Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Utah's Hatch Supports the NYC Mosque

Let's hear it for Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah's senior U.S. senator and a strong conservative.

Hatch has announced support for the so-called Ground Zero mosque, one of the few mainstream conservatives to stand up proudly for freedom of religion.

The demagogues and scaremongers are still howling, of course, providing rhetorical cover for actual terrorists who want the U.S. to be seen as violently anti-Muslim.

Hatch, a member of the LDS or Mormon church, probably knows a thing or two about religious intolerance.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Palin and the Public: Voters Have a Problem with Saint Sarah

President Palin—don't bet on it. Despite her appeal to the radical right and highly deluded folks, Sarah Palin is not winning converts.

Check out some recent numbers:
59 percent of Americans believe Sarah Palin lacks the “ability to be an effective president,” according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll. Only 26 percent of adults said she would have the ability to be effective, while that number is considerably higher — 47 percent — among Republicans. Only 21 percent of independents said Palin would have the skills to be effective.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Columnist Slams Glenn Beck: America Is Better Than Beck

 Columnist Bob Herbert, writing in the New York Times, nails Fox blowhard Glenn Beck:
America is better than Glenn Beck. For all of his celebrity, Mr. Beck is an ignorant, divisive, pathetic figure. On the anniversary of the great 1963 March on Washington he will stand in the shadows of giants — Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Who do you think is more representative of this nation?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Contrary to GOP Opinion, Stimulus Money Is Doing Good Work

The Republicans like to whine about wasted stimulus money. It's all pork barrel projects and silliness, they insist. Oklahoma's two GOP senators, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, are prime examples of this tendency.

There is another side to the story, of course, good projects the GOP doesn't want to talk about.

Some stimulus projects are quite reasonable, helping deserving people (such as wounded veterans) and rebuilding infrastructure. 

Despite the conservative whining, we need good government and we need federal spending. 

Some of the worthy projects are listed here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Trouble with Mary: Fallin Brings in Mississippi's Barbour

Mary Fallin seems determined to drive up her negatives. Why else would she bring Mississippi Gov. Haley (Big Boy) Barbour to Tulsa for a private fundraising event?

Rep. Fallin, the Republican Party nominee for governor, ought to be connecting to ordinary Oklahoma voters. Instead, she turned up at a private event (no common folks allowed) in Tulsa with Barbour, former GOP National Chairman and full-time partisan wingbag. 

That's right, Sooner fans, Fallin is looking to Mississippi for enlightened political leadership. That's the same great state that is 50 out of 50 in nearly every meaningful statistical indicator. 

Mississippi: Not the first place most Oklahomans would look for an inspiring example. 

As the Tulsa World noted, Barbour is "a longtime GOP insider and lobbyist"—no fresh face here.

Then there's this: Big Boy Barbour has complained loudly about federal spending, but used federal stimulus money to balance his state's budget. 

Mary Fallin and Big Boy Barbour claim that they want "to take back the country." Apparently, they want to take it down too, all the way down to Mississippi's level. 

Beckapoolza: Beck's Washington Rally Draws Tea Party Critics

How big is Glenn Beck's ego? 

That's the question some of his one-time followers are asking in advance of Beck's upcoming rally in Washington, D.C.

The rally is supposed to promote conservative and Tea Party ideas (such as they are), but some conservatives are complaining that it's all about Beck. 

One of them called it "Beckapalooza." 

Geez, who could have seen this coming? The details here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Karen Hughes is an Idiot: Bush Loyalist Gets It Exactly Wrong

Karen Hughes worked for President George W. Bush. One of her jobs was to try to improve the image of the U.S. in the rest of the world, including the Arab world.

In short, Hughes should know that the organizer of the so-called Ground Zero mosque is a Muslin moderate. After all, in the Bush years, she worked with the guy. She knows him and knows he's no radical.

Now, in a fit of apparent insanity, Hughes is opposing the mosque, pretending she doesn't know the man and acting as if it will be a monument to anti-Americanism.

It won't be. But Hughes is an idiot. The details here: Karen Hughes doesn't remember.

McCain Set to Trounce Tea Party Candidate in Arizona

Another Tea Party candidate is about to crash and burn. 

J. D. Haysworth, the right-wing challenger to Arizona Sen. John McCain, appears to be headed for a big loss in today's primary election.

It's more evidence that the Tea Party doesn't have the political clout to pull off election victories in most places, where incumbents and mainstream candidates keep winning.

In fact, the anti-incumbent rhetoric is more smoke that fire, a noisy protest movement that has fewer followers than conventional wisdom suggests.

The Christian Science Monitor has the election story from Arizona. Their report is here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

E-mail Hysteria: More Lies about the Health Care Law

Some folks just make stuff up—the facts be damned.

