Monday, May 31, 2010

Susan Stamberg's Summer Reading Recommendations

To be completely accurate, these are not Susan's recommendations. But she did the NPR story, gathering good reads from several independent book stores (bless them all).

For old-time NPR listeners, Susan Stamberg is a real treat. Good to hear her again. She's a national treasure.

Some good stuff here, including a nonfiction book about Utopia, Texas (yes, really) by Karen Valby. The book is Welcome to Utopia. AT loves this sort of writing. The Amazon book link is here.

The NPR link, complete with Susan Stamberg audio, is here.

From the Tulsa World: Bruce Plante's Memorial Day Cartoon

Lest we forget, a link to the Tulsa World's Memorial Day cartoon by Bruce Plante.

Bruce Plante:
(click here to view)

Tulsa World
May 31, 2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Capital Blowhards: World Editorial Blasts Oklahoma Legislature

We don't get down to Oklahoma City all that often, so our knowledge of the Oklahoma legislature is second-hand.

But from everything we hear, the legislative session that ended last week was long on bluster and short on substance.

We aren't the only ones who think so. The Tulsa World noted that the best thing about this session of the  legislature was its ending.

From the World:
Yet again and again and again, the Legislature set aside important issues to debate what inconveniences, irritations, embarrassments and unconstitutional burdens it could lay upon women seeking abortions.

Meanwhile, a state budget crisis left the state's public schools starving for money and prisons dangerously understaffed, but lawmakers were too busy working on plans to keep lucrative corporate-welfare tax incentives flowing to their wealthy political donors.

There might not be enough money to pay for janitors to clean the restrooms of public schools, but there were millions available for a select few oilmen.
Read the entire editorial here.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sally Bell Tax Flip-flop: Against Taxes Except When It Helps Bell's

Gotta love those flip-floppin' anti-tax conservatives who hate all taxes except those that benefit the family business.

We're speaking of Sally Bell and the possible relocation of Bell's Amusement Park to Wagoner County. Bell's is asking for Wagoner County voters to approve a new tax to support the relocation.

But as the Tulsa World has pointed out, this is a huge and highly hypocritical flip-flop for Sally Bell, who is a 1950s-style GOP conservative, still looking for secret Commies behind every Tulsa County rock and tree.

And now the anti-tax Bell family needs—oops!—a new tax to help the family amusement park. As the World editorial noted, this is rich in irony. 

Read the World's editorial here.

Christian or Not? Rev. Wallis Examines Tea Party Values

AltTulsa has a lot of respect for the Rev. Jim Wallis. He's a serious and thoughtful moral thinker, the kind we adds a lot to public discussion.

Writing in The Huffington Post, Wallis offers a critical look at the Tea Party and its values. From his perspective, the Tea Party folks are less Christian than many people suppose. 

Wallis makes some telling points about libertarianism and its conflicts with the Christian idea of caring for one's fellow humans.

We agree with Wallis. Read his essay here.

Newt Reverses Himself in Obama-Nazi Comparison

Good ole Newt Gingrich—never one to be especially thoughtful in his political judgments.

So when Newt this week compared the Obama Administration to the horrors of the Nazi regime in Germany, it was classic Newt overstatement.

Now Newt has (to his credit) backed off. He's reversed himself. The story here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Seniors Reap Benefits from Health Care Reform

Although Oklahoma's Republican legislators keep whining about it, health care reform is about to pay dividends for Oklahoma's senior citizens.

The new law is beginning to plug the infamous "doughnut hole" for some seniors on Medicare. Here's the good news:
Government checks to seniors with high prescription drug bills are going out early, Obama administration officials said Thursday, plugging the advantages of the new health care overhaul law.
The $250 checks for Medicare recipients who fall into the prescription drug coverage gap are a new benefit this year, a modest down payment on gradually closing the "doughnut hole" over the next decade.

Unlike Sen. Inhofe, Justice Scalia Praises Elana Kagan

The reliably reactionary Jim Inhofe was the first Republican senator to oppose Elena Kagan's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Naturally. Sen. Inhofe is so far off the radar that he would oppose Jesus himself if President Obama had the wherewithal to appoint Him to the court.

