Sunday, February 28, 2010

Great Moments in Crazy: Glenn Beck Speaks but Doesn't Think

Glenn Beck will be coming to Tulsa in a couple of weeks for a public lovefest. The Fox News wingbag will undoubtedly draw adoring masses of uncritical fans who will hang on his every word.

Before he arrives in T-town, AltTulsa wants to do its part to inform Tulsans of Beck's political philosophy (a term we use very loosely in Beck's case).

The record shows that Beck is more hot air and nonsense than, well, anything resembling common sense. Here's an example on Beck's thoughtfulness (ha!) from 2005:
When I see a 9/11 victim family on television, or whatever, I'm just like, 'Oh shut up' I'm so sick of them because they're always complaining.
Wow! With this kind of moronic insensitivity, it's no wonder Beck's advertisers have deserted his Fox program in droves.

Confused Patriots: Frank Rich on Violent, Anti-Government Wingnuts

Frank Rich hits the over-the-top Tea Party rhetoric squarely between the eyes.

Writing in today's New York Times, Rich finds many reasons to doubt the phony patriotism of guys like Andrew Stack, the Austin man who committed suicide (and committed murder) by crashing his airplane into an IRS office building.

Rich connects the dots between Stack's violence and the Tea Party gang:
[Stack left] behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner. That rant inspired like-minded Americans to create instant Facebook shrines to his martyrdom. Soon enough, some cowed politicians, including the newly minted Tea Party hero Scott Brown, were publicly empathizing with Stack’s credo — rather than risk crossing the most unforgiving brigade in their base.
Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, even rationalized Stack’s crime.
Outrageous, don't you think? We have so-called patriots—and a Republican senator and congressman!—defending and even celebrating violence.

So much for reasoned debate from our friends on the Right. The full Rich column is here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cool Canadian: Curling's Michael Jordan

Wow! How great is Olympic curling?

Okay, it's not that great. Down here in the Sooner state, we've never even met a curler.

But our northern neighbors, the oh-so-sensible Canadians, love this sport. And to its credit, NPR has produced a profile of Kevin Martin, aka K-Mart, the "Michael Jordan" of curling.

K-Mart doesn't look like a superstar, but—hey!—it's curling. The full story (with audio) is here.

GOP Priorities, Kentucky Edition

A tidbit from Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:
Sen. Bunning (R-KY) uses filibuster rules to block unemployment benefits for over a million, complains he had to miss a basketball game to do it.
Boo-hoo. Poor Sen. Bunting. He whines while he holds up the nation's business.

The entire story, courtesy of Think Progress, is here.

Who Are the Tenthers? A Look at the Constitutional Radicals

The Tenthers—including some Oklahoma legislators—keep banging their drum, but it's an ugly sound. (Dixiecrats, anyone? These guys don't even like Lincoln!)  

For those of you who haven't been keeping up, the Tenthers are folks who think the Tenth Amendment offers the states protection from the nasty federal government—it's a whole new way to exert state's rights.

Unfortunately for the Tenthers, it's also a novel interpretation of the Constitution, one that's unlikely to pass muster in the courts. 

Worse, the whole moment raises the specter of George Wallace and other segregationists who advocated for the state's right to oppress its citizens. Who needs danged ole civil rights anyway?

State Sen. Randy Brogdon of Owasso is an Oklahoma Tenther, not a good sign for someone who's running for governor. (Question: Does Brogdon really want Oklahoma to secede from the U.S.?)

Brogdon and his fans might want to check out this report from John Avlon at The Daily Beast, which makes these folks seem more than a little scary. Read it here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

More Skepticism about Glenn Beck: The GOP Goes After Fox Blowhard

Glenn Beck is coming to Tulsa next month. But the adoring masses who will plunk down good money to hear Beck spout off might want to rethink their support of the Fox News windbag.

Turns out that a number of high profile conservatives are having second thoughts about Beck and his political philosophy. In recent weeks, Beck has been blasted by Newt Gingrich, Bill Bennett, David Frum and others. Even El Rushbo has weighed in on Beck—and it ain't pretty.

