Friday, July 31, 2009

Poll Shows GOP Voters as 'Birther' Believers

Ah, yes, the fantasy world of right-wing wishful thinking is taking on a life of its own.

We're talking, of course, about the continuing nonsense pushed by some on the conservative end of the political spectrum (example: Tulsa's Jim Inhofe) that Barack Obama isn't really president because he wasn't born in the U.S.

Now a new poll shows that—surprise!—a big slice of Republicans (mostly in the South) believe this B.S. and another large slice isn't really sure.

No wonder the Republican Party is a mess these days—many of its leaders (Example: Roy Blunt) live in a world in which anything might be true if you just keep saying it loud enough.

The poll numbers can be found here.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Inhofe Makes National News as, Yes, 'The Craziest Senator'

Tulsans have known for a long time that Sen. Jim Inhofe is, well, not the sharpest Crayon in the box.

Now, thanks to Inhofe's considerable talent for spouting nonsense and making outrageous statements, the whole nation and sit back and enjoy "the craziest senator."

In Oklahoma, of course, being a right-wing political crackpot gets you elected to high public office. In Inhofe's case, he's crazy like a fox even if he's rarely right about much of anything.

But don't take our word for it. Read all about Oklahoma's senior senator here: The Craziest Senator.

Bernie Goldberg's Wing-nut Explanation for the Wing-nut Birther Claims about Obama

This is rich.

Speaking to Fox News bully Bill O'Reilly, conspiracy theorist Bernie Goldberg offered his own completely original (and fully idiotic) explanation for the persistence of the right-wing idea that President Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore not really president.

Apparently, it's the fault of the White House, their ingenious way of demonizing right-wing wackos and making regular Republicans look bad.

Judge Goldberg's "theory" for yourself:
I have a theory. And the theory is this: That the Chicago Mafia inside the White House want to keep this crazy controversy going. Because the longer it goes, the better the chance that they will conflate the crazy right-wing fringe with regular conservatives and regular Republicans.
Too bad Goldberg can't erase the on-the-record remarks of such conservative and regular Republicans as, say, Sen. Jim ("They have a point.") Inhofe, Missouri Republican Roy Blunt, and former ambassador Alan Keyes.

Okay, we admit it: Keyes is part of the GOP lunatic fringe. We withdraw his name as a regular Republican.

Clear Channel Will Pass on Palin Radio Program

As AltTulsa noted earlier this week, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was reported to be exploring the possibility of a radio talk show post.

Today we learned that one of the nation's largest radio companies, Clear Channel, is not interested in syndicating a Palin radio program.

Reportedly, Clear Channel executives were worried that Palin couldn't fill three hours daily, an entirely reasonable fear given her recent speeches.

More on the story is here.

Circle Cinema Presents 'Food Inc.' Documentary Tonight with Local Speakers

The industrialization of America's food supply is the hot topic at Tulsa's Circle Cinema, which will show the documentary Food Inc.

The film opens tonight and the screening will include a food tasting at 6 p.m. and a talk by local food activist Rita Scott of Sustainable Green Country at 8:35.

Food Inc. features Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, and Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma.

Michael Smith of the Tulsa World writes that the film is dry but sobering, taking on such topics as corn production, lax government regulation, E. coli and product recalls, and corporate secrecy.

For more information, check out the Circle Cinema's website here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gen. Powell on Rush Limbaugh: GOP Leaders Afraid to Speak

GOP House Leader Blunt Gives Credence to 'Birther' Nonsense

The wacko wing of the Republican Party keeps hammering away at President Obama's supposed foreign birth, a completely bogus non-issue that should make respectable Republicans cringe.

But no. Former Tulsa mayor Jim Inhofe, now the Sooner state's senior U.S. senator, has toyed around with the issue, suggesting that the 'birthers' have a point and that Obama's birthplace should be investigated.

It's an idiotic suggestion that makes Inhofe—and by extension, Oklahomans—look foolish.

Now House GOP leader Roy Blunt of Missouri has chimed in, aping the wing-nuts. Here's a bit of the transcript as reported on the Interweb:
BLUNT: What I don't know is why the president can't produce a birth certificate. I don't know anybody else that can't produce one, and I think that's a legitimate question. No health records, no birth certificate...

STARK: He's produced a certificate of live birth, right?

BLUNT: Not that I've...I don't believe so.
Note to actual thinking persons: This is a losing issue for the president's critics. The rumors are just that—rumors.

Or more plainly: It's a lie, and just because you want to be true doesn't make it true. Time to move on.

