Monday, November 30, 2009

Obama's First Year: Restoring America's Standing in the World

Political writer Jacob Weisberg has published a column that turns conventional wisdom on its head, which is often a good move.

Writing at, Weisberg challenges the notion that President Obama has had a weak beginning. Indeed, Weisberg says Obama has had a highly successful first year, accomplishing more in that time than any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

Conservative pundits and GOP activists will disagree, of course, but Weisberg make a reasonable case that Obama has been effective in a number of areas, not least of which is his restoration of the U.S. as a force for good in the world, in contrast to eight years of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld deception.

Read the piece here.

Celebrating the Brady Bill: The Anniversary of Landmark Handgun Control Legislation

Today, November 30, is the anniversary of the Brady Bill, a landmark piece of handgun control legislation that has stopped many, many thousands of criminals from obtaining illegal handguns.

President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law on this day in 1993.

As some readers may remember, the bill was named after James Brady, who served as the press spokesman in the Reagan White House and was severely wounded in an assassination attempt on Reagan by John Hinckley.

Sen. Inhofe Jumps on Generals Who Disagree with His Climate Change Ideas

Sen. Jim Inhofe is nothing if not partisan. Inhofe is so partisan, in fact, that he puts partisanship ahead of, well, everything.

The latest example shows Inhofe blasting retired generals because they dare to disagree with his assessment of global warming and climate change.

These generals, Inhofe claims, simply "crave the limelight." This judgment seems wrong on its face and it shows that Inhofe's interest in honorable military service is less important than taking shots at his many enemies.

The story, courtesy of our friends at Think Progress, is here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rewriting History: Perino Claims Bush Years Free from Terror Attacks

The Conservative Talking Heads claim a reverence for truth. It's one of their fundamental principles—at least in theory.

In practice, truth isn't such a virtue in the Right-wing universe.

Dana Perino, former spokesperson for President George W. Bush, told Fox News exaggerator Sean Hannity the other day that the Bush presidency succeeded in preventing terror attacks in he U.S. (Hannity readily agreed, of course.)

Only one tiny factual problem with this statement: The Sept. 11, 2001 attacks happened on W's watch.

W., Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld—they were at the helm when America was attacked.

As the old joke goes: Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Cowboy Collapse: Mike (I'm a Man!) Gundy's 'Pokes Come Up Empty as Sooners Roll

How 'bout them Cowboys?

Coaching genius Mike (I'm 40!) Gundy fired up his high-powered OSU offense today to boot the Sooners in the annual Bedlam intrastate game.

What's that? The high-flying Cowboys got skunked? Really?

Maybe Coach Gundy isn't the genius he thinks he is. And maybe OU's Bob Stoops has a more Top 10 seasons in his Sooner portfolio.

Meanwhile, if memory serves, the Texas Longhorns beat both OU and OSU this year and remains undefeated this season.

Oh well, there's always next year.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Lying about Energy Policy: Rumors about Home Retrofitting Are Bogus

Ah yes, the know-nothing blowhards are at it again, putting forth made up "facts" simply to scare and confuse the public.

We're referring to a chain e-mail (buyer beware!) that claims new energy legislation will require homeowners to retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient, along with other onerous requirements.

It's nonsense, as the fact-checkers at PolitiFact have confirmed. In fact, they give this rumor their lowest rating on the Truth-o-Meter, the "Pants on Fire" award.

The lies are corrected here.

Purity on the Right: Republicans Roll Out an Ideological Test

No GOP dissenters need apply.

That seems to be the message of the Republican National Committee, which recent published its core ideological principles, from which no GOP candidate must not stray.

Okay, they can stray a bit—but just a little. As Talking Points Memo reports, Republican candidates must agree on eight of ten principles to pass muster.

Which begs the question: What if the candidate scores seven of ten? Is he or she drummed out of the party?

We'd hazard a guess that this is bad for political debate and discussion, but very, very good for party purity.

