Monday, January 30, 2012

Tulsa Republican Fail: GOP Focus Group Repeats Nonsense

The Republican noise machine—fueled by Blowhard Radio and the shills at Fox News—is alive in well in T-town.

How do we know? It was in the Tulsa World on Sunday when the paper published details of a GOP focus group run by Newt Gingrich was the favorite of the 11 registered Republicans who participated in the study—but only a slight favorite (see post below).

But the "best" news from the focus group was their repetition of bogus Republican talking points. These include a Wingnut favorite, that President Obama is—wait for itnot a Christian. 

Yes, Sooner fans, one of the Tulsa Republicans actually said, "We don't need a non-Christian like we have now." So, the logic goes, Obama must be a Muslim!

But wait, there's more! Former city council candidate David Bell claimed "there's not a dime's worth of difference" between Mitt Romney and President Obama.

Really? That would be news to Romney voters. (On the other hand, Romney did get Romneycare in Massachusetts, which has been a good thing.)

Another Tulsa Republican called for "statesmen, not politicians. We need someone who will do something for the country." 

Come to think of it, we agree with that idea. Yes indeed. We have seen the Republican field (Rick Perry, anyone? Herman Cain? Michele Bachmann?) and we too want a statesman who will do something for the country.

That's why we are supporting President Obama.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Newt-mentum! Tulsa Republicans Like Gingrich, Mostly

Good ole Newt Gingrich—the gift that keeps on giving. Didya hear about his moon colony idea? Winning!

But seriously, Sooner fans, Gingrich was the favorite Republican presidential hopeful in a focus group of 11 GOP voters held in Tulsa three days after his victory in South Carolina.

As reported in today's Tulsa World, Gingrich was the choice of four voters, while Mitt Romney got two votes and Ron Paul and Rick Santorum got one each. Three voters were undecided, the World reported, and one Romney supporter was leaning to Gingrich. (Read the World story here.)

Herman Cain—remember him?—also garnered some support in the group, despite his suspended campaign. This being conservative Tulsa, one voter was still pining for Michele Bachmann, another causality of the GOP primaries.

Obviously, a group this small does not accurately represent all Tulsa County Republican voters. In addition, the results have probably shifted due to the Florida campaign this week, which shows Romney up and Gingrich down.

Gingrich may have peaked in South Carolina. After his pandering to the so-called Space Coast in Florida with his moon colony idea—a 51st state, anyone?his slide in the polls is not a surprise. 

Most comforting for those of us on the other end of the political spectrum was the disillusion of the Tulsa Republicans. One voter told the World that the GOP field was akin to the Keystone Kops and the Marx brothers. 

To which we say, Amen, Brother.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Woody Guthrie at 100: TU Hosts March Conference to Celebrate the Man and His Music

Fans of Oklahoma legend Woody Guthrie can celebrate the singer's centennial year right here in T-town.

The University of Tulsa has announced a day-long Woody Guthrie symposium for Saturday, March 10 at the school's new Lorton Performance Center. The event will feature panel discussions, a luncheon featuring the Texas activist and writer Jim Hightower, as well as a benefit concert at the Brady Theater.

The concert will feature some big names, including John Mellencamp and Arlo Guthrie.

Guthrie, of course, is famous for his songwriting, singing and social activism, some of which made him a pariah in conservative Oklahoma. The symposium panels and presentations reflect Guthrie's activism, with titles such as "A Culture of Protest" and "Demanding Democracy: The Socialist Movement and Oklahoma Politics."

In additon to the symposium, Guthrie's life is the focus of an exhibit opening February 5 at the Gilcrease Museum. The show will feature documents, journals, song lyrics and artwork, including an original draft of his famous song, "This Land is Your Land."

For more on the symposium, check out the website here. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tulsa Trash Cart Plan Brings Out the Fruits and Nuts

Oh no! Tulsa's Big Bad Tulsa Government is watching your new trash cart. Even worse, Big Bad will be forcing you to—heavens!—recycle. 