Political Hill Gets Steeper for Medlock, Falling

The GOP race for Tulsa mayor got a little more lopsided today after eight Republican leaders lined up behind the best-known candidate and apparent front-runner, Dewy Bartlett Jr.

The endorsement is a major blow to the GOP outsiders seeking the Republican nomination, including former city councilors Chris Medlock and Anna Falling.

Beyond endorsements and name recognition, Bartlett has much deeper pockets than the other candidates, another factor that is likely to tip the balance in Bartlett's favor.

Here's more on the story from the Tulsa World:
Eight Tulsa-area Republican Party leaders endorsed mayoral candidate Dewey Bartlett Jr. on Tuesday night for the GOP nomination in the 11-member primary race.

Bartlett said at a news conference in Hunter Park that it is "unprecedented" for such leaders to take sides in a primary election battle, which is set for a vote Sept. 8.

Those endorsing him are state Sens. Mike Mazzei of Tulsa and Brian Bingman of Sapulpa; state Reps. Dan Sullivan of Tulsa, Fred Jordan of Jenks and Ron Peters of Tulsa; former Tulsa County Republican Party chairmen Terry Simonson and Don Burdick; and former state House Speaker Todd Hiett of Kellyville, who is now the finance chairman for the Oklahoma Republican Party.

Just What the Country Needs: Sarah Palin on the Radio

Inside Radio, an industry website, is reporting that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is quietly investigating a future in—what else?—talk radio.

Of course. It's a perfect job for Palin.

The hours are good, and you don't need to know anything to be a huge success. Just look at Rush, Sean, Michael Savage, and the rest of the AM crowd.

Here's the report:
Alaska’s now former Governor is coy about her future political plans, but radio is at least one option she’s leaving on the table. While not exactly shopping the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential candidate, sources say Palin representatives have been quietly testing the waters to see how much interest radio syndicators have for her.

Sources say Palin hasn’t committed to radio either, but rather it could be a possible next step for her. It isn’t unusual for a defeated national candidate to turn to radio. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s short-form commentaries air on more than 400 stations via Citadel Media. He remains among the names circulated for a potential presidential run in 2012.

Coming to radio would be an ironic twist for Palin, whose position on the media is pretty clear. “Quick making things up,” she told reporters in her final speech as Governor last week.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GOP Hypocrisy Update: TN State Senator Quits After Affair With 22-Year-Old Intern

Gotta love (wink, wink) those cheatin' pro-family Republicans—always down for some exciting beyond-the-wedding-vows action.

The latest GOP "Hall of Shamer" is one Paul Stanley, anti-gay, pro-family values Memphis Republican who—oops!—was a little too interested in his 22-year-old intern.

Listen Up, Conspiracy Theorists & Wackos: 5 Birther Myths Debunked

AltTulsa likes to live in the real world, not the world of make believe, what if, or wishful thinking.

Unfortunately, some on the Right insist on believing whatever makes them feel good. For those folks, we offer this link from The Daily Beast: 5 Birther Myths Debunked.

Inhofe Backs Down: Now, Senator Does Not Question Obama

Even Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe can't sustain his party's lunatic fringe.

That's a conclusion one can draw from the senator's wobbly statements about the "birthers" and their continuing nonsense that President Obama was born in Kenya and is therefore not a U.S. citizen.

After first saying that the birthers have a point, today journalist Greg Sargent got a different response from Inhofe's spokesman.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Conservative David Frum on Sarah Palin's Future: The Road to Defeat

Conservative writer David Frum speaking on CBS about Sarah Palin and her political prospects:
Her divisiveness is not just within the country, it’s divisive within the party, and many fear, as I do, that while she’s very popular with some Republicans … she represents a future that leads the party both to political defeat and then to ineffectiveness in government.”


It is an amazing thing that a governor whose most notable achievement in office was to distribute an extra $1200 a year to every resident in Alaska would include in her speech an attack on government handouts

Inhofe Update: Oklahoma Senator Clarifies 'Birther' Claim

Worst job in Washington: Having to clean up the rhetorical messes made by Tulsa's very own (and very embarrassing) U.S. senator, one Jim Inhofe.

Here's the latest: When you are wrong, blame the White House. It's all their fault that the crazies have the right-wing megaphone and can't be convinced by such things as, well, facts.

Inhofe Steps in It: Oklahoma Senator Waffles on 'Birther' Issue

You can count on Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe to be hard-core partisan, even when it doesn't make good sense.

The latest example: Inhofe's weasel words about the bogus issue of President Obama's citizenship. Inhofe told Politico that the "birther" advocates have a point and that he doesn't discourage them.