But thinking conservatives have a different view, as we see below:
Countering the criticism of Republican senators, the Supreme Court’s “most outspoken conservative,” Justice Antonin Scalia, praised Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan for not having served as a judge. “When I first came to the Supreme Court, three of my colleagues had never been a federal judge,” Scalia said yesterday. “I am happy to see that this latest nominee is not a federal judge – and not a judge at all,” he added.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Headline of the Day: Tea Party Win Embarrasses GOP Establishmenrt

Fun reading—divisions between the Far Right and the Even-More-Far-Right in recent U.S. politics:
WASHINGTON (AP)–-Chalk up another win for the tea party. And another embarrassment for the Republican establishment.

Tea Party favorite and two-term state lawmaker Raul Labrador defeated Vaughn Ward, a Marine reservist heavily recruited by national Republicans, in Idaho's primary on Tuesday. Ward's loss comes on the heels of several other races in which GOP establishment candidates stumbled as the anti-Washington mood takes hold.

National Republicans had coached Ward and had made him one of their first named recruits, known as "Young Guns." He also had the backing of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin's Really Bad Week: Ex-Gov's Tea Party Candidates Go Down in Flames

Sarah Palin really knows how to pick 'em. The former half-term Alaska governor's recent endorsements are a flop at the polls. 

Palin's candidate lost yesterday in Idaho and her pick in South Carolina is embroiled in a sex scandal. 

It wasn't supposed to be this way for Palin, says a political blogger at the Los Angeles Times. Palin was supposed be political gold. But something went wrong with Palin's message and the Tea Party ideolgy along the way. The Times blogger writes:
The tea party activists have undoubtedly brought passion to politics, as has Palin. But national Republicans are starting to worry that a too-conservative message could cost them elections. So it's not uncommon these days to see Palin and the Republican Party on different sides in primary fights.
The complete LA Times post is here.

Monday, May 24, 2010

South Carolina's Sexually Compromised Republicans: Nikki Haley, Palin's Pick, Eats Crow, Big Time

Talk about eating crow. Check out today's latest political news from South Carolina, courtesy of our friends as TPM:

Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin endorsee Nikki Haley was asked the following question:
Mark Sanford, John Edwards, Bill Clinton, all men who have cheated on their wives while in power. When faced with opportunities and temptations that come with power, how do you stay true to your family, your faith, and your values?
Haley's answer:
You know, I think the answer is you keep the Lord, you keep your family and you keep your friends very close. And you always remember that you have to stay as humble as possible, and understand that service is just that -- it is service. And you are being held to a higher standard, and so you have much more service that you have to give. And you're a role model to everybody that follows you.

Rand Paul's Bad Weekend: Tea Party Favorite Finds Political Trouble

WaPo's Dionnne on the GOP Hypocrisy: Stop Dividing the World

The Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne hit the nail on the head regarding Indiana Republican Mark Souder's recently revealed the sex scandal
I always thought he was the real deal, both serious and thoughtful in his approach to religious and political questions. I disagreed with him on many things but not on everything. So I do hope that Souder finds a way to work out his redemption. But it is precisely because this story hits me personally that I want to shout as forcefully as I can to my conservative Christian friends: Enough!
Enough with dividing the world between moral, family-loving Christians and supposedly permissive, corrupt, family-destroying secularists.
Read Dionne here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Propagating a Myth: Tulsa Chiggers Blog Goes 'Birther'

Some myths just won't die.

No matter how much evidence is amassed by credible sources, some folks continue to believe that the moon landing was staged in Arizona and that Elvis is alive—along with Marilyn Monroe and JFK—somewhere in Argentina. (Fat chance.)

None of this makes much sense, of course, just like the fantasy that Barack Obama was born in Africa and is not, therefore, the legitimate president of the U.S. (Yawn…)

Which brings us to a recent post by Tulsa Chiggers, a post propagating this bit of nonsense:
Unable and unwilling to simply prove his own citizenship, President Obama seeks to cheapen my U.S. citizenship to nothing more than a prize giveaway in a box of cereal.
Sorry, no. This is simply wrong. President Obama was born in Hawaii and is the actual an legitimate president. Deal with it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

BP's Big Lie Exposed: Oil Company Admits It Underestimated the Spill

For weeks, British Petroleum has been claiming that its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was relatively small, about 5,000 barrels a day.

