Perry announced Tuesday the completion of a 1,953-mile wall designed to keep out millions of unwanted Americans.
According to Perry, the 75-foot-high barricade running along the northern boundary is the culmination of more than 160 years of escalating tensions between Texas and the United States.
We attended the Friday night screening and are pleased to recommend the film. It's a love story, more or less, about two old friends on a journey across Oklahoma. Harjo uses the journey to work out a complicated relationship between the pair, the dying Frankie and his one-time lover Irene.
The film is about love, forgiveness, family, friendship, regret, and even place. To his credit, Harjo uses rural Oklahoma to good effect; his camera captures the stark beauty of the fields and fences along the back roads of the Sooner state.
The camera also lingers lovingly over the creased face of Richard Ray Whitman, the actor who plays Frankie. There's a special magic in some of these closeups, as if the camera itself is caressing the damaged man himself, trying to save what cannot be saved.
Harjo's film played at Sundance, where it was a crowd favorite. We loved the music in the film as well. And don't miss the restaurant scene—it's a hoot.
Barking Water plays all week at the Circle. For more on the screenings, click here.
Here's the sadly ironic story from USA Today.
Liberty University, the university founded by the late Christian evangelist Rev. Jerry Falwell, has revoked its recognition of the campus Democratic Party club, saying “we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by” the university, The News & Advance, of Lynchburg, Va, reports.
“It kind of happened out of nowhere,” said Brian Diaz, president of the student Democratic Party organization that the school had formally recognized in October.
Diaz, the paper reports, said he got the news May 15 in an e-mail from Mark Hine, vice president of student affairs.
According to the e-mail, the club must stop using the university’s name, holding meetings on campus, or advertising events, the newspaper reports.
Hine said late Thursday that the university could not sanction an official club that supported Democratic candidates, the newspaper reports, but stresses that "we are in no way attempting to stifle free speech.”
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Thanks to our time in the navy, we actually knew about the place and knew that the U.S. military had made it an important base in the region.
What we didn't know was how the U.S. and the island's ruling power, Great Britain, had established a military presence on Diego Garcia. That's the sorry subject of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia by David Vine, just published by Princeton University Press.
We learned about the book and the ugly history of the military involvement there in a review by Jonathan Freedland in the May 28 issue of the New York Review of Books.
In a nutshell, the problem is this: neither the UK nor the US paid much, if any, heed to the rights of the native people. The Chagossian people once lived something akin to a tropic paradise. Though they were hardly rich, they enjoyed a life of "lush plenty" and "relative freedom," Freedland writes.
That all changed when the U.S. decided it needed a powerful military base on the island, the better to keep an eye on the Persian Gulf (read: Iraq and Iran). The locals were simply removed from the island. Now, years after the fact, the Chagossians are spread around the world, including a group living outside London and working at menial jobs.
According to Freedland, this story "is one of the more shocking tales of modern-day imperialism." After reading this compelling review, we agree.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
In a world of iPhones, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, it sometimes seems like we are among the hearty few in Tulsa (or anywhere else) who bother to read any books at all, much less a novel.
But we just finished off Larry McMurtry's western Boone's Lick, a story about a lonely wife's family trek from Missouri to Wyoming in search of her delinquent husband.
We can't say this is a McMurtry masterpiece (go to Lonesome Dove for that), but it's a well-told story with some strong characters and a ring of truth.
The "truth" part comes in the form of real historical persons and events that turn up here, including Wild Bill Hickok, Red Cloud, the Bozeman Trail, and the ill-fated Fort Phil Kearny.
Both in real life and in the novel, Fort Phil Kearny is where a brash Civil War veteran Col. Fetterman led his men into an disastrous ambush, resulting in a one-sided Indian victory ten years before Custer's doomed command at the Little Bighorn.
There's no ocean in Tulsa, of course, but this is good beach reading—and we mean this in a good way. Check out Boone's Lick, published by Simon & Schuster in 2000.
Here's the lead, which suggests some fascinating new research:
NEW YORK (AP) -- The nearly complete and remarkably preserved skeleton of a small, 47 million-year-old creature found in Germany was displayed Tuesday by scientists who said it would help illuminate the evolutionary roots of monkeys, apes and humans. Experts praised the discovery for the level of detail it provided but said it was far from a breakthrough that would solve the puzzles of early evolution.The full story (and an amazing photo) are on the Times website.
But it is unfair and dishonest to criticize Pelosi's looks, which is what some in the media insist on doing. Our friends over at Media Matters have documented this tendency, one that misses such things as actual policy and dwells on the superficial.