Spouting nonsense may be good politics for a politician as retrograde as Inhofe, but conspiracy theories and lies are not useful ways of advancing the public interest.

Then again, Sen. Inhofe hasn't been advancing the public interest in many, many years.

For more on this story, click here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Paul Krugman on the GOP Response to Obama

Columnist Paul Krugman on the Republicans' inability to deal intelligently or even rationally with a president (any president) from a party other than their own:
It’s no secret that the reaction of a significant number of Republicans to the presidency of Barack Obama has been a bit, well, insane. And don’t start making false equivalences by talking about some video someone once posted on MoveOn’s web site, or some comment someone once posted at Daily Kos. Did any U.S. Senators compare the Bush administration to Germany on the eve of World War II [as South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint did the other day]? I don’t think so.

So what’s going on? Is it the fact that Obama is black? Actually, I don’t think so: there was a comparable level of craziness in 1993 — Bill Clinton is a drug smuggler, Hillary murdered Vince Foster. What’s basically going on is that a significant part of the modern GOP can’t accept the idea of a Democratic president.

Life in a Glass House: The Blind Arrogance of Bill Kristol

Neocon and right-wing pundit Bill Kristol makes his livelihood criticizing others. Fair enough—that's what pundits do.

But when President Obama criticized the Cambridge police in the Henry Louis Gates case, Kristol was outraged. How dare Obama "pass judgment" on this incident!

Unwilling to give up this fight, Kristol today called the president "arrogant," despite the fact that Obama has backed off his original statement and, in fact, called the police officer involved to clear the air about his original assessment.

To a fair-minded observer, this could be seen as the exact opposite of arrogant. Indeed, it would seem to indicate contrition and thoughtfulness on the president's part, qualities not often found in the previous administration (think Dick Cheney).

But if you ignore the facts and are sloppy with details, Kristol is absolutely on target. ThinkProgress has the story here.

Recommended Viewing: New Films at Tulsa's Circle Cinema

Tulsa's non-profit movie house, Circle Cinema, is bringing in some excellent films this summer. It's a good way to beat the Oklahoma heat and explore new worlds.

We recently enjoyed Cheri, a romantic romp set in early twentieth-century Paris. The film stars the lovely Michelle Pfeiffer as an aging courtesan who makes the professional mistake of falling in love with a younger man. Co-starring the irrepressible Kathy Bates, Cheri was directed by Stephen Frears of Dangerous Liaisons fame.

This Thursday, June 30, the Circle turns much more political with Food, Inc., a documentary on the industrialization of almost everything we eat. Based on the trailer, the film is on-target, but it may also scare all of us away from the supermarket.

The opening night screening will feature guest speakers and an organic food tasting, so you might want to put that on your calendar.

For more on the Circle, click here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

More Scandal on the Right: The Secret GOP Sex Diary and C Street

As the kids say, this is hot.

From The Daily Beast, more background on another GOP sex scandal, this one from the Great State of Mississippi. The congressman: one Chip Pickering, once a rising star in an influential Mississippi Republican (and Baptist) family.

Oh, and there's a C Street connection. The C Street house, as perceptive voters will recall, is home of a group of Christian legislators, including some from Oklahoma (Sen. Tom Coburn, for example). Former Tulsa Rep. Steve Largent also has ties to the C Street group, and to Chip Pickering.

Read the details here: The Secret GOP Sex Diary

Dave's Top Ten Things Overheard at the Sarah Palin Farewell Party

Friday, July 24, 2009

From the White House: Obama Regrets Language on Gates Arrest

Speaking to reporters today, President Obama says he regrets his language regarding the arrest last week in Cambridge of the Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates.

Obama said he had spoken to the arresting officer in an effort to explain his comments.

The Times summarized the president's remarks:
Mr. Obama said he hoped the case became “a teachable moment” to be used to improve relations between minorities and police officers.

The president conveyed his sentiment to the police sergeant, James Crowley, in a telephone call earlier Friday. Mr. Obama said he disagreed that he should not have stepped into the issue, saying it is the job of the president “black or white” to contribute to improving relations.
The Times has more here.

Republican Leadership on Health Care: We Have a Plan; No We Don't

TPM has noticed the flailing on the GOP side of the aisle on a Republican health care plan:
Our bill is never going to get to the floor, so why confuse the focus? - Roy Blunt

Our reform plan to lower costs, increase access, and improve quality was released weeks ago and it is well-known. - Roy Blunt

We’re continuing to put the final touches on our bill as the Democrats are continuing to put the finishing touches on their bill - John Boehner
Do the Republicans have an alternative plan or not? Even they don't seem to know. The kicker: All three statements were made yesterday.