The critics challenged that figure—and the critics were right. Here's the scoop:
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- BP conceded Thursday that more oil than it estimated is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico as heavy crude washed into Louisiana's wetlands for the first time, feeding worries and uncertainty about the massive monthlong spill.
Mark Proegler, a spokesman for oil giant BP PLC, said a mile-long tube inserted into a leaking pipe over the weekend is capturing 210,000 gallons a day - the total amount the company and the Coast Guard have estimated is gushing into the sea - but some is still escaping. He would not say how much.

Thumbs Up for Tulsa Ballet's 'Carmina Burana'

AltTulsa was at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center last night for the dress rehearsal of Carmina Burana, the latest production of the Tulsa Ballet.

We have absolutely no background in ballet, so we can't provide an informed critical assessment of the performance.

But as interested spectators, we found the performance fascinating and sometimes spectacular. The movement, the music, the costumes and the lighting combined in places for a altogether thrilling effect.

In short, we highly recommend this production. Performances are tonight and Saturday night, with a matinee on Sunday.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tea Party Problems: Kentucky's Rand Paul Stumbles on Civil Rights

Tea Party types say they want smaller government. But what happens when smaller government leads to, say, racial discrimination and violations of civil rights?

Ah, there's the rub. 

Kentucky Republicans voted Tuesday to put Rand Paul on the ballot for the U.S. Senate. But Paul, a small government Tea Party guy, now has to explain his views, some of which are, well, way out in right field. 

Should owners of lunch counters be forced to serve blacks if they don't want to? The rest of the nation settled this question in the 1960s, but Paul isn't so sure. Oh no. Since they are private businesses, maybe they should be allowed to discriminate—so he says.

Newsweek's Howard Fineman puts it this way:
[If Paul] doesn't immediately apologize for holding his victory rally at a private club—and doesn't abandon his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act—then he will not only pollute the Tea Party, he will severely damage the GOP's chances of winning control of either the House or Senate this fall.
This is only one of Paul's retrograde views, now causing him and the Tea Party boys and the GOP considerable grief. Read a full report here.

UPDATE: Paul has now reversed himself, flipping on his opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Act. So much for those Tea Party principles. He caved!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sex Scandal Update: WaPo's Milbank Details the Decline and Fall of the GOP Class of 1994

Oh, this is rich. The vaunted GOP class of 1994—the Republican Revolution swept into office in response to Bill Clinton's election—has turned out to have a boatload of scandals, most of them sexual. 

Despite their religious roots and conservative principles, this bunch has fallen well short of their ideals. In fact, the list of Republican legislators from 1994 involved in sexual misconduct is impressively long. It includes John Ensign of Nevada and Mark Sanford of South Carolina and, just this week, a conservative Indiana Republican, Rep. Mark Souder, who has campaigned for sexual abstinence.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has the list and more on the scandal. It's good stuff—he nails the hypocrites who claim the moral high ground while doing whatever they please.

Read his full report here.

Tennessee Governor Vetoes NRA-backed 'Guns in Bars' Bill

Yes, it's true. The NRA and its Republican allies pushed a "guns in bars" bill through the Tennessee legislature.

Fortunately, Tennessee's governor has vetoed the bill, saying (appropriately so) that "guns and alcohol don't mix." Geez—and all these years we have been thinking they were such a natural combination. 

Think Progress has the details here.

TPM's Analysis: A Rebuke to National Republicans

 Josh Marshall and the folks over at Talking Points Memo have looked at last night's primary results and delivered their verdict. It did not go well for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the GOP:
In Kentucky, the national Republican Party backed the wrong candidate in not one but two primaries. The Democrats managed to hold on to Rep. John Murtha's old seat in Pennsylvania. And while Sen. Arlen Specter is no longer a Republican, his defeat by Rep. Joe Sestak in the Democratic primary means the GOP nominee will face, perhaps, a much stronger opponent than the beleaguered Specter would have been.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

GOP Family Values? Another Conservative Republican Caught in Sex Scandal

The Conservatives talk a good game. It's all core principles and high-minded values.

They just don't live that way. 

Today, we present another Conservative Republican (recall: John Ensign, Larry Craig, David Vitter) who has failed to live up to the Conservative cause or the Christian ideals he espouses.