Their complaint: Beck doesn't actually know what he's talking about. (Geez, we coulda told 'em that years ago.)

Read all about it in The Washington Monthly  here.

Who's Gumming Up Washington? Here's the List (Hint: Sooner Senators)

A political wag at The Daily Beast has put together a list of the blockheads who keep Washington from getting much done.

It's a bipartisan list too—there's plenty of blame to go around. (Some prominent Democrats are on the list.) To the surprise of no one, both Oklahoma senators also make the list.

Tom CoburnDr. No himself—takes this as high praise. Unfortunately, Coburn also aids the cause of gridlock, something Oklahoma voters ought to keep in mind the next time they complain about a Do-Nothing Congress. 

The link is here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Who's the Commie? Jon Stewart Has a Laugh at Beck's Expense

Ole Miss Students Dump Colonel Reb

The racial history of Ole Miss is not a happy one.

This was one of those universities, after all, that had to be desegregated by force. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy had to call out the troops so that James Meredith could go to class at the University of Mississippi.

Today, however, another vestige of the Old South bit the dust. The students voted to do away with their mascot, known as Colonel Reb. Read the Washington Post story about it here.

Daily Beast Writer Takes Apart the CPAC Nonsense

Conservative big-wigs and hangers-on were in Washington last week for the big CPAC meeting, a festival of backslapping and half-baked ideas. 

As Exhibit One, we present the candidate who won the CPAC straw poll: Texas Rep. Ron Paul. Good luck with this guy.

Now we see that a Daily Beast writer has sorted through the hot air and located the nonsense. It wasn't hard. Lowlights include Mitt Romney, Mark Rubio and more. Read it here.

Fact-Checking Palin: Ex-Governor Gets the Story Wrong Again

Sarah Palin is coming to Tulsa, but if her past is any indication, her speech will be filled with mistakes and errors.

The half-term governor of Alaska is all hairspray and soundbite. Add it up and you get almost nothing of substance.

PolitiFact just checked Palin's claims about federal stimulus funds going to Chinese turbine manufacturers. It's false. She was, PolitiFact found, mixed-up.  

Read the actual facts here.

Dispatch from Crazytown: Maryland GOP Senate Candidate Goes Birther

Don't you just love the conspiracy crowd? With these folks, every wacko rumor could be true—hell, it probably is. (You know the moon landing was all staged in Arizona, don't you?)

Which brings us to a Maryland candidate for the U.S. senate, one who said flatly that President Obama was not born in the U.S. In that case, of course, Obama is a pretend president, which is why the flat earth folks are trying to delegitimize the White House usurper.

Sadly, we are not making this up. The crazies are out there and they keep beating this dead horse. Memo to Crazytown: We had an election, Obama won, you lost—get over it! 

See the story and video, from Think Progress, here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Homeless in Tulsa: Fox23 Looks at the People Who Are Suffering

Friday, February 19, 2010

Colbert Suggests Palin Presidential Slogan for 2012

From The Colbert Report on Comedy Central: 

Sarah Palin at Tea Party Nation: How's that hopey changey stuff workin' out for ya?

Stephen Colbert: Finally, a slogan for her next presidential run:

PALIN 2012

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sen. Scott Brown Flunks the Truth Test on Stimulus Job Claim

The good folks at PolitiFact have a pesky habit for checking the veracity of statements made by politicians. It's a worthy excercise, one that skewers pols of all stripes. 

Liberal or conservative or in between—it doesn't matter. If it does pass the truth test, PolitiFact is going to call the politician on it.

Which brings us to newly minted Sen. Scott Brown. Brown criticized the federal stimulus bill, claiming that the bill hasn't created a single job—not one. 

Of course, it's a lie. PolitiFact have the claim its lowest rating—the infamous Pants on Fire Award. Get the whole story here.