More Conservative Backsliding: Tennessee Republican Caught in Intern Scandal

Oops! It's happened again—another anti-gay, pro-family conservative Republican has betrayed his own (supposed) values and admitted an affair with a 22-year-old intern.

This time the culprit is a state legislator in Tennessee. Naturally, he's married and a father and a phony, like so many of the social conservatives.

For those of you keeping score at home, there's a trend in this sort of GOP hypocrisy. Here are four of the most famous: Sen. John Ensign, Gov. Mark Sanford, and—let us not forget—Sen. David Vitter and Sen. Larry "Wide Stance" Craig.

The story, from Raw Story, is here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time Magazine Reports on the Cheney/Bush Fallout over the Libby Pardon

They are gone, thank goodness, but not forgotten. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were quite a pair, but they didn't always agree.

Thanks to Time, we now know more about the insider battle Cheney waged to secure a pardon for his aide Scooter Libby.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fun with Stephen Colbert: Only Investigate Torture in 'A Perfect World'

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - A Perfect World
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

'Bout Time: Senate Democrats Deal the NRA a Rare Defeat

The Huffington Post's report on the Thune Bill, which didn't make it through the senate today, thank goodness.

Oklahoma's pro-gun senators voted the wrong way, as usual. No Oklahoma politico has the courage to stand up to the NRA.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Daily Beast reports: The Obama Haters' Next Move

A good report on the kooks and crazies who still think Obama's an alien, starring American's very own Kook No. 1, the factually challenged Alan Keyes. This guy is seriously scary.

Read the story here: The Obama Haters' Next Move

Breaking Down the Conservative Crack-up; A Critique Featuring Sen. Tom Coburn

Columnist Frank Rich knows something about posturing and posing. Before he began writing about politics, after all, Rich was the theater critic for the New York Times.

In Sunday's NYT column, Rich deconstructs the conservative critique of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, including the posturing of Oklahoma's junior senator, Tom Coburn.

It's good stuff. Here's a tasty sample, with a reference to the senator's private counseling of his devout but wayward pal Sen. John Ensign:
Coburn finds Sotomayor’s views “extremely troubling.” There’s nothing in Sotomayor’s history remotely as troubling as Coburn’s role in the Ensign scandal. Or as his inability to grasp Al Qaeda any better than he did the Nazis. In 2004, he claimed in all seriousness that the “gay agenda” is “the greatest threat to our freedom that we face today.”
Read the Rich column here.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Flacking for Rep. Cole on Health Care Reform

Just down the busy Turner Turnpike from Tulsa, Oklahoma City political blogger Mike McCarville is compromising whatever political standing he has by running what appears to be a press release from Rep. Tom Cole.

Even if we agreed with Cole's position on health care (we don't), AT is not going to turn over its website to a politician to say whatever he or she wants to say. That's mere stenography, hardly the role of an independent or thoughtful political blogger.

Question: Don't we, the taxpayers, already pay for congressional flacks to do this job? Sure we do. At AltTulsa, we're not in the political PR business.

Why bother to write a political blog at all if you're giving Rep. Cole (or any other politician) a free ride?

More Proof that Hannity's a Doofus: Spreading the 'Birther' Lie

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Analyst Craig Crawford on Sen. Graham and the GOP Assault

The Republican assault on Sonia Sotomayor isn't going down well in some quarters. Instead, the spectacle is making the party look petty and mean, as Craig Crawford's comments make clear.

With every bogus charge, the GOP looks more and more idiotic:

Watching Lindsey Graham's gotcha grin as he needled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor with disingenuous and rhetorical questions you had to wonder what was so funny. Does the Republican senator think it is amusing that he and his party's condescending tone toward the Hispanic woman was costing them ethnic votes with each passing hour of Tuesday's Judiciary Committee hearing?

. . . Even if they vote for her, the fallout for Republicans could reach well beyond Hispanic voters. They are coming across as a bunch of snarky and bitter old white men who cannot bear the thought of their kind losing power.

Bad Publicity: Salon's Joan Walsh Spotlights Sessions, Coburn

Making news can be bad for your public image. Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions isn't looking very dignified these days, not after trying to badger Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

Oklahoma's own Tom Coburn is taking some national heat as well for his unfortunate I Love Lucy reference in today's hearings.

Joan Walsh, editor of Salon, weighs in with some pithy criticism of the senators. The Republicans, Walsh writes, "really, really want to be the party of aggrieved white men. No others need apply."

Read the full commentary here.