Today's big fail comes from Indiana Republican Mark Souder, who has admitted an affair with one of his female staffers. The details include trysts in Indiana state parks. 

Yikes! Gotta love these GOP family values! The TPM report can be read here

'This Land' Hits the Street: New Arts Paper Debuts in Tulsa

AltTulsa was hanging out at the Circle Cinema last night (we saw the classic French New Wave film  Jules and Jim) when we scored a copy of This Land, a new arts and literary journal. 

This Land, named after the famous line from Okie songwriter Woody Guthrie, features articles and photos on a variety of interesting people and events in Northeast Oklahoma. The cover story, for example, is the sage of growing up gay as a member of the Oral Roberts family.

There's plenty more in the paper, including a "who owns what" analysis by Tulsa blogger Michael Bates, and a book review by Booksmart founder Jeff Martin. 

There's much more on This Land's website. The link is here.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sen. Inhofe Preaches to the Converted at Global Warming Conference

Sooners who keep track of their legislators will be interested to know that Sen. Jim Inhofe is speaking this weekend at a climate conference in Chicago.

Of course, the event is what historian Daniel Boorstin once called a pseudo-event; that is, a made-for-the-media event designed to spread the message of its sponsor. In other words, propaganda.

In this case, the sponsor is the Heartland Institute, a conservative, free-market outfit that is challenging the whole global warming, climate change idea.

Given this mission, Inhofe is an ideal candidate, a back-bencher with little credibility on global warming or anything else. Naturally, he's one of the featured speakers at the conference.

Moreover, the conference is loaded with others of a similar persuasion, weathermen and deniers from such organizations as the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute and—surprise!—the Heartland Institute itself.

With a lineup this insular and one-dimensional, it's unlikely that anything of substance will come out of the Chicago conference.

But that's the whole point of the shindig—sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The Wit & Wisdom of Conservative Attacks on Elena Kagan

Clever pundits on the Right have so little of substance to say about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan that they have stooped to criticizing her appearance. (We are not making this up.) 

To wit, one Jason Mattera, editor of Human Events:
Why do Janet Napolitano, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan all look like linebackers for the New York JETS? 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Radio Blowhard: Fact-checking KRMG's Michael Savage on Elena Kagan

Michael Savage is on KRMG radio in Tulsa every weeknight, shooting off his mouth about whatever pops into his head—there's plenty of room in there.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Savage has been spewing his brand of nonsense in the direction of Elena Kagan, the president's pick to join the Supreme Court. Savage says she's a true blue, radical Marxist. 

Well, no. Not at all.

PolitiFact checked out Savage's change and labeled it "Pants on Fire," the highest form of talk radio fiction. Savage's lies exposed here.

Recent Reading: 'The Forever War' by Dexter Filkins

AltTulsa spends a good deal of time reading "serious" books—no romance novels or comic books here. (Okay, we like people who read these books too. Really.)

Our most recent book was a little more serious than we might have preferred—quite sobering, in fact. The book is The Forever War by Dexter Filkins, formerly with the Los Angeles Times and now with the New York Times.

What makes Filkins so effective as a war correspondent is his fearlessness and experience. Unlike most American journalists, Filkins was in Afghanistan well before Sept. 11, 2001. His experience goes back to 1998, when Filkins witnessed the Taliban punish a pickpocket by chopping off his hand.

Over its twenty-one chapters, The Forever War provides insights into the lives of Afghan fighters, Iraqi warriors on both sides, as well as many American soldiers. Filkins is a keen observer and his descriptions of the many aspects of the "war on terror" are vivid and, often, depressing.

It's a hard-headed view of the war, but a necessary one for those readers who want to understand what we and our soldiers were (and still are) facing in the war against Islamic fundamentalism. 

UPDATE: We neglected to mention that Filkins was a sometime partner with Times photographer Ashley Gilbertson, whose book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, was reviewed on this site (see post of Feb. 16, 2010). Both Filkins and Gilbertson are well worth reading.

Colbert on Beck: He's the Rodeo Clown

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Wrong on Kagan's Record: Beck, Limbaugh Makin' Stuff Up

You'd think truth would be a core conservative value. It certainly sounds reasonable.

But in the case of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, the truth has never stood in the way of a good smear. 