Could Mayor Bartlett Be Recalled? Some Tulsans Think So

KTUL Channel 8 is reporting tonight that a group of Tulsa citizens is hoping to recall Mayor Dewey Bartlett. 

Talk about a short honeymoon. Bartlett was elected in November and took office in December. From the story:
"He didn't want to negotiate the right way so we're calling him out on it -  maladministration of office," explains Melissa Shaw, who's heading the recall effort.
Read or watch the Channel 8 story here.

The George W. Bush Legacy: 'Taint'

Those zany conservatives are meeting this week in Washington for the CPAC convention.

Not surprisingly, the name of George W. Bush, leader of the Republican Party for eight years, came up early in the meeting. Here's what Talking Points Memo reported today on that point:
Conservative stalwart David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union chairman, which sponsors CPAC, tells Politico that he "feel(s) tainted by my association with the Bush Republican Party."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Leonard Maltin Writes About Great But Forgotten Movies

Film critic Leonard Maltin has published a new book about great movies that almost nobody saw.

The book, 151 Best Movies You've Never Seen, is Maltin's list of interesting movies that somehow slipped through the proverbial crack and never found an audience.

At AltTulsa, we love the idea of resurrecting overlooked movies. We haven't seen the book, but we heard a good report about it on National Public Radio this week.

The NPR story and Maltin interview is here.

Zing! Rachel Maddow Checks Dick Cheney's Record on Terrorists

Rachel Maddow, the MSNBC host, is a smart political player. She does her homework and makes her arguments based on facts, not fantasy, or, in the case of Dick Cheney, wrong-headed partisan sniping.

Take the case of the so-called Underwear Bomber, whose arrest and confinement has been criticized by numerous Republican leaders, including the former vice president.

Maddow looked at the Bush Administration record and nailed Cheney's hide to the wall:

Dick Cheney from This Week:  I think the proper way to deal with [the underpants bomber] would have been to treat him as an enemy combatant.

Rachel Maddow: That would be a lot more convincing if you‘d ever done that yourself when you had the chance. Every single person arrested in this country since 9/11 on terrorism charges has been handled as a civilian criminal, which includes being Mirandized—every single one. The only two outliers are Jose Padilla and Ali al-Marri, both of whom were in military custody for a while. (During which they didn‘t cooperate with their interrogators, by the way.) But then even they were ultimately handled in the federal criminal system, treated as civilian criminals.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tulsa Fares Poorly in Well-Being Index

Some good folks in the evaluation business released their "Well-Being Index" this week and—surprise!—Tulsa fared poorly.

Out of 162 U.S. cities, Tulsa ranked 115, much closer to the bottom of the list than the top. Oklahoma City ranked 30 slots higher, coming in at 85.

The ranking includes six health measures, including emotional health, work environment, healthy behaviors and measure of physical health.

Western cities dominated the top of the list. Boulder, Colo., topped the rankings and several California cities were in the top ten.

Tulsa also fell far behind other cities in the region, including Wichita, 39, and Austin, which came in at 45. 

USA Today has the details here. 

Profiles in Hypocrisy: WSJ Finds GOP Flips-Flops on Stimulus Funds

Republicans are always hammering the Democrats for wasteful spending. The Dems always throw money at problems, the GOP claims, while they are fiscally responsible and would never, ever betray this core principle of Republican politics.

Except when they do. This Republican financial flip-flop turns out to be routine, as that liberal rag known as the Wall Street Journal reported today.