Getting it Wrong: Sen. Sessions' Faulty Memory on Roberts, Alito

A very illuminating video that gives the lie to Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions' assertion that Justices Roberts and Alito answered questions with more clarity than Sonia Sotomayor.

It's not true. See the evidence here.

From Media Matters: Did you hear the one about the sleazy Obama photo? Don't buy it.

The right-wing noise machine plays fast and loose with the truth: A report on Drudge, Fox and other outlets twisting an Obama non-story to suit their own purposes.

Check it out here: The sleazy Obama photo? Don't buy it.

Bush 41 Video: When Conservatives Have Empathy, It's Just Fine

Alterman on the Hearings: Sonia's Kabuki Confirmation

From The Daily Beast: Eric Alterman works through the GOP's faulty critique of Sonia Sotomayor.

Read it here: Sonia's Kabuki Confirmation.

Recent Reading: McMurtry's 'Telegraph Days'

AT has a long-standing summer habit of reading Texas writer Larry McMurtry. Most recently, we spent time in the pages of Telegraph Days, McMurtry's 2006 novel that features the amazing Nellie Courtright as its central character.

Oklahomans, in fact, might be interested in the fact that Telegraph Days begins along the Cimarron River out in the panhandle. The Courtrights, Virginia emigrants, have a broken-down ranch near Black Mesa and the fictional town of Rita Blanca.

But the novel soon moves to such legendary locations as Dodge City and Tombstone, as Nellie meets many of the famous characters of the West. These include Buffalo Bill, the Earp brothers, and Billy the Kid.

In McMurtry's story, the talented Nellie Courtright is the link between all of these people and places, giving the reader an exciting and panoramic view of the late nineteenth-century American West.

Some of this tale is a bit unlikely, of course, and we wish McMurtry had slowed down the narrative in places, letting us sweat and scratch a little longer in the hot, dusty streets of Rita Blanca and Dodge City.

Still, Telegraph Days will please a lot of McMurtry fans, and Nellie Courtright is one of McMurtry's most memorable characters.

UPDATE: Speaking of McMurtry, we attended the Book Smart Tulsa event last night at the Philbrook, where novelist Rivka Galchen talked about her writing. Galchen, who grew up in Norman, mentioned the German writer Walter Benjamin in her talk.

We haven't read much of Benjamin's work, but her reference did remind us of McMurtry's Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, which we read some years back. This book, a reflective, intellectual memoir, is our favorite book of McMurtry nonfiction. It's well worth reading (or, in our case, re-reading).

Thomas Frank on Sarah's Self-Victimization

Writer and political analyst Thomas Frank lays out the on-going victimization logic of modern conservatism, including Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin:

Indeed, if political figures stand for ideas, victimization is what Ms. Palin is all about. It is her brand, her myth. Ronald Reagan stood tall. John McCain was about service. Barack Obama has hope. Sarah Palin is a collector of grievances. She runs for high office by griping.

This is no small thing, mind you. The piling-up of petty complaints is an important aspect of conservative movement culture. For those who believe that American life consists of the trampling of Middle America by the "elites" -- that our culture is one big insult to the pious and the patriotic and the traditional -- Sarah Palin's long list of unfair and disrespectful treatment is one of her most attractive features. Like Oliver North, Robert Bork, and Clarence Thomas, she is known not for her ideas but as a martyr, a symbol of the culture-war crimes of the left.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sessions v. Sonia: White Males Get to Rule

Huffington Post columnist Nathaniel Frank unmasks the not-so-hidden assumptions of Sen. Jeff Sessions' attack on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor:
The implication of Sessions' inquisition was that, as a white male with no distinguishing "heritage" to speak of, he and his ilk can make judgments totally free of feelings, belief, or experience, that they are not prone to ever make a judgment that could be clouded by who they are. A Latina woman, however, is a dangerous addition to the Court because her "difference" could shape her judgment.

In fairness, it was Sotomayor's comments on the topic, not her race and sex per se, that prompted the grilling. But the sloppy thinking behind the questions is clear: It's as though genteel white men are the primal mold of the fair and impartial human being, and any mark of racial, gender or class difference from that mold is a fall from the archetype. An "alternative" brain like this, it would seem, threatens to produce a "different" judgment, which, to fearful white men, means partial, incorrect, and not in their favor.

Conan's Take on 'Fair & Balanced' Fox News

Tonight show host Conan O'Brien on President Obama's meeting last week with the Pope:
President Obama had a historic meeting with Pope Benedict XVI. … Or, as Fox News is reporting it, 'Obama Caught With Old Man in Dress.'”