The details and the complete list are here.

Meanness on the Right: Tea Party Crowd Heckles Grieving Family

Ain't Right-wing politics great?

The know-nothing Tea Party folks don't want to be caught dead showing some un-American value like compassion.

That doesn't square with their notion of being patriotic or Godly.

The video of this unhappy spectacle is here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bartlett's Transition Pick Fails to Inspire Confidence

We noted with dismay this week that Tulsa mayor-elect Dewey Bartlett named 1st District Rep. John Sullivan to head his transition team.

This is not a good omen. Indeed, it raises serious questions about Bartlett's judgment and for the success of the Bartlett administration.

Besides the fact that Rep. Sullivan is one of the most reliable potted plants in Congress, Rep. Sullivan has no experience in Tulsa city government. None. Zip.

Then there's the fact that Sullivan has other duties—such as spending time in Washington representing the good people of the 1st District, which is what he was elected to do. Instead, as we have previously reported, Sullivan spends a fair amount of time pandering to the Tea Party crowd.

Sullivan told the Tulsa World this week that he will manage his time carefully and work nights and weekends, which sounds like a fine idea for a college student.

But Sullivan's previous record as a public servant has been marred by particular personal problems, including a recent stint at the Betty Ford Clinic in California.

Forgive us for pointing out the obvious, but does this record inspire confidence? Hardly.

GOP Plays the Fear Card to Blame Obama

The Republicans love to rant and rave—that's what they're best at. (Governing, well, not so much.)

It's no surprise then that the GOP plays politics with fear. Elect a Democrat and we'll be attacked, they claim. Obama is soft on terror, they shout. The sky is falling, they insist.

It's baloney, of course, but it is the Republican's signature style, led by the hysterics of Talk Radio and Fox News.

Talking Points Memo has rounded up the latest wave of GOP fear-mongering and posted an informative catalogue of the Top Four Wingnut charges. The details are here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wrong Again: PolitiFact Checks Palin's Reagan-Obama Recession Claim

Sarah Palin can't stop talking—or making things up. The former governor of Alaska is promoting her book this week, but her reputation is taking a beating.

Palin may sell a lot of books, but not because she's a zealot for accuracy.

PolitiFact has checked out Palin's claim that the recession of the Reagan years was worse than the one that President Obama inherited from George W. Bush.

Surprise! Palin is wrong. It's simply not true. Read chapter and verse of the real story here.

More Evidence Palin Lives in a Mindless Fantasy Land

As if we needed more proof that ex-Gov. Sarah Palin is a complete nincompoop, she makes this statement to the bozos at Newsmax:
But Glenn Beck I have great respect for. He’s a hoot. He gets his message across in such a clever way. And he’s so bold – I have to respect that. He calls it like he sees it, and he’s very, very, very effective.
And to think: she could have been a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Here We Go Again: Oklahoma Legislator Proposes Hate Crime Opt Out

Oklahoma's conservative politicians don't fare well on the national stage.

Sen. Jim Inhofe has been widely (and rightly) ridiculed for his blather about global warming and Sen. Tom Coburn has been recently pummeled for his hold up of a bill to support wounded veterans.

The Oklahoma legislature is also an especially easy target (think Rep. Sally Kern) , especially the GOP's growing "Tenther" brigade, those wishful thinkers who believe the Tenth Amendment gives states the right to pick and choose which Federal laws they can support.

Now we learn that a GOP Tenther from Del City, Rep. Steve Russell, wants the state to opt out of the recent hate crimes legislation recently signed by President Obama. The trouble, naturally, is protecting gay folks from hate. (Oh, the horrors!)

This opt out idea is making national news, once again marking the Sooner state as hostile to civil liberties and old-fashioned ideas like common decency. The details are here.

Bringing Up the Rear: Oklahoma at the Bottom in State Health Rankings

This can't be good: Oklahoma is one of the nation's unhealthiest states.