Or maybe all of this is just made up by a bunch of paranoid people who have been listening to way too much talk radio.

For those of you keeping score at home, we're referring to changes proposed by the city's Trash Board to buy new trash carts, which could be tracked by radio-frequency-identification tags. This would allow the city to better monitor the pick-up service, officials explained.

Ah, but the city's zanies have figured out that this is a double-super-secret plan by Big Brother (and probably the CIA!) to invade our privacy! And make us do horrible things like recycle! And these folks are steamed.

Councilor Blake Ewing, quoted in the Tulsa World, said he's heard the radio ID carts called "a repressive, punitive, elitist, big government, nanny state, environmnetal, fascist recycling regime."


Oh wait. How exactly will these new trash carts do all these horrible things? That's not clear. In fact, neither the city nor the trash board nor a new trash cart in your yard would seem capable of doing any of these things.

But to some among us, any attempt to change anything is obviously an effort by Big Bad to turn us into slaves of the power-mad, out-of-control bureaucrats. Or something.

By the way, you think any of these folks have heard of Google Earth, which has a picture of your house on the Internet for the entire world—including terrorists—to see? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A DUI Arrest for Former ORU President Richard Roberts

Names make news, editors say.

Yes, they do—and was the case in Tulsa this week when evangelist Richard Roberts, former president of Oral Roberts University (and son of the late Oral Roberts), was arrested early Tuesday for driving under the influence. Ouch!

Some details of the complaint, courtesy of the Tulsa World: Roberts was clocked driving his Mercedes (naturally!) at 93 mph in a 65-mph zone. His blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.11, above the legal limit of 0.08. Roberts failed two—count 'em!—field sobriety tests.

Oh, and the arrest happened in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. 

We have no idea what Roberts was doing Monday night or Tuesday morning, but an arrest for DUI is the last thing he needs. This is the guy, after all, who resigned as president of ORU after charges "that he and his family misused university and ministry resources," according to the World.

For a man devoted to a higher power, this is not good. Not at all. A link to the World's story is here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Lyin' about Obama: Rick Santorum Plays Along with Bogus 'Obama Is a Muslim' Charge

Remember when conservatives embraced things like facts?

Believe it or not, there was a time when right-wingers made rational arguments based on real-world facts. A few still do, but the overheated world of wingnut radio and television (That's you, Rush. And you too, Sean.) no actual facts are necessary. The truth is whatever you want it to be.

Which brings us to a Rich Santorum town hall meeting in Florida today where a woman stood up and declared that President Obama is "an avowed Muslim" and not legally the president at all. Naturally, some in the crowd applauded. Whoo!

And what's Santorum's response to this bit of delusional baloney? In a phrase, a big Santorum fail. Brave ole Rick failed to challenge or correct the woman's statements.

By now, we've come to expect a certain amount of nuttiness on the Right. But Santorum is not delusional and he's not a nutcase. He is, however, playing ball with the Republicans who are.

For more, check out the story here: Rick Santorum Panders To Woman Who Alleges Obama Is ‘An Avowed Muslim’

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Evangelical Flop: The Incredible Shrinking Santorum

What happened to Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and world-class homophobe?

Lost in all the Newtmania from South Carolina was the fact that Santorum—the choice of many leading evangelicals—finished third yesterday, well behind Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

And this was in South Carolina, home to many, many evangelicals. Some of them, apparently, fell under the spell of Newt, notwithstanding the former House Speaker's three (count 'em!) marriages and a laundry list of ethical baggage.

As John Avlon of The Daily Beast has noted, Santorum was endorsed last week by a high-level group of evangelical leaders including Tony Perkins, James Dobson and Gary Bauer. But the Palmetto State religious right failed to play along.

"If the leaders of the religious right can't deliver a victory for their chosen candidate here, where can they do it?" Avlon asks.