How exactly does this sort of argument advance political discourse? To our way of thinking, political debate is not worth much when it's about "looks" and similar matters. Unfortunately, such is the state of much broadcast "analysis" these days.
Here's a summary from Media Matters:
Commenting on the controversy surrounding what Nancy Pelosi was told about the use of harsh interrogation techniques, numerous media figures have resorted to attacking Pelosi's looks, for example, by characterizing her as being incapable of "human facial expression," referring to her "fashionable" "Botox shots," and calling her a "hag."
We haven't stopped by since the construction stopped, but tulsagentleman says the place was busy when he was there. Check out his photos here.
Monday, May 18, 2009
In short order, we hope, we'll be back to form, bedeviling talk radio blowhards and poking fun a Oklahoma Republican bigwigs, some of whom richly deserve the lampooning they get here and elsewhere.
As Arnold says in one of those horrible movies, "I'll be back."
Friday, May 15, 2009
A National Journal poll of top GOP political insiders and strategists finds that Republicans believe former Vice President Dick Cheney has hurt the party since leaving office.
Of 100 insiders polled, fully 57 percent believe Cheney has hurt the party, and only 33 percent believe he has helped. The poll also includes quotes from unnamed insiders.
Anything that reminds the public of the Bush administration harms the party's ability to turn the page. If he'd had any concern for his public image when he was in office, he wouldn't have to worry as much about defending his reputation now.
Some quotes from the poll:"There is nothing Dick Cheney can say or do to help the Republican Party today. The best thing he can do is disappear for the next 10 years."
"Let's face it: The guy doesn't know anything about winning elections outside of Wyoming."
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
It's no secret that the big credit card companies can (and do) jerk their customers around. Miss a payment by even one day and you'll pay a hefty penalty. Your interest rate is likely to skyrocket as well.
Oklahoma's two senators, Inhofe and Coburn, sided with the banks. Of course they did. It's the Oklahoma GOP way: always side with the big money over the little guys.
To be fair, far too many Democrats sided with the banks as well. Thanks for nothing, guys.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Check it out tonight on OETA (Channel 11 in Tulsa) at 8 p.m. The Frontline website on Madoff's operation is here.
The paper cited Morrison's Twitter and Facebook posts as sources for the news. Her current contract expires June 30.
KTUL laid off 13 employees in October 2008 and a smaller number in January. KOTV Channel 6 has also cut its staff recently as advertising dried up.
The World also reports major losses at Cox Radio, owner of several Tulsa stations, including KRMG, the local home of Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talkers.
Net income for Cox dropped 69 percent for the quarter compared to last year. Cox cited "slower spending on advertising," according to the AP report.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Following an appeals hearing yesterday, Saberi was freed today. Saberi worked for the NPR and the BBC, among other news outlets.
NPR has the story here.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
You know the column. It's the one published in January in which Bates made a number of charges about the Tulsa World and its circulation figures. The World promptly sued and UTW soon retreated. So did Bates, but it took him a few weeks longer.
For the record, here's some of what UTW publisher Keith Skrzypczak wrote in his letter to readers in January:
We now understand that information in Michale D. Bates' column about the Tulsa World's circulation numbers and audits was incorrect.Not matter how you slice it, this wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement of Bates and his UTW column.
Further, Urban Tulsa Weekly has no reason to suspect or suggest that the Tulsa World's circulation figures were inflated. We regret and retract that suggestion.
Here's the latest crackpot news report, lifted from a conservative website and circulating like a virus on the Interweb:
Obama funds $20M in tax payer dollars to emmigrate (sic) Hamas Refugees to the USA. This is the news that didn't make the headlines...Oh right, the mainstream media has buckled under to the fascist/communist/socialist regime in Washington and won't tell us the truth!
Well, no. Turns out that this factoid is made up and misconstrued. It's wrong. The actual facts, as we like to say, are different.
The PolitiFact Truth-0-Meter (published in the right-hand column below) has details. They call it "pants on fire" lying.
This is good news for Saberi, who had been harassed by the Iranian government and imprisoned as an American spy. Saberi, who grew up in North Dakota, has reported for National Public Radio from the Middle East.
The NY Times has the story here.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Too bad some of his stories don't pan out.
The latest case in point is a Politico story, repeated on McCarville's site, on the White House press corps. According to the report, reporters stand when President Obama walks into the room, but failed to do so for President Bush.
We knew it! Those white wine sippin' Ivy League reporters are flaunting their liberal, commie bias!