Readers of the Tulsa World will find this troubling report on page one. The newspaper quotes state health commissioner, Dr. Terry Cline, who says the state's situation is "appalling."

What's the cause of the state's health woes: bad habits. The World reports that Sooners have high rates of smoking, obesity, and heart disease. Oh, and we don't have enough primary care physicians either.

It's enough to make one think of moving to one of those horrible Blue states like Vermont, which was ranked the number one healthiest state.

The complete list of state rankings can be seen here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tulsa Voters Stay Home: Mayor Bartlett's 14 Percent Mandate

Thanks to the Tulsa World's Wayne Greene, Tulsans now know that Mayor-elect Dewey Bartlett Jr. got a whopping 14 percent mandate in last Tuesday's city election.

That's right, Sooner fans, 14 percent.

Greene did the math, which goes like this: Only 31 percent of the city's registered voters actually bothered to vote last week. Bartlett got 45 percent of that vote. The math works out to Bartlett being the choice of a mere 14 percent of Tulsa voters.

This is weak. Really weak. It's hardly a mandate of any kind. Or as Greene put it, "It was shameful."

Why the apathy? Greene speculates that it was the negative campaign: "The nasty, negative nature of the campaign's television advertising…did nothing to further either candidate's cause, and less to further the cause of our city."

Greene cites some Bartlett examples, including the bogus child molester nonsense and charges that Tom Adelson was an Obama liberal. Now, Greene says, Bartlett is going to have to prove he's a bigger man than that.

Amen, Brother Greene.

CBS Host Bob Schieffer: Palin Has No Future in Politics

Columnist Brooks on Sarah Palin: 'She's a Joke'

The Palin Media Blitz Not So Welcome

Ex-Gov. Sarah Palin is beginning her media campaign today in support of her new book, Going Rogue.

Meanwhile, Palin's stature and credibility as a political leader continue to suffer. Here are a couple of facts from a recent NY Times story on Palin's political stock:
A CNN poll taken last month indicates that 7 out of 10 Americans now think Ms. Palin is not qualified to be president, and even as ardent a conservative as Charles Krauthammer lamented in September 2008 “the paucity of any Palin record or expressed conviction on the major issues of our time.”

Politifact Knocks Down Another Obama Rumor

Don't you just love the conservative rumor mill on the Interwebs? It's so awesome—you can find out the real, unvarnished facts without the interference of the lyin' mainstream media.

If only life—and the truth—were so simple.

The latest bogus fact: That the Army officer accused in the Ft. Hood shootings was an Obama advisor. That's an email rumor all circulating over the web.

Of course, it's nonsense, as PolitiFact has documented. But the Wingnuts seem to love such "facts," bogus though they are.

The truth, as opposed to Wingnut rumor, is here.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ex-Gov. Sarah Palin Criticizes NY Terror Trials Despite NY Trail History

In a surprise to absolutely no one, the Republicans are foaming at the mouth about the Obama Administration's decision to try five terrorists in civilian courts New York City.

You'd think that the GOP bigwigs would have more faith in the American judicial system, but no. The Republicans love to play the terror card, insisting that terrorists have no place in the U.S. courts.

Sen. Jim Inhofe, of course, had blasted the administration. So has ex-Gov. Sarah Palin.

Too bad, then, that the U.S. has previously tried earlier terror suspects in—gasp!—federal court in New York City and elsewhere.

It's true. Not once, not twice, but 145 times. But, hey, truth is hard—and the GOP screamers don't do hard. They do hyperbole and hot air.

The details are here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Listening to Savage, KRMG's Nightly Wingbag

Five nights a week, KRMG graces Tulsa listeners with the sweet words of Michael Savage, a joyous and beneficent radio talker of great thoughtfulness, wisdom and dignity.

As if.

For those of you keeping score at home, Savage is an amazingly bombastic blowhard, apt to say nearly anything if it makes his point—and sometimes he has one.