Some GOP hypocrisy highlights:
Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who called the stimulus a "wasteful spending spree" that "misses the mark on all counts," wrote to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis in October in support of a grant application from a group in his district which, he said, "intends to place 1,000 workers in green jobs."
Republican Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina and Jean Schmidt of Ohio sent letters in October asking for consideration of funding requests from local organizations training workers for energy-efficiency projects.
The Environmental Protection Agency received two letters from Sen. John Cornyn of Texas asking for consideration of grants for clean diesel projects in San Antonio and Houston. Mr. Cornyn is the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. One of the letters was signed jointly with Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, also of Texas.
The agency also appeared to have received eight identical letters from Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah recommending infrastructure projects in his state, seven of which were sent before stimulus legislation was passed by Congress.
The entire congressional delegation of Alabama, including its two Republican senators, wrote to then-Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell asking for $15 million for cogongrass eradication and control programs in the state. The state ended up getting a $6.3 million grant.
Not mentioned in this rundown is our very own GOP flip-flopper, Sen. Jim Inhofe. Oh yes. As Rachel Maddow reported on MSNBC last week, Inhofe has been out front criticizing the stimulus package, but taken credit in the Sooner state for bringing home the bacon. 

Saying one thing in Washington and another in Oklahoma—that's the very definition of hypocrisy.

Fox News: Distorting the Facts (Again) to Score Cheap Points

Leave it to Fox News to make mountains out of molehills, at least when it suits their purposes. 

As it happens, a car in Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade was rear-ended the other day, slightly injuring skater Peggy Fleming.

Biden's motorcade has been involved in two other accidents in recent months as well, which prompted Fox to run this headline:
Biden Motorcades Keep Mowing People Down 
The problem, of course, is that no one was mowed down. In the most recent incident, one of the Veep's vans was hit by another vehicle. Biden was not a fault, nor was the Secret Service. 

It's silly. It's ridiculous. It's Fox News, of course. The story explained here.

Iraq War Chronicle: Photographer's Pictures and Stories Reveal the Cost of War

How does it feel to be in combat, to hear bullets zipping past your face and know they were meant for you?

This is one of the harrowing questions that comes up in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a book of war photographs and stories by Ashley Gilbertson.

Gilbertson, a young Australian, covered the Iraq war for the New York Times and other publications. His book, published in 2007 by the University of Chicago Press, shows the pain and suffering of combat on U.S. soldiers as well as the civilian population in Iraq.
Gilbertson's photos are often as gripping as they are tragic, revealing the human drama and waste of war. For us, his writing was equally impressive, explaining the stories behind the photos and adding an emotional weight that complements the images.

One of the most heartbreaking series of photos involves the deadly 2004 Falluja campaign. Embedded with a marine platoon, Gilbertson took photos of a number of marines who—as the captions explain—died in the fighting.

These are painful photographs. We see the faces of the brave young Americans, knowing they died only a few minutes or hours later.

Gilbertson was under fire many times too, taking extraordinary risks to get pictures for U. S. readers.  From the perspective of 2010, it hardly seems worth it. Nevertheless, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, military-lingo for WTF, is a powerful document in its own right, a testament to the valor and misery that is combat.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dept. of Hatefulness: Wingnut Ministers Lead Prayers for Obama's Death

Sad, but true.

Today, President's Day, is being used by some so-called Christian ministers to pray for the death of President Obama. Worse, they are asking their followers to do the same. 

This seems more than a little un-Christian. In fact, it strikes us as thoroughly hateful and anti-Christian, not to mention anti-patriotic.

John Avlon at The Daily Beast has the unholy details. Read his story here.

WaPost's Chris Cillizza on Former VP Dick Cheney: He's Good for Obama

Dick (Five Deferments) Cheney—one of the least popular people in American public life—keeps talking about his magnificent strategy for keeping the nation safe from terrorists.

Cheney was on television once again Sunday, trying to show that hardball (that is, Republican) tactics are the only thing the terrorists understand.

Those weenie Democrats want to coddle the terrorists, or so Cheney claims. Why Democrats want to actually follow the rule of law! What nerve!

But the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza gets it right:
The more Cheney talks -- about almost anything -- the more people (especially independent voters) are reminded about what they didn't like about the last administration. And, that's very good for the Obama White House.
UPDATE: TMP's Josh Marshall reflects on the former vice president's eight years in office:
I miss Dick Cheney's unbroken record of success.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Science Alert: Despite Inhofe's Hysteria, Weather Is Not the Same as Climate

Since Tulsa is the home of one of the world's leading science deniers, Sen. Jim Inhofe, AltTulsa and other thinking Tulsa citizens have a duty to point out a few basic facts. 