Beck and Limbaugh are flapping their lips on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, claiming that she would be in favor of censoring conservative speech. 

The record, of course, shows otherwise. Beck and Limbaugh are "factually challenged," which is a polite way of saying that they are lying their asses off. 

The details are here.

Wine Recommendations for Tulsa's Rainy Days

AltTulsa, like everyone else around T-town, is suffering through the rainy season. Blah!

So we were delighted today to is find Mark Stenner's wine recommendations for this dreary weather on the Tulsa Food Blog.Stenner's suggestion: Go with Pinot Noirs. Sounds good to us.

Stenner is the president of the Tulsa Wine Club, a group that promotes good wine and fine dining. The link to Stenner's wine report on the Tulsa Food Blog is here. Cheers!

Oops! Republican Senators Admit that the Bailout Worked

Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate have an economic dilemma.

They continue to bow down to the Tea Party zanies by lambasting government intrusion into the economy while privately admitting that the government's bailout program, called TARP, actually worked. 

Without it, they admit, the nation's economic woes would have been much worse. 

Read the full report here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sen. Orrin Hatch on the Tea Party Gang: 'They Won't Listen'

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch is a seriously conservative guy. But even Hatch knows that yelling and screaming is not a political philosophy. 

Here's Hatch the other day speaking about Utah's Tea Party gang, the folks who ousted fellow Utah conservative Robert Bennett. Said Hatch:
They have a right to be mad and I think these Tea Party people are doing the country a service. But when they don’t have an open mind and they won’t listen, that’s another matter and that’s something I think anybody would find fault with.

USA Today: Contrary to Popular Belief, Taxes Are Exceptionally Low

 You wouldn't know it by the howls of the Tea Party know-nothings, but taxes under the Obama Administration are at historically low levels.

Here's the scoop:
Amid complaints about high taxes and calls for a smaller government, Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman's presidency, a USA TODAY analysis of federal data found. 
Some conservative political movements such as the "Tea Party" have criticized federal spending as being out of control. While spending is up, taxes have fallen to exceptionally low levels.
Read the full USA Today story here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Defending Slavery: GOP Pulls Out the Stops to Attack Nominee Kagan

Ah, yes. The Right is once again "going rogue"—or, in plain language, lying—in its most recent attack on anything to do with President Barack Obama. 

Today's dust-up concerns the president's new supreme court nominee, Elena Kagan. As it happens, Kagan once quoted Justice Thurgood Marshall, who noted (correctly) that the Constitution was a "defective" document.

Why? There was that small issue of counting slaves as three-fifths of a person, which would, by any reasonable standard today, render the Constitution defective. 

But the GOP is now demanding that Kagan explain herself and acknowledge the error of her ways. Really.

The full story is here.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mike Needs His Morning Coffee: It's Bennett, Not Lee, Who Angered Conservatives

Mike McCarville runs a popular conservative political blog in Oklahoma City, giving his view of the state's political news and views.

But sometimes Mike gets gummed up on the facts.

For example: Mike got confused on the Utah battle between the conservatives and the ultra-conservatives. In yesterday's GOP jousting, Sen. Bob Bennett was ousted by Tea Party activist Mike Lee. 

Unfortunately for McCarville, he concluded his report with this error:
Lee angered conservatives with his support of Obamacare and the Wall Street bailout.
Well, no. That's exactly backwards. 

UPDATE: We see that McCarville has corrected his post.  Good work, Mike. 

Republican Cantor's New Ideas Effort Fizzles

The GOP likes to think of itself as the party of new ideas. 

But Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor's effort to generate new initiatives for the Republicans has been a dud. Talking Points Memo is reporting that Cantor's effort yielded, well, nothing:
The National Council for a New America was supposed to be, in the words of founder Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), "a conversation with the American people" to "develop innovative solutions that meet the serious challenges confronting our country."
In response to President Obama, the Republicans talked a big game. But most of their efforts have been all talk.

The link is here.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Improving Economic Outlook: Tulsa Sales Tax Rises for the Month

The Tulsa sales tax drought has ended, at least for the moment. It's up 3.7 percent, the Tulsa World reports.

The tax downturn has been a problem for Tulsa from more than a year, causing layoffs and budget cuts for the city. 