We were listening the other night to check out the nuttiness when Savage went off on women in the U.S. Navy. According to Savage, these women are more interested in getting pregnant than serving their country. It's all about "the easy life," Savage claimed.

Sure, Michael. Absolutely. Listen to the nonsense here.

Glenn Beck Makes Up Dog Insurance: Lying Again about Health Care Reform

Conservatives have a credibility problem. Actually, they have several such problems, many of whom turn up on Talk Radio and Fox News.

Take Glenn Beck, for example. No matter what you think of conservatives, Beck is bad for the cause. Why? Because he and the other windbags can't seem to tell the difference between fact and fiction. In the world of conservative commentary, truth seems to hold little value.

This week Beck claimed that the Democratic health reform plan will include insurance for dogs. The good folks at PolitiFact checked out Beck's claim and—surprise!—it's isn't true.

In fact, Beck's claim won PolitiFact's dishonorable "Pants on Fire" award as completely bogus. The lie is documented here.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gov. Rick Perry: Going for Tea Party Cred

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is at it again. The grandstanding Republican leader is conjuring up all sorts of conspiracy theories as a way of shoring up his Tea Party credentials.

That evil socialist in the White House is out to get Texas—so Perry says.

Memo to Rick Perry: You're a broken record. No one with a brain takes this sort of posturing seriously. Grow the hell up.

The story here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Colorado Conservative Makes the Latest Bonehead GOP Quote of the Day

The wingnut branch of the Republican Party has a gift for overstatement.

They can't just disagree with the president or his policies. Oh no. They have to accuse him of being a Muslim or a Fascist or a Communist or the Anti-Christ or, better yet, all of the above.

Here's the latest example of exaggerated political mumbo-jumbo, courtesy of our fine friends in Colorado:
Colorado State Sen. Dave Schultheis (R-Colorado Springs) posted a tweet yesterday that called for a derailing of President Obama's agenda in a rather bold way.

"Don't for a second, think Obama wants what is best for U.S. He is flying the U.S. Plane right into the ground at full speed. Let's Roll," the tweet reads.

"Let's roll" were the final words of Todd Beamer, a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93, one of the four flights hijacked on September 11 and the only one to crash before reaching its intended target. The flight was diverted to Washington, D.C. after it was hijacked, but crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers tried to thwart the hijackers.

The Big Fox Tea Party Lie: Sean Hannity Gets Caught in Video Deception

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Bartlett Beats Adelson in Tulsa Mayoral Race

Tulsa oilman Dewey Bartlett Jr. will be the new mayor of Tulsa.

Bartlett, a Republican, took 45 percent of the vote to beat Democrat Tom Adelson in Tuesday's election. Adelson won 36 percent of the vote while independent Mark Perkins took 18 percent.

Bartlett's victory was not a huge surprise since Tulsa is a largely Republican stronghold. A poll published Sunday showed Bartlett with a sizable lead.

Despite the polls, Tulsa blogger Michael Bates predicted an Adelson win. Speaking on KRMG shortly after the polls closed, Bates said that his review of yard signs in midtown Tulsa indicated strong Adelson support, perhaps enough to carry Adelson to victory.

Bates was wrong. Of course, Bates had been a supporter of Republican Chris Medlock, who turned out to have very thin support and lost to Bartlett in the GOP primary.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Honoring the Fallen: Obama's Eloquence Today at Fort Hood

President Obama went to Fort Hood today to honor the victims of the shooting rampage last week. Here is part of what the president said:
We are a nation that endures because of the courage of those who defend it. We saw that valor in those who braved bullets here at Fort Hood, just as surely as we see it in those who signed up knowing that they would serve in harm's way.

We are a nation of laws whose commitment to justice is so enduring that we would treat a gunman and give him due process, just as surely as we will see that he pays for his crimes.

We are a nation that guarantees the freedom to worship as one chooses. And instead of claiming God for our side, we remember Lincoln's words, and always pray to be on the side of God.