One of these facts is fairly fundamental: When it's cold outside in a particular place at a particular time, that is not evidence against global warming or climate change. 

Here's how Jeff Masters at WeatherUnderground put it this week:
As I discussed in my previous post, record-breaking snowstorms are not an indication that global warming is not occurring. In fact, we can expect there may be more heavy snowstorms in regions where it is cold enough to snow, due to the extra moisture global warming has added to the atmosphere--an extra 4% since 1970. Snow is not the same as cold ...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Hate and Derangement on the Web, Paranoid Tulsa Edition

AltTulsa believes in free speech. We believe in debate and discussion, even raucous debate and discussion. 

But not all speech is good speech. Some speech is harmful. Some speech is hateful and vile. Some speech does harm to the body politic, promoting violence and hatred. 

That brings us to the World Wide Web, which can be both wonderful and enlightening, as well as disgusting and terrible. 

Checking the web today, we found a series of Tulsa postings in the latter category, statements that  advance lies, half-truths and error.

The subject of most of this vitriol is Barack Obama (of course), who has been targeted by a Tulsan (or two) with a nasty streak. Worse, he (or she) is uninformed, paranoid and a really terrible speller. 

Democracy needs educated and thoughtful citizens. We submit that this Tulsan doesn't measure up. Some samples from four recent posts:
Obama continues to fall from grace of his own Socialist party but plans to increase his popularity by more speeches and photo shoots with the Crotchless Bomber a/k/a Johnnie No Balls or Bennie the Bean as he is called in Chicago Politics.
Times are difficult for your President, Barak Hussein Obama. It was reported that Obama has not slept for 58 hours straight and refused to eat on five occasions before 5:30 a.m. Central Standard Time.
Obama takes the oath of office for the Progressive Movement in Washingtron. It goes like this..... " Do you slalemly swear to Shoot for the Moon and report to Campaign Headquarters in the home of Bill Ayers on a weekly basis ( Yes ). Will you keep a stiff upper lip and extended finger when addressing the Democratic Caucus (Yes ). Will you uphold the fascist cause even if you must lie to the American people ( Absolutely Yes..Are you kidding me.....No Problem ) Will you clean the stalls and shine our shoes when asked . ( Does a bear s____in the woods).
Every time the man talks it becomes more and more obvious that he is nothing more than a smooth talking organizer glorified in his own narcist self. A neurosis of malignant origin that will end in self destruction. America must seperate itself from this errotic mania mentality and the time starts NOW ! I am an Independent Tea Party Supporter. 

Texas Tea Party Candidate Trips Over 9/11 Truth Questions

Tea Party zealots embrace a slew of conspiracy theories, some of them quite goofy. 

Now Debra Medina, the Tea Party candidate for governor of Texas, is flirting with conspiracy theories about September 11, 2001—the crackpot notion that the New York City and D.C. attacks were an "inside job."

This is seriously kooky stuff, but hardly surprising given the fantasy-based nature of the Tea Party movement. On the bright side, this may be a sign that the Medina campaign is going nowhere. 

The details, from the Austin Statesman, here.

Palin's Poll Numbers Continue to Drop, Even Among the GOP

Sarah Palin is turning up in public, but the results aren't what the ex-governor expected.

She's been hawking her book and, last Saturday, stirred up the Tea Party convention in Nashville with a rousing speech. But Palin is a vapid as ever, speaking in platitudes and offering little in the way of actual policies or thoughtful analysis.

And her poll numbers keep sliding, even among those who should be on her bandwagon. In fact, 70 percent of respondents say she's not qualified to be president. The details  here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Conservative at the Tea Party: It's Kooks and Conspiracy Nuts

The Tea Party folks cast themselves as patriotic Americans fighting to save the nation. The record, however, shows that they should be fighting to keep their feet on the ground.