The World notes that city officials remain cautious, since the one-month revenue increase is not a trend.

Friday, May 7, 2010

From Jon Stewart: 'And Then There's Arizona…'

This week from The Daily Show's Jon Stewart:
As Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote: "The states are the laboratories of democracy," a place where programs can be developed and tested to help solve national problems.  And then there's Arizona. It turns out Arizona is the meth lab of democracy.

Recovery Report: U.S. Job Growth Goes Up

More signs of an economic recovery were released today—job growth is up. The number is significant, almost 300,000 new jobs were created in April.

The Republicans, meanwhile, have gotten it wrong again. They have been claiming that the improved job numbers are census workers and other government jobs, a claim that the figures don't support. 

Think Progress has details, including a very informative graph of the Obama recovery, here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Recent Reading: J. M. Coetzee's 'Slow Man'

AltTulsa has eclectic tastes in books and writing. We're fond of travel books, short story collections, Iraq war books, and serious novels. 

It's this last category we are concerned with today, a novel by the widely praised by South African writer J. M. Coetzee. (Q: How do we know he's widely praised? A: Coetzee won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003.)

Slow Man chronicles the odd life of Paul Rayment, an Australian photographer laid low in a bicycle accident on the novel's first pages.

The story follows Rayment's physical and psychological recovery, including his growing obsession with his nurse, Marijana, and encounters with the mysterious Elizabeth Costello. This last character, by the way, is the title character of an earlier Coetzee novel.

If this sounds unlikely or strange, that's because it is. We confess: we don't know quite what to make of Slow Man, but we were intrigued by Coetzee's literary imagination. What we need now is time to read more of Coetzee's work, including Elizabeth Costello.

After that, we'll have to go back and read Disgrace, The Life & Times of Michael K, and other Coetzee books. Serious readers, we suspect, will find much to appreciate in these challenging novels.

Makin' Stuff Up, Again: Times Square Bomber is a Democrat (Except that He's Not)

The Right loves to point fingers and blame all the nation's problems on Liberals and Democrats. It's so easy, especially when you can invent your own "facts" to make your point.

Media Matters is reporting today that Right-wing bloggers and their radio counterparts are reporting (only in a very loose sense of the word) that the Times Square bomb suspect is a registered Democrat and an Obama supporter to boot. 

Of course, he would have to be, wouldn't he?

At least that's what the blowhards say. One teeny little problem: Lack of evidence. The facts haven't backed up this "truth."

The full story is explained here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Florida's Independent Crist Moves Ahead of GOP Candidate for Governor

The political drama in Florida continues with bad news for the Republican Party. 

Gov. Charlie Crist, who quit the GOP last week to run as an independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, is now polling ahead of Republican Marco Rubio in a three-way race.

The Florida poll data is here.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Wine of the Week: Ravishing Red, an Organic Syrah from Mendocino

AT likes a sip of the grape every now and again, but it's been a while since we wrote about one of our vineyard finds. This one, Ravishing Red, is adorned with a comely maiden on the label gazing over rows of grapes.

It's a California red, a 2006 Syrah from The Natural Wine Company in Mendocino. As the name implies, these folks are organic, which we believe is a good thing.

The wine itself has dry cherry and berry flavors—raspberry comes to mind. We also noticed a pepper taste here, a little spice on the tongue. The finish was long and pleasant. 

And did we mention that it's a dry red? Yes, it's dry but we like it that way.

We found this bottle at Tulsa's Ranch Acres store, on 31st Street near Harvard, for about $10. All in all, a good red wine and a fair price.

Update: We tried to find The Natural Wine Company on the web, but the only one we found was in Australia. From what we can tell, this California company has changed its name or gone out of business.

Fact Check: Rush Is Wrong about the Environment, Chapter 142

Good ole Rush is at it again. When you don't have the facts, make stuff up. 

Yes, Sooner fans, Limbaugh has weighed in again on environmental issues and he's once again departed from the truth.

In an effort to minimize the Gulf of Mexico oil spill now in progress, El Rushbo has stated that Prince William Sound in Alaksa, site of a previous oil spill, is now pristine. 

It's not. Far from it. The facts, as opposed to Limbaugh's fiction, is here, courtesy of those intrepid fact-checkers at PolitiFact.