We are a nation that is dedicated to the proposition that all men and women are created equal. We live that truth within our military, and see it in the varied backgrounds of those we lay to rest today. We defend that truth at home and abroad, and we know that Americans will always be found on the side of liberty and equality. That is who we are as a people.

Tomorrow is Veterans Day. It is a chance to pause, and to pay tribute - for students to learn of the struggles that preceded them; for families to honor the service of parents and grandparents; for citizens to reflect upon the sacrifices that have been made in pursuit of a more perfect union.

Election Day in Tulsa: Turnout Could Be Crucial

Tulsa voters will elect a new mayor today.

If you believe recent political polls, Republican Dewey Bartlett is the front-runner, though Democratic candidate Tom Adelson has cited his own polling that shows him in the lead. The race has been especially negative and nasty and we have no clear sense of how the vote will turn out.

In a highly Republican city, we expect the GOP candidate should carry the day. On the other hand, if Adelson can get out his voters, he may be able to stop the Republican tide.

One prediction seems safe: Independent candidate Mark Perkins probably doesn't have a snowball's chance of pulling off a victory.

We cast our ballots this morning. Although we were the only voters in the precinct, the poll workers said the number of voters was actually up compared to other city election.

There's still time to vote. The polls close at 7 p.m.

David Frum Blasts the Palin Boosters & Their 'Alternative Reality'

Conservative columnist David Frum takes a hard look at ex-Gov. Sarah Palin and her political base:
Palin supporters have constructed an alternative reality in which their heroine is wildly cheered by the American yeomanry, and despised only by a small coterie of sherry-drinking snobs. No contrary evidence, no matter how overwhelming and uncontradicted, can alter this view: not the collapse in Palin's support in just 5 weeks in 2008, not the statistical studies that show her as the only vice presidential nominee in ticket to have hurt her ticket, not her rampant unpopularity with American women, not her own flinching from a second encounter with the Alaskan electorate.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hawks Beware: Busting the Myth of Ronald Reagan

The Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago today, an event that marked the end of the Soviet Union and its Iron Curtain.

Conservatives remember this as a huge success for their hero, President Ronald Reagan. But like a lot of good stories, the Reagan success was not quite the conservative triumph they claim that it is.

Yes, the Wall came down, but it wasn't because of Reagan's hawkish policies. The truth, as usual, is a more complex story, and it doesn't favor the Conservative True Believers.

Read the analysis, from The Daily Beast, here.

Fox Blowhards Get It Wrong Again: The Revolution that Wasn't

Frank Rich, the NY Times columnist, followed up yesterday on the triumphal Fox News predictions of Tea Party victory in the heavily Republican New York 23rd congressional district.

Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly confidently forecast beginning of the Far Right Revolution. As usual, they were wrong, but that never stops the Fox blowhards. If it did, they wouldn't have much to say.

Here's part of the Rich takedown:
As Fox kept insisting, all eyes were glued on Doug Hoffman, the insurgent tea party candidate in New York’s 23rd Congressional District. A “tidal wave” was on its way, said Sean Hannity, and the right would soon “take back the Republican Party.” The race was not “even close,” Bill O’Reilly suggested to the pollster Scott Rasmussen, who didn’t disagree. When returns showed Hoffman trailing, the network’s resident genius, Karl Rove, knowingly reassured viewers that victory was in the bag, even if we’d have to stay up all night waiting for some slacker towns to tally their votes.

Alas, the Dewey-beats-Truman reveries died shortly after midnight, when even Fox had to concede that the Democrat, Bill Owens, had triumphed in what had been Republican country since before Edison introduced the light bulb.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Going Off Topic: Tea Party Protesters Miss the Message

Speaking of Michele Bachmann (see previous post), she's leading a big anti-health care reform rally in Washington, D.C., today.