The new health care law, for example, has been subjected to a misinformation campaign, most of it by the right-wing noise machine. 

Thus a recent email that assures gullible readers of a new real estate tax that will penalize everyone who sells real estate, all to pay for (heavens!) health care.

Unfortunately for the fear-mongers, the facts are different, so different that PolitiFact rated the email claims as "Pants on Fire," a category reserved for especially egregious lies.

As we said, some folks would rather lie that check the facts. Read the full story here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gotcha! Frank Rich on Islamophobia and Hypocrisy at Fox News

Leave it to Frank Rich of the New York Times to locate and slam the hysteria and nonsense that has infected the national discussion regarding the so-called Ground Zero mosque (which is an unoccupied building at Park51, formerly a Burlington Coat Factory).

Turns out (surprise!) that the furor is trumped up and almost completely phony, a product of right-wing blowhards and political opportunists—and Fox News, naturally.

Rich's column, which appears in today's paper, traces the history of this non-story, especially its roots in the Rupert Murdoch empire. As Rich makes plain, there's much less controversy here that the wingbags would have us believe.

Indeed, it's not too much to say that nearly everything pushed by Fox News and its ideological allies is either flat-out wrong or exaggerated beyond recognition. Read the full column here.

In the meantime, savor this bit of Rich insight:
At the Islamophobia command center, Murdoch’s News Corporation, the hypocrisy is, if anything, thicker. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial darkly cited unspecified “reports” that Park51 has “money coming from Saudi charities or Gulf princes that also fund Wahabi madrassas.” As Jon Stewart observed, this brand of innuendo could also be applied to News Corp., whose second largest shareholder after the Murdoch family is a member of the Saudi royal family. Perhaps last week’s revelation that News Corp. has poured $1 million into G.O.P. campaign coffers was a fiendishly clever smokescreen to deflect anyone from following the far greater sum of Saudi money (a $3 billion stake) that has flowed into Murdoch enterprises, or the News Corp. money (at least $70 million) recently invested in a Saudi media company.

The Dim Bulb Express: Sarah Palin Coming to Tulsa

One of the dimmest bulbs in the conservative firmament is coming to T-town.

Yes, Sooner fans, none other that Saint Sarah of Alaska, Sarah Palin, former half-term governor, will be in Tulsa soon as a speaker for an Oklahoma conservative "think" tank (using "think" in the loosest possible sense).

With Palin as the big draw, you know these folks are less interested in working policy solutions or and governance than in superficial grandstanding and rhetorical silliness.

Then there's this bit of news from Florida, a sign that the Palin bandwagon (such as it was) is slowly grinding to a halt:

"An Evening of Hope with Sarah Palin," an event featuring the former Alaska Governor, was supposed to be a minor blockbuster in Jacksonville, Florida, next week, but not everything has gone as planned.
Slow ticket sales have forced event organizers to move the function from the 2,936-seat Moran Theatre to the significantly smaller 609-seat Terry Theatre.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dispatch from Crazytown: Top 10 Right-wing Conpiracy Theories

The highly paranoid, largely delusional conspiracy crowd is out there—in Oklahoma and many other places, still foaming at the mouth about secret concentration camps, black helicopters and a slew of other whacked-out anti-government fantasies.

This would be comical, except that many of these folks are true believers, enabled by loose talk on Internet, talk radio and Fox News (Glenn Beck springs to mind).

The good folks over at Alternet have compiled a helpful list of the Top Ten such theories, including secret government programs, gun confiscation, "Amero" dollars and the like.

It's entertaining stuff, if you have a grip on reality.

Unfortunately, some of our fellow citizens have been living in a fact-free zone, where reality and fantasy are highly subjective concepts.

See the entire list here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sept. 11 Widower Olson Defends NYC Mosque

Sen. Coburn Gets Slammed for Grandstanding

Ah, Dr. Tom Coburn. Our own principled conservative senator, who would never do anything remotely disingenuous.

Oh, wait. He's a politician—just like the rest of the gang. Of course he plays politics and grandstands, especially when it suits his purpose.

A Washington Post columnist has nailed Dr. Tom for his less-than-serious ideas about the D.C. area Metro system.

Dr. Tom thinks no federal regulation is necessary, but locals think otherwise, because (unlike Dr. Tom) they have to ride the Metro.

Read more about it here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oklahoma Beer: Mustang Brewing Comes Out a Winner

Tim Schoelen and his Oklahoma-based beer are winning praise in the craft-brewing world.

As reported in today's Tulsa World, Schoelen's Mustang Brewing Company is proving popular in the Sooner state. In fact, Schoelen's Washita Wheat won a silver medal at the World Beer Championships in July.