Last we heard, Santorum had vowed to fight on despite his dismal showing in South Carolina. But Santorum looks increasingly like a presidential loser, joining the ranks of such washouts as Fred Thompson, Mike Huckabee and, more recently, Michele Bachmann.

Newt's Up; Mitt's Reeling and Rick Perry Is Long Gone

The AltTulsa gang fell behind last week—sorry!—and what a week it was in the Republican presidential sweepstakes.

The most recent headline, of course, is the return of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who pulled off a big victory over his rivals in yesterday's South Carolina primary.

In recent debates, Gingrich delivered the kind of Red-meat Republican rhetoric (yawn…) that Southerners love.

Newt's victory, along with the delayed news of Rick Santorum's victory in the Iowa caucuses, means that three different candidates have won GOP contests this month.

Who woulda thunk it? A real horse race is shaping up for the Republican nomination.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jim Inhofe's favorite candidate withdrew from the race last week. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, once touted as the True Conservative Who Could Beat Obama, was a bust. Despite his claims of divine inspiration, Perry proved to be a weak candidate, even in the South.

That's too bad, since some of us never tired of pointing out his many flaws. Without Perry's gaffs, Michele Bachmann's zaniness and Herman Cain's superficial clap-trap, what will we do?

Oh wait. With an ego the size of Donald Trump's (and that's saying something), Newt Gingrich is a never-ending source of inspired horse hockey. And Mitt Romney has proven to be a regular provider of cringe-inducing misstatements.

Yes, Sooner fans, it's Republican politics at its weirdest, all for the right to lose to President Obama in November.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Even in Texas, Rick Perry is Toast

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was supposed to be the conservative alternative to that wily Massachusetts weasel, Mitt Romney. Perry was the real deal—hard-nosed, business friendly and—most importantly for the Religious Right—a genuine true believer.

Well, things haven't worked out so well for Gov. Perry.

Besides those conservative qualities the Right loves so much, Perry has proven to be something of a dunce. He appears lazy, he doesn't know too much and he has a gift for saying things poorly.

Despite such shortcomings, Oklahoma's senior U.S. senator, Jim Inhofe, has backed the Texas governor.

We doubt Inhofe's fellow citizens are so enamored of Gov. Perry. After all, new poll numbers from Texas show that even Texans are losing faith in their governor. Once the overwhelming choice of Texas Republicans, Texans are now about equally divided between Perry and Romney. 

When you lose the home state crowd, that's a sign. As we have been saying for some time now,  Perry is toast. He's not now—and never was—on the road to the GOP nomination. Not even close.

Read more on the recent Texas poll here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

More Right-Wing Pandering from Rep. Sullivan

Tulsa's answer to a potted plant—Rep. John Sullivan—is out with his latest "Constituent Issue Survey" and it's more of the same claptrap we've come to expect from the First District congressman.

That's right, Sooner fans, Sullivan is still trying to whip up more outrage over the president's health care reform plan.

That's the same health plan that—heavens!—requires insurance companies to cover pre-exisitng conditions. And the one that extended coverage to millions of young adults. And the one that required insurance companies to spend 80 percent of their revenues on actual treatment, not administrative costs.

But that's not all. Oh no. 

Sullivan is still pushing simple-sounding solutions to complex problems. So he's pushing a balanced budget amendment, a "solution" likely to undermine the Social Security and Medicare benefits so many of his older constituents depend on.

He's also beating another right-wing dead horse, claiming—without evidence, of course—that "excessive government regulations that prevent businesses from adding jobs."

Of course, all Rush-listening conservatives know this is true, never mind the fact that private sector hiring has been rising for many months now.

But who needs pesky facts, anyway? They just get in the way of Sullivan's partisan nonsense.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oklahoma Economy Looks Up; Thanks, Mr. President

The Tulsa World reported this week that state tax revenues are up—way up. In December, general revenue collections were up 19.3 percent.

And for this, we'd like to say "Thank you, President Obama."