Wingnut Watch: Army 'Birther' Wants Court Order to Void Deployment

The wingnuts never let a simple thing like truth get in the way of a good (read: phony) conspiracy.

For those of you keeping score at home, the "Obama-is-a-Muslin-who-was-born-in-Africa-and-thus-can't-be-president" crowd is alive and well out there, most recently in the U.S. army.

And so we get this sort of nonsense, from an army major who should know better:
U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook is seeking a federal court order to stall and eventually prevent an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.

In the 20-page document — filed July 8 with the United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia — Cook's California-based attorney, Orly Taitz, asks the court to consider granting his client's request based upon Cook's belief that President Barack Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and is therefore ineligible to serve as commander-in-chief of U.S Armed Forces.

Read more here.

Letterman: Cheney's Top Ten Excuses for Illegal Activities

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Wit & Widsom of Conservative Hate Monger Pat (Death to Levi) Buchanan

Nobody thinks right-wing blowhard Pat Buchanan is a softie. Yet even for Pat, his statement about Bristol Palin ex-fiance, Levi Johnson, is over-the-top.

For the record, we don't believe in murder. Even as a joke, suggesting the murder of a public person seems to be, well, ill-advised.

Yet good ole Pat can't help himself. Hate, prejudice, and violence—it's the Buchanan way. Here's what he said today on MSNBC's Morning Joe show:

BUCHANAN: “Well, first, with regard to Levi, I think First Dude up there in Alaska, Todd Palin, ought to take Levi down to the creek and hold his head underwater until the thrashing stops.

WaPo Report: The Mysteries of C Street House, Home to Sens. Ensign, Coburn

The suddenly infamous C Street house, home to the wayward Nevada Sen. John Ensign and linked to the cheating South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, is worthy of serious public attention.

Thankfully, the Washington Post is assisting the cause, publishing a background piece on house, its residents and allies, including our very own Sen. Tom Coburn.

The more we read about the house and its semi-secret evangelizing mission, the more obvious it becomes that the place hasn't lived up to its professed ideals.

The C Street house has two very high profile failures on its hands, which is—to say the least—a major public relations problem.

Read more about the C Street house and its occupants here.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Frank Rich on Sarah Palin: Leading the GOP's Self-Pity Movement

New York Times columnist Frank Rich calls 'em as he sees 'em.

In his column today, Rich points his rhetorical guns at Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, leader of the "dwindling" Republican ranks.

Here's a tasty sample:
She is not just the party’s biggest star and most charismatic television performer; she is its only star and charismatic performer. Most important, she stands for a genuine movement: a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances and awash in self-pity as the country hurtles into the 21st century and leaves it behind. Palin gives this movement a major party brand and political plausibility that its open-throated media auxiliary, exemplified by Glenn Beck, cannot.
The entire Rich column can be found here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Surprise! NY Times Reports that Cheney Ordered CIA to Hide Project

AT is shocked—shocked!—to learn that former Vice President Dick Cheney has been identified as the government official who personally ordered the CIA to hide a counterterrorism program from Congress.

Not Dick Cheney, the most honest and transparent man in America! It's not like Congress has any role in government or, say, in intelligence oversight.

The details are here.

WSJ's Peggy Noonan on Sarah Palin: 'Rather Horrifying'

More and more thoughtful conservatives are weighing in on soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Sarah Palin. It's not pretty:

In television interviews she was out of her depth in a shallow pool. She was limited in her ability to explain and defend her positions, and sometimes in knowing them. She couldn't say what she read because she didn't read anything. She was utterly unconcerned by all this and seemed in fact rather proud of it: It was evidence of her authenticity. She experienced criticism as both partisan and cruel because she could see no truth in any of it. She wasn't thoughtful enough to know she wasn't thoughtful enough. Her presentation up to the end has been scattered, illogical, manipulative and self-referential to the point of self-reverence. "I'm not wired that way," "I'm not a quitter," "I'm standing up for our values." I'm, I'm, I'm.

In another age it might not have been terrible, but here and now it was actually rather horrifying.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Right-wing Political Meltdown: Tom Coburn's Very, Very, Very Bad Week

Oklahoma's outspoken conservative junior senator, Dr. Tom Coburn, is not having much fun this week.

This is the guy, after all, who said every day in the U.S. senate without Al Franken is a good day.

But this week the former comedian became Sen. Al Franken, the junior senator from Minnesota, effectively ending Coburn's happy reverie.

Even worse for Coburn, he and his pal, Sen. John Ensign, are making headlines, but not in a good way.