Mustang beer is available in Tulsa at McNellie's, Kilkenny's, Joe Mama's and the Fox & Hound, according to the World.

The AT gang admits to bending an elbow on occasion, so we plan on quaffing a pint or two of Schoelen's brew.

Kudos to Schoelen for creating a distinctive Oklahoma brew. And kudos to the World for bringing this to the attention of Oklahoma readers. The World's story is here.

Losing Her Touch: Palin's Lame Legacy

Headline of the Day, courtesy of USA  Today:

Two Sarah Palin picks go down to defeat

Editor's note: Palin has endorsed Mary Fallin in the race for Oklahoma governor. Hmmm…

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Climate Misinformation: Wisconsin Republican's Junk Science

Let's call it the Inhofe Institute of Junk Science—a way to recognize the head-in-the-sand ideas of Tulsa's very own apostle of bogus science. 

Apparently, other Republicans also ignore science in favor of fantasy. Thus we get erroneous climate information from a Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson, who is running for the U.S. senate. Johnson claims that sunspots are the source of recent extreme weather. 

Too bad that's not the case. As Think Progress has documented, sunspots are a at a low level these days but the extreme weather patterns were predicted by global warming scientists.

But who needs science when you can make up your own "facts" to fit your conservative ideology? The full report here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Obama Was Right on the Mosque

The wingbags and know-nothings have (quite predictably) jumped all over it, but President Obama got in right the other day on the proposed mosque two blocks from Ground Zero in New York City.

As the president noted, the United States of America permits freedom of religion. Indeed, the First Amendment establishes that principle, independent of popular opinion.

Unlike some autocratic nations, the U.S. doesn't tell people what to believe or how to worship. The U.S. is not, and should never be, a place were the government dictates religious beliefs or doctrines.

Sure, that's an unpopular position, which is why we need the First Amendment and a president who supports it wholeheartedly.

Over at The Daily Beast, writer Mark McKinnon has offered his considered opinion. It's worth a look. His comments are here: Obama Was Right on the Mosque

Grumpy Old Men: Conservative Cranks Make up the Tired Ole Tea Party

The Tea Party gang—always rattling on about the terrible state of nearly everything—turns out to be a group of grumpy old men.

USA Today recently released polling data on the Tea Party guys, most of whom are white (77 percent), male (56 percent) and older (47 percent are over 55). 

And in a surprise to no one, they are overwhelmingly Republican (78 percent) and conservative (69 percent).

Think of old Uncle Gus, for instance, still whining about them damned hippies with their long hair, their weed and their free love!

That's right, Sooner fans, the Tea Party wingbags are the same folks who blame the Sixties for everything bad that's happened over the last 50 years. Of course! 

Why'd we lose in Vietnam? The hippies!

Why'd God get kicked out of the classroom? The heathen liberals!

Why'd women and minorities start demanding equal rights? The potheads and flower children.

It's all their fault. Where's Richard Nixon when we need him? 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ideology over Oklahoma: Fallin's Political Ploy Takes a Hit

Rep. Mary Fallin is the Republican candidate for governor. In this very Red State, Fallin ought to be a shoo-in come November.

But Fallin's ideology—go as far right as possible—is problematic, as a Tulsa World editorial pointed out the other day. In an editorial, the World noted that Fallin turned the promise of new federal aid—money that will help Oklahoma—into a campaign issue.

Fallin, the editorial noted, "has joined the ranks of conservative members of Congress who've come up with a way…to have it both ways…." In other words, Fallin criticized the federal spending (like a good conservative), knowing full well that the money will come to the Sooner state anyway.

This raises an interesting question: Does Mary Fallin want new federal money for Oklahoma or not? As the World puts it:
One has to wonder if Fallin, were she elected governor, would try to turn away federal funding for schools or health care?
Good question. Fallin claims to adhere to "principled" conservatism, but this sort of bait-and-switch political posturing is hardly principled.

Palin's Picks: Ex-Governor's Endorsements Flop in Primaries

Sarah Palin's "golden touch" may not be so golden after all.

The former half-term governor of Alaska has been endorsing candidates in the Lower 48 this year with decidedly mixed success. In fact, Palin's conservative picks have a losing record—not exactly the winning streak Palin admirers have touted.

This week in Georgia, for instance, Palin's "Mama Grizzly" choice for governor lost the GOP primary race, one of several Palin picks to bite the dust this election season. The story is here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sanford Flip-flop: Republican Governor Takes Federal Stimulus Money

South Carolina's disgraced Republican governor, Mark (Appalachian Trail hiker) Sanford, famously attacked the Federal stimulus plan, vowing never to accept a dime.

Now Sanford has reversed himself, accepting Federal dollars for South Carolina.