If only the facts didn't get in the way. Alas, facts count and oversimplified and simple-minded cheap shots are, well, wrong.
Ignore Politico. Read the real story here.
Monday, May 4, 2009
There is no evidence more visible that the American people are already rebelling against the far-left agenda than Senator Arlen Specter switching parties to become a Democrat. He did this for one reason, and that is his advisers told him he couldn’t retain his Senate seat as a Republican. In other words, the same people who supported Senator Specter six years ago have soundly rejected him today.Americablog's John Aravosis offered this response to Inhofe's impeccable logic:
That, my friends, sounds like 1994. The extreme liberal agenda is not sellable to the American people. Just wait and see.
Well, in that case, I don't think we've lost nearly as much as we deserve. Perhaps Olympia Snowe and a few more Republicans can join the Democratic Party, and then really teach the Dems a lesson.
And let me add, who do we Democrats have in the Senate who is as nutty, and ridiculous - not to mention, angry and intolerant - as people like Jim Inhofe? The Republican party is all leftovers now.
The former Tulsa mayor (sadly, it's true) has trouble with all sorts of things, things like facts. Contrary to the scientific consensus global warming and climate change, for instance, Inhofe sneers and thumbs his nose. He don't need no stinkin' science.
Then there's the Pentagon policy known as "Don't ask, don't tell." Obama opposes it, as do a majority of the American public.
Inhofe disagrees. But there's good evidence to the contrary. Read it here.
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Thanks to eight years of mistakes and national mismanagement by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove and many others, more and more voters are deserting the party.
Check out the numbers in this story from Nate Silver from the political website, FiveThirtyEight.com:
Republican party identification, which had already been at fairly low levels, in fact appears to have slumped further since Inauguration Day, although the gains are being had not among Democrats but by voters who identify themselves as independent.
Several polls conducted within the last week have attracted attention for their notably low levels of self-reported Republican voters. In particular, ABC/WaPo reported the number of Republicans as 21 percent, CBS/NYT at 20 percent, NBC/WSJ also at 20 percent (not counting "leaners"), and Pew at 22 percent.
FOX, by contrast, which generally reports higher numbers of Republicans and Democrats but fewer independents, put the number of GOPers at 30 percent (although this nevertheless represents a decline from most of their recent polling). Rasmussen put the number of Republicans at 33.2 percent in March, essentially unchanged from recent months; they have yet to report their results from April.
The following chart combines the numbers from these six organizations since August 2008, while adding LOESS regression trendlines.
Per the LOESS curves, the number of Republicans has decreased by about 5 percent since Inauguration Day, from roughly 27 percent to 22 percent. The number of Democrats has also decreased slightly, however, from 38 percent to 35-36 percent. The gains have been made by independents, whose numbers have increased from 30 percent to about 36 percent, such that there are now roughly equal numbers of independents and Democrats.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Okay, we know that Okies have no room to talk. Our senators, after all, are Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn. Still, Rep. Bachmann can hold her own with the loopiest of the Republican loopy leaders.
Check out writer Eric Alterman's dissection of Bachmann here.
What's the state of the GOP? Not good. Not good at all.
Former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr said Saturday it’s hard to “overestimate the damage” that’s been inflicted on the Republican Party — not only with this week's defection of Sen. Arlen Specter, but also the “lack of any coherent philosophy, vision or leadership.”
“The Republican Party is in very deep trouble right now,” Barr said in an interview with CNN.
Barr, who was once a loyal soldier in the GOP, joined the Libertarian Party in 2006 and was the party’s presidential candidate in 2008.***
Barr added that Specter’s decision is “just another sign that the Republican Party nationally lacks any semblance of leadership.” Democrats, he said, also don’t have a coherent agenda, but they have “something that Republicans absolutely lack.”
“They have a charismatic leader and they have party discipline. The Republican Party has none of that,” he said.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Joyce talks about the Sooner state's radical and populist past in a broadcast interview with host Amy Goodman on the Democracy Now website. You can view the video and read the transcript of Joyce's talk here.
Joyce, professor emeritus of history at East Central University in Ada, put together a volume of 14 essays that offer a radically different view of Oklahoma history and politics.
The selections include essays about Oklahoma Vietnam veterans against the war, Native American rights, economic history and poverty in Oklahoma, and even a piece on liberal Presbyterianism (who knew?) in Soonerland.
For Tulsa readers, there's also piece by Tulsa Unitarian Universalist minister Marlin Lavanhar titled, "Tulsa: A Divinely Inspired City."