Turns out that Coburn and the sexually challenged Ensign have been housemates on C Street in Washington, which gets interesting because the C Street house was home to a group of Christian conservative legislators known as The Family, a group that once included another sexually challenged Republican lawmaker, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina.

We have no idea what's been going at the C Street house, but the behavior of some of the residents is neither Christian nor conservative.

As we have noted in earlier reports, Dr. Coburn seems to be an honorable man, but his role in advising Ensign is interesting and worthy of further investigation. It doesn't help that Coburn has advanced a bogus claim of "privilege" in advising Ensign or his tendency, expressed today, in blaming the media for the sexual misconduct of his colleagues.

If he's really the honorable politician he presents himself to be, he's going to have to take actual responsibility, which means he's going to have to own up to his actions and stop blaming others.

Clay Clark Out of Mayoral Race; Will Back Dodge-Driving Chris Medlock

As far as we can tell, Clay Clark had a snowball's chance in hell of being elected Tulsa's next mayor.

So it's no great loss to the citizens of Tulsa that Clark dropped out of the race today. He's throwing his support (such as it is) to another long-shot, former city councillor Chris ("I drive a Dodge") Medlock.

The Tulsa World has the story. Read it here.

MSNBC's Maddow Uncovers the Coburn/Ensign/C Street Power Connection

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No Good Turn Goes Unpunished: Sen. Coburn Linked to Ensign Sex Scandal

Oklahoma's straight arrow junior senator, Tom Coburn, was probably trying to do the right thing when he advised Sen. John Ensign to end his sexual relationship with a campaign staffer.

But the exact nature of Coburn's advice has become an issue in Washington, as the following report from the Washington Post makes clear:

In an interview this week, Doug Hampton also alleged that Sen. Tom Coburn, a close friend of Ensign's, urged Ensign to end the affair early last year and suggested financial compensation for the Hampton family.

Coburn's office acknowledged that he counseled Ensign to end the affair but denied suggesting any financial deal.

Yesterday, Coburn told the Roll Call newspaper that he would refuse any attempts to compel him to testify in court or at the Senate ethics committee about his role. Coburn, an obstetrician, claimed a legal privilege against such testimony as his physician and religious adviser.

"I was counseling him as a physician and as an ordained deacon," Coburn said. "That is privileged communication that I will never reveal to anybody. Not to the ethics committee, not to a court of law, not to anybody."

But Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who is now executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said that neither privilege would apply to Coburn's case because Ensign cannot plausibly be his patient and because being a deacon does not qualify a person as clergy.

Move Over, Sally Kern. Meet Tulsa Mayoral Candidate Clay Clark

Humorist Barry Friedman, writing in the July issue of TulsaPeople, took a bite out of the long-shot mayoral hopeful, young Clay Clark.

When he made his announcement, Clark said, "I feel as though I'm called to stand up for the morals, the values, and beliefs of the average local citizen."

Like us, Friedman "always cringes when politicians talk about being call to serve. It's the whole hearing-voices thing."

Friedman continues:
Is it because we're devil-worshipping infidels that God never calls on liberals to run for public office?

Flying High: Senators Rack Up Big Travel Bills

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a conservative Republican, is not exactly conservative when it comes to travel expenses.

Politico reports that Cornyn has the highest travel bill in the Senate for the first half of 2009, topping $152,000—the highest of all one hundred senators. (Cornyn explained that Texas is "a big state.")

Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe is relatively frugal by Cornyn standards, listing his travel expenses at $62,696.42.

But Inhofe is hardly a miser when compared to his colleague Tom Coburn. Coburn comes in at $34,067.14, which would seem to be a relatively good deal for taxpayers.

The full senate expenditure list can be found here.

Conservative Columnist Frum: Palin Cops Out, Cashes In

Writing in The Week, conservative columnist David Frum points an accusing finger at Gov. Sarah Palin:
Faced with exasperating criticism and the accumulating cares of public office—she quit to cash in. Her admirers can excuse anything, but to the much larger audience of non-admirers, Palin will look a lot like those CEOs who wrecked their banks and the national economy while accepting huge bonuses for themselves. John McCain’s slogan in 2008 was "Country First." Palin’s in 2012? "I seen my opportunities, and I took 'em."
With friends like these, Palin can kiss her political career goodbye.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sen. Coburn's Advice Ignored in Sen. Ensign's Sex Scandal

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn is by all accounts a straight arrow. Very straight. But it's hard to say that about his senate pal, Nevada Sen. John Ensign.

You remember Sen. Ensign. He's the Republican Christian conservative (and one-time presidential hopeful) who recently admitted having a sexual relationship with the wife of one of his staffers. Oops!