It's classic GOP flip-flopping, saying one thing and doing another. The Right loves to criticize Federal spending and the deficit, but they also want (and need) the money, which they quietly accept.

Read about it here.

The Newt Chronicles: Former Wife Highlights Gingrich's Hypocrisy

Newt Gingrich was never as smart as he thought he was.

Sure, Newt was a rhetorical bomb-thrower and a world-class blowhard, but the Georgia Republican was also an arrogant and ego-driven narcissist with little regard for the lives of others.

Now Newt's former wife (number two) is telling tales out of school about Newt's private hypocrisies. It's an ugly story, but not one that will surprise Newt-watchers.

The sorry details here.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Eye-rolling Nonsense: Slate Writer Deconstructs Palin's Wacked-out Speech

Following the glorious verbal tradition of President George W. Bush, Alaskan Sarah Palin has achieved new depths in her misuse of the Queen's English.

Jacob Weisberg, the Slate writer who made a cottage industry from the illogical speech patterns of Bush, has been collecting the unintentional humor of Palin, speech so tortured that you wonder what, if anything, lies in that pretty little head of hers.

Weisberg is previewing his new book on Palin's nonsense in a column today in Slate, which includes a number of "winners." Some examples:
"It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia."

"God's will has to be done, in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that."

"And I think more of a concern has been not within the campaign, the mistakes that were made, not being able to react to the circumstances that those mistakes created in a real positive and professional and helpful way for John McCain."

Simply amazing, isn't it? Palin-speak, as Weisberg points out, is a hodge-podge of confusion and muddled thinking—and a perfect example of conservative simple-mindedness.

More silly and convoluted Palin-speak here.

Sarah Palin vs. the Truth, Part 84

The amazingly glib Sarah Palin, former half-term governor of Alaska, is quarreling with the truth, again.

Palin has made bold claims about the Obama Administration's tax plans. Naturally, she's against everything containing the two words "Obama" and "taxes," having concluded long ago that the president is a secret socialist bent on destroying America by turning us all into European girly-men.

Or something equally ludicrous.

The fine folks at PolitiFact did some fact-checking and found—surprise!—that Palin's claims didn;t check out. The full story here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Fun Fox Facts: It's Unbiased and Correct (in an Cock-eyed Universe)

AltTulsa was reading the Tulsa World the other day when we ran across a letter to the editor from a reader in Broken Arrow.

The reader was incensed over a World cartoon attacking Fox News—you know, that citadel of "fair and balanced" news and information.

Imagine—an editorial cartoon that lampooned something! Has that ever happened?

The BA writer defended his Fox friends, of course, lauding them for presenting "unbiased, correct and informing events." (Really!)

Given this sort of keen analysis, it's no wonder that the writer also criticized the World and its fellow travelers, who are "favoring the far left liberal movement that is destroying this country." 

That's right, Sooner fans, Broken Arrow, Tulsa, Oklahoma and the entire USA have been destroyed!

Look out the window and you'll see chaos, rioting and mayhem—Marxist-Leninist philosophies destroying the minds of our youth. Oh, wait. We see kids playing Little League ball in the park, teenagers at the mall, adults going to work and tending their lawns. They are even going to church!

Somehow, our BA friend (and Fox News) missed the daily life of ordinary Americans in favor of rhetorical excess and political double-talk.

Monday, August 2, 2010

New Study: Health Care Reform Will Help Millions of Women

While the zanies on the right continue to whine about it, the recently enacted health care reform legislation is likely to—surprise!—help people it was intended to help. 

The Commonwealth Fund has looked at the data and found that the legislation will improve the lives of millions of women.

Here's a summary of the findings:
The new health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, bodes well for as many as 30 million women -- a number that includes 15 million women who are uninsured, according to a new report issued by the Commonwealth Fund, a private health research firm in New York City.
This new report is the first in a series that will look at how health care reform will affect specific populations.
While women as a group are just as likely as men to be uninsured, they are more likely to have medical debt, bill problems, and have trouble getting insurance," Karen Davis, the Commonwealth Fund president, said during a telephone conference. "This report brings good news to all women who will now be more likely to get the care they need with a reduced risk of incurring the unaffordable medical bills that have affected so many Americans."

Wingnut Blogs Push Fake Mexican Cartel Invasion of Texas

Won't it be great to live in a world where wishes come true and facts don't matter?

That's the world of wacked-out consevative bloggers, some of whom have been inventing a great "the sky is falling" story on the Texas-Mexico border.

These wingbags hare pushing a bogus report of a Mexican drug cartel "invading" ranches near Larado, Texas—an act of war that the U.S. must avenge.

Oh, if only it bore some resemblence to the truth. The full fake story here.