Newsweek sent a conservative to the Tea Party convention in Nashville last week. His portrait was unflattering. Turns out the Tea Party is filled with conspiracy theorists who don't like or trust anybody who can pronounce a three-syllable word. 

A sample from the report
Their villain list includes the big banks; bailed-out corporations; James Cameron, whose Avatar is seen as a veiled denunciation of the U.S. military; Republican Party institutional figures they feel ignored by, such as chairman Michael Steele; colleges and universities (the more prestigious, the more evil); TheWashington Post; Anderson Cooper; and even FOX News pundits, such as Bill O'Reilly, who have heaped scorn on the tea-party movement's more militant oddballs.
It would be sad if it weren't so stupid. Read all the conspiracies here.

The Newt Mistake: Fear-Mongering Again and Getting It Wrong

Disgraced former House Majority Leader, Newt Gingrich, is a consummate BS artist. When the facts don't fit your agenda, invent new facts. 

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo described the moment this way
Classic moment last night on The Daily Show when Newt Gingrich explained that it was okay to mirandize "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and not Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab because Reid, unlike Abdulmutallab, is a US citizen.
Only, of course, Reid is a British citizen.

One Year Ago: Celebrating The Great Bates Backdown Day

It's February 10, the one-year anniversary of the Great Bates Backdown, the very day that Tulsa columnist and blogger Michael Bates capitulated in his ill-fated attack on the Tulsa World.

Let's review, shall we?

In January 2009, Bates wrote a column for Urban Tulsa Weekly attacking the World (which Bates insisted on calling the Whirrled) for cooking the books on its circulation figures and the auditing of those figures.

When the World reacted by filing a libel suit against UTW and Bates, the newspaper quickly backed off the story and apologized.

That left Bates in an awkward position, forced to defend his charges.

The defense did not go well, as Bates admitted in a letter dated February 10, 2009, exactly one year ago. In it, Bates admitted to numerous errors in his UTW column. 

Without reprinting the letter in full, let's just say that it was a considerable admission of flawed reporting. 

The letter starts out with these words, "I would like to set the record straight… " and goes on to include these words and phrases: "numerous errors," "false," "unfounded," "incorrect," "regret and retract," "absolutely no evidence" and so on.

As we said, a considerable admission of flawed reporting. Meanwhile, Batesline, a Tulsa blog, continues.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Good Book: Stories by Alice Munro

Speaking of James Watts (see previous post on Wells Tower), the AltTulsa bloggers want to give a shout out to Watts for his review of Alice Munro's book, Too Much Happiness, in the Jan. 24, 2010, edition of the Tulsa World.

For those who don't know, Munro is a master of the short story and Too Much Happiness is her newest collection. We haven't read it, but we have read many other Munro stories.

As Watts puts it, Munro's prose is precise and economical, which "makes each event vivid, each emotion sting."

Alice Munro is a treasure. A link to Watts' story is here.

BookSmart Tulsa: Wells Tower to Read Wednesday

Writer Wells Tower will be reading from his book, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Wednesday night in a BookSmart Tulsa event.

Tower's book is a collection of short stories. The book was named a Notable Book of 2009 by the New York Times. The reading will be held at Tulsa's Ambassador Hotel at 7 p.m.

James Watts published a good story about the event in today's Tulsa World. A link is here

A link to the BookSmart Tulsa website is here. A New York Times review of Tower's book is here.

The Embarrassing Mr. Inhofe: More Clap-Trap from Tulsa's Own

As much as we hate to admit it, Sen. Jim Inhofe is one of our own. That's right, Sooner fans, Jim Inhofe is a Tulsan. In fact, he's the former mayor of our fair city.

Unfortunately for Tulsa and the state of Oklahoma, Inhofe is a partisan political hack. Instead of leadership, thoughtfulness or vision, we get reactionary clap-trap and partisan salvos. 

On global warming and climate change, Inhofe is a true believer—he truly believes the whole thing is a hoax. It's made Inhofe a national laughing stock, but the man himself is proud of his stubbornness and defiance.