Some of the protesters, however, are sending mixed signals, carrying signs wondering about the president's birth certificate (yawn…) and mixing in all sorts of other messages.

Check out some of the wacky signs here.

Rep. Bachmann Gets Caught Lying (Again) about Health Care Reform

The fine folks over at PolitiFact have fun fact-checking the charges and counter-charges made by politicians of all stripes.

Then there's Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is a one-woman full employment agency for PolitiFact. Without fail, Bachmann provides a steady stream of whoppers and stretchers about whatever it is she doesn't like.

Bachmann's latest lie involves bogus statements about the pending health care bill. PolitiFact rates her recent charges as a "Pants of Fire" lie.

Read all about it here.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maureen Dowd Takes Down Rush the Narcissist

Columnist Maureen Dowd isn't everyone's cup of tea. Too often, she's an equal opportunity slicer-and-dicer, chopping up Sacred Cows on the Left and Right.

Yet Dowd is often funny and she can be spot-on, as she is this week in her rip of professional blowhard Rush Limbaugh.

Here's a tasty morsel pertaining to Limbaugh's inane criticisms of President Obama:
If W. had gone to Dover in the middle of the night to salute the war dead, Limbaugh and Liz Cheney would have been gushing about his patriotism.

But since it’s Obama who at last showed up there to see the brutal cost of war, they simply have to dismiss the moving moment as a publicity stunt.

Years ago, when I dubbed Dubya “The Boy Emperor,” Limbaugh spewed a stream of personal invective about me that embarrassed even my mother, a Limbaugh fan.

But now Limbaugh calls Obama the “man-child president.”

The 48-year-old Obama is skinny and getting skinnier, but there’s nothing childish about him. He more or less raised himself and came to terms with his Oedipal demons on his own, and he radiates a hard-won maturity.

W., on the other hand, was like a kid who knew that Daddy’s friends would take care of him; he was always running off to the gym or going biking, leaving the governing to his regents, Cheney and Rummy, or incompetents like Brownie.

On Climate Change, Inhofe Leads the Party of No Show

The senator from the Oil and Gas Industry, Jim 'No Show' Inhofe, has taken his ball and gone home. He doesn't play well with others, especially when he's blowing smoke.

There are real and serious concerns about climate change and the role that fossil fuels and other human activities have played in creating that change.

Inhofe doesn't care. His mind is made up and he doesn't want to be confused by facts and other silly details. The story here.

Gun Owners Misfire Again: PolitiFact Corrects Bogus E-mail

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It can provide average citizens with all sorts of news and information at the push of a button.

It can also be a huge source of lies and malicious distortions, especially in the hands of less-than-scrupulous partisans.

Which brings us to the Gun Owners of America, the source of a chain e-mail that claims all guns will have to be declared on tax forms next year.

Well, no. Wrong. PolitiFact has fact-checked the claim and awarded the Gun Owners its dubious "Pants on Fire" award.

The lie is documented here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fun & Games in Political Paranoia: Wingnuts Go Wild

Barack Obama was elected president one year ago.

In honor of the occasion, some wag at The Huffington Post complied a list of the Top 11 Most Paranoid Conspiracy Theories dreamed up by the loose screws over at the far right end of the dial.

It's great and completely silly reading, though not exactly high on the veracity scale. Some of the players are hardly surprising. They include serial fabricator Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the gang.

The entire Top 11 list is here.

Utah's Orrin Hatch: Helping People is Bad for the GOP's Future

Those dang Democrats. As Sen. Orrin Hatch has pointed out, the real reason Republicans oppose health care reform is because it will help people.

Can you imagine? A government that wants to help its citizens.

We are not making this up. Hatch said it plainly: If health care reform goes through, it's likely to help so many people with their medical costs that they'll vote Democratic forever, thus ensuring a future dominated by Democrats.

This is highly dubious assertion on several counts, of course, but it's an also illustration of the Right's resistance to common sense and political reality.

Read the story here.