Today, press reports indicate that Sen. Coburn became aware of the affair at some point and urged Ensign to end it. Had Ensign followed Coburn's advice, the Oklahoma senator's spokesman said, the affair would have ended long before it did.

The Tulsa World has details.

Medlock's Inferiority Complex on Display in Mayoral Announcement

Poor Chris Medlock.

In a press conference today announcing his bid for Tulsa mayor, Medlock pleaded poverty. "I'm not a millionaire," he said.

And—get this—he drives a Dodge! (Do they still make those?)

Poor Chrisalways the outsider, always poor! Woe is Chris! So unloved.

But maybe the voters of Tulsa will love him and elect him mayor. Then, just maybe, he won't feel so bad about himself. After all, it's all about Chris.

Read the Tulsa World story on the Medlock press conference here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

GOP House Leader Rep. Boehner Lies About Stimulus Money

AltTulsa knows that politicians of all stripes can stretch the truth. It's almost part of the job description—spinning the facts like there's no tomorrow.

Still, the current crop of right-wing ideologues seem to have a special affinity for gumming up the facts. Or, to put it bluntly, lying their asses off.

The latest example is Ohio Rep. John Boehner, a GOP House leader who should know up from down. But Boehner's latest effort to undermine the positive effects of the Obama Administration's stimulus package was a genuine "stretcher."

PolitiFact checked out Boehner's claims that North Carolina "used stimulus money to hire one new state worker." The claim is wrong. The fact-checking is here.

Department of Wishful Thinking: GOP Voters Still Want Palin

The Republican Party is so desperate for a national candidate that even the half-term governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, looks viable.

Crucially, independent voters aren't in this camp and the GOP will need lots of independents if it hopes to succeed on the national stage.

USA Today has the results of a new Palin poll. Find it here.

Conservative Writer Zeros In on Palin: "Manifestly Unqualified" for President

Writing in the American Spectator's blog, New Orleans conservative activist Quin Hillyer finds little to like about Sarah Palin's decision to resign as Alaska governor:
Sarah Palin's resignation is an appalling dereliction of duty and a highly cynical move to set herself up for a presidential run for which she is manifestly unqualified.
Hillyer pulls no punches. Read more of his column here.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Blame Game: Huckabee Gets It Wrong

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee ought to be a reliable guy. He was, after all, a Baptist minister.

But even Baptists can have memory lapses. Or maybe they just get confused.

Whatever the case, Huckabee's recent recollection (on Fox News, naturally) about the Bush years didn't add up to the truth.

Think Progress documents Huck's faulty memory here.

GOP Losing Control of Tea Party Movement

The Tea Party whiners came out in many cities (including Tulsa) over the July 4 weekend, but their appearance may not bode well for their Republican allies.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a conservative Republican, was booed at a Tea Party rally in Austin. Elsewhere, the Tea Party gang turned up with outlandish and racist posters, comparing President Obama to (of course!) Hitler.

The crazies are out there and the Republicans have no way of managing the inane resentment and over-the-top rhetoric professed by these folks—and ably assisted by Talk Radio and its Republican base.

TPM has the sorry details here.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Tulsa Tea Party Strikes Again (Sort of)

The motley collection of malcontents, true believers, and clueless conservatives known as the Tulsa Tea Party made a local appearance today, July 4, to signal their Independence from high taxes and their opposition to an entire laundry list of about everything else this side of the 20th century.

Unfortunately for the Tea Party gang, their leaders include the right-wing fundamentalist Randy Brogdon, would-be candidate for governor, and Clay Clark, the Boy Wonder of Tulsa free enterprise and pretend candidate for Tulsa mayor.

With leaders of such tremendous political savvy and intellectual heft, there's a snowball's chance in hell of popular success even in a conservative place like Tulsa.

Nonetheless, the Tea Party folks believe they have real solutions to problems. It's a delusion of considerable hubris.

But hey, it's a free country, and a few zanies probably won't hurt anything.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A Bigger Oklahoma: Sooners Move Up Among Fattest States

A new "fat" study is out and it's not good news for Oklahoma.

It appears the Sooner state has moved up in the "fattest state" rankings. We used to be eighth; now we're sixth. Hey, we're super-sized, even bigger than Texas! But Mississippi—they won the obesity sweepstakes.

An interactive map and more can be found at this link.

Watch the Fox News Freak Out over Sen. Al Franken

Joe the Plumber Talks to God (So Joe Says)

The world's most famous plumber, Joe of Ohio, has a pipeline directly to God.

Joe says God told him not to run for public office. Details of the Divine Conversation here.