Never one to consider facts or actual evidence, Inhofe persists in believing what he wants to believe. It's the Inhofe way—he don't need no stinkin' science! 

So when the snow comes as it does every winter, Inhofe and his allies claim that this supports their position, notwithstanding actual weather patterns.

Think Progress has more on the latest Inhofe blunder. Read it here.

Jon Stewart Spoofs Palin and the Tea Party

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tea Party Values: Birtherism, Homophobia, and Repressed Racism

The know-nothings were in Nashville this weekend and they showed their true colors. We're speaking, of course, of the Tea Party convention, a meeting of supposedly ordinary folks who seem extraordinarily gullible.

Talking Points Memo has examined some of the convention's most memorable moments. Not surprisingly, some of the speeches celebrated the worst ideas of the 1950s. 

Among the Tea Party crowd, this is cutting-edge stuff.  Details and paranoia here

A Great Gospel Voice: NPR Highlights The Terrific Mahalia Jackson

What makes a great voice? That's the question that NPR asks in its series, "50 Great Voices." 

Today's installment featured the incredible Mahalia Jackson, gospel singer and civil rights activist. We admit that we didn't know too much about Jackson's music or her civil rights work with Martin Luther King Jr. 

Thanks to this NPR series, we know a lot more now. And we love Jackson's voice. Check out the audio story here.

Truth-O-Meter Time: Palin's Charges Again Prove False

Sarah of Alaska is at it again. Devoid of substance but free with her political clap-trap, ex.-Gov. Sarah Palin has made claims about the president that can't be supported. In short, she invents "facts" and passes them off as truth. 

The good people at PolitiFact have checked her claim that Obama often voted present when he served in the U.S. Senate.

Oh—that evil Obama. Always pulling the wool over the eyes of the unsuspecting public. Except, of course, he didn't.

PolitiFact concludes with a definitive statement: 
Palin's statement is incorrect in two ways. She initally appears to suggest that Obama had only 150 days of experience in the U.S. Senate, which is inaccurate. She then says he voted present many times, which also is not correct. He never voted present in the U.S. Senate. So we find her statement False.

Rein of Error: Fact-Checking Palin's Tea Party Speech

Sarah Palin wowed the Tea Party Convention in Nashville Saturday night, but she did it by making claims that weren't quite true.

Her statements about the Obama Administration's national security policies turned out to be fiction, not fact. Indeed, Palin said what she wishes were true, not what actually is. In short, she lied. 

Naturally, the Tea Party crowd lapped it up. They weren't about to question the Gospel According to Sarah. 

Media Matters checked some specifics from Palin's speech. The gory details are here.

Dana Perino: Making Up Stuff and Hoping No One Notices

Dana Perino, former Bush White House shill, is still spinning the news. Or, more accurately, lying. 

As part of the continuing effort to criticize the Obama Administration as soft on terrorism, Perino repeated the claim that the Christas Day "underwear" bomber bought a one-way ticket to Detroit. This was a "red flag" that security officials missed, She said.

Except that it's not true. In fact, as many media outlets have reported, he bought a round-trip ticket. 

As the old adage goes, "Never let the facts stand in the way of a good story." Check out the details here

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Frank Rich on Gays in the Military and the Right's Curious Silence

Frank Rich, columnist for the New York Times, is a thoughtful writer who knows his way around the issues. That's why his commentary on the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is worth reading.

Here's the opening paragraph: 
A funny thing happened after Adm. Mike Mullen called for gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military: A curious silence befell much of the right. If this were a Sherlock Holmes story, it would be the case of the attack dogs that did not bark.
Read the entire Rich column here.

SNL Parodies Fox News Nonsense

Dead Blogs: Some Tulsa Blogs Fall Silent

Tulsa bloggers come and go—that's the nature of the digital medium. People and groups start out with a bang and, in time, slowly fade away.

Not so long ago, for example, a group of local scribblers went online collectively as Tulsa Bloggers. If we recall correctly, the group had ambitious plans, including video podcasts and the like. Their homepage included several prominent voices, several of which are now lost in cyberspace. 

Former city councilor Chris Medlock made a splash for a while with Medblogged, a political site now dormant. Another local blog, MeeCiteeWukor, provided news from the perspective of a Tulsa city employee. It too has vanished.

Then there was Our Tulsa World, a blog not connected to the local newspaper (despite its name). OTW can't be found on the web these days either.

On the plus side, new blogs continue to emerge in T-town and around the Sooner state. For a list, check the Blog Oklahoma website here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oklahoma's Bad Teeth: Tulsa Dental Clinic Helps Those in Need

The Sooner state ranks low in dental care. Very low. Out of 50 states, Oklahoma is fiftieth. 

Fortunately, some folks in the dental business—dentists and their staffs—came to the rescue this weekend with a free (yes, free!) dental clinic in Tulsa. 

Based on the huge turnout, we'd say the clinic was a success.

The turnout also shows the need for health care reform, since reform could go a long way toward more affordable and more accessible medical and dental care.

The NewsOn6, has the details. The story is here.

Nashville Update: Tea Party Convention Protested by Tea Party Members

The Tea Party Conference in Nashville isn't without problems. In fact, the conference has been plagued by questions, especially about the substantial (read: profit-making) conference fee.

Never pass up a chance to make a buck. 

Now Politico is reporting that some Tea  Party members themselves have protested their own convention. 

It's not a pretty picture. Read it here.

WorldNetDaily Editor: Pushing the Birther Nonsense at Tea Party Meeting

At the Nashville convention of the Tea Party, yet another reason to take the Tea Party folks with a large grain of salt:
WorldNetDaily Editor-in-Chief Joseph Farah gave a 40-minute dinner speech to the National Tea Party Convention and spent at least 10 minutes of it on jokes and meandering observations about the citizenship of President Barack Obama. [...] Then Farah shared his ambition to make sure that "signs saying 'Where's the Birth Certificate'" appear at every Obama campaign stop in 2012.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Every Two Years: Lying About Who They Are

Talk show host Jimmy Fallon speaking this week:
Everyone’s talking about the military’s 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' policy. Admiral Mike Mullen said it’s wrong to force people 'to lie about who they are' in order to serve their country. Then Congress was like, 'Who cares? We do that every election.'

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bad Blogs: Tulsa Tea Party Has Nothing to Say

The Tea Party folks are usually loud and highly opinioned. Okay, they're mad. Really mad, in at least two senses of the word. 

The Tulsa Tea Party has a blog where you might expect over-the-top rhetoric and a slew of half-baked political ideas. 

No such luck. Their blog is weak. It includes nothing more than a few links, mostly to the site of State Sen. Randy Brogdon, who wants to be governor. (If name recognition counts, he's got a snowball's chance.)

So there's little to recommend the local Tea Party blog, not even the usual comic relief provided by the ordinary Tea Party zanies.

Check it out here.

Limbaugh Lies: Rush Wrong Again on Obama

Rush is lying again. The man has no shame when it comes to inventing stories about President Obama.

This time Rush is making stuff up about Obama law school years, as if Rush, a college dropout, knows anything about Harvard Law.

What makes this especially interesting is Obama's defender, hardly an Obama partisan. The story here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Legal Limbo: GOP Activist James O'Keefe Tries to Explain

The conservative joker James O'Keefe turned up on the Sean Hannity show last night, trying to explain his ill-fated effort to infiltrate the office of Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.

O'Keefe and his buddies were caught and now face criminal charges, much to the embarrassment of various Right-wing activists and politicians.

O'Keefe, according to some press reports, was an intern for Oklahoma Rep. Mary Fallin, a candidate for governor. Fallin's office has denied that report.

In any case, O'Keffe is trying to talk his way out of the charges, appearing on Hannity's Fox News gabfest.

Interesting commentary and video here.