The Very Red Oklahoma, the Republicans are unwilling to share the credit with that horrible socialist, anti-American Muslim named Barack Obama.

On no. Gov. Mary Fallin wants all the credit. It's her pro-growth policies that are fueling the state's recovery, she told the World.

Such a claim ignores global economic forces as well as national economic trends, many of which have been—gasp!—positive.

While the state and national GOP has been whining for three years, it turns out that many of the president's economic policies have worked. Things are much, much better than the bad old days of 2008, when George W. Bush was presiding over (and that's being generous) a major economic collapse.

No, the recovery isn't complete nor are all the signs good. Yet prospects are improving, as the tax figures show.

The fact is that Oklahoma is part of both a national and global economic system. If we are improving, some of the credit goes to the president's leadership in Washington.

But don't expect Oklahoma Republicans to say that. They're too busy whining.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Recalling the Shrinking Bush Legacy

Wayne Slater, a long-time Texas political observer and columnist for the Dallas Morning News, has done the nation a favor this election year by pointing out the disappearance of George W. Bush. 

That's right, sports fans, good ole W has completely disappeared from the GOP firmament, despite the fact that he is the most recent Republican president, wildly popular in places like Oklahoma. 

Reporting from New Hampshire, Slater explains Bush's political absence by citing GOP voters unwilling to "embrace the Texan's legacy of budget deficits, billion-dollar wars and domestic policies that didn't pass muster with conservatives."

One voter put it this way: "Do I think he was a great president? No." 

Such a sentiment will get no argument here. As long-time AT readers can attest, we have long been critical of Bush and his domestic and foreign policy agenda, especially his ill-fated decision to invade Iraq.

Slater has it right: "The government spending, growing debt and economic collapse that attended Bush's departure is not eactly something Republican candidates want to talk about…."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Urban Tulsa Weekly's Bogus Hot 100: Gotta Love the Boss!

Yes, sports fans, it's a new year and time for another installment of Urban Tulsa Weekly's "Hot 100," a list purported to be local "up-and-comers." 

Or so they claim. Let's say, for the sake of accuracy, that the list includes both hits and misses.

One major miss is the inclusion of—you guessed it!—UTW publisher Keith Skrzpyczak. According to his own paper, the man is—hyperbole alert!—"quirky, inquisitive, opinionated, off-the-beaten-path, brilliant, and a little on the wild side."

Wow! We're impressed. Or not. After all, this is Skrzypcak's paper and this description was written by his very own employees, not exactly an impartial bunch.

Imagine the howls of derision that UTW would unleash on the Tulsa World if they plugged a member of the Lorton family as one of Tulsa's gifts to local journalism. And they'd be right to point out the incestuous nature of such a story.

To be fair, we're confident that Skrzypcak has many fine qualities. He may even be almost as great as his employees think he is.

But pardon us—and more than a few Tulsa readers—for declining to burnish Keith's halo.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Dining at the Global Table: Local Food Blog Makes a Splash

The AltTulsa gang loves to eat, so we were pleasantly surprised to hear Tulsa food blogger Sasha Martin today on the radio program Travel with Rick Steves (thanks, KWGS!).

We're not sure how we managed to miss Sasha's blog for so long, but let's make up for it now by saying it plainly: This is creative cooking at its best and Sasha's website is well worth a look.

For 2012, we'd like to spend more time doing what Sasha Martin does: cooking interesting food from across the world. Oh, and enjoying it too.

Check out Global Table Adventures by Sasha Martin. A link to her website is here.

Jon Stewart on the Mystery of God's GOP Endorsement

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tulsa Is No. 1 in (Yikes!) Booze

That's right, Tulsa boozers! We're Number 1 in Oklahoma.

We referring to a Tulsa World analysis that revealed Tulsa County's first-in-Oklahoma ranking "for retail liquor stores' per capita sales." 

If we understand it correctly, this means Tulsa County residents spend more on liquor, wine and strong beer than any other county on a per capita basis. Tulsa County, the World reports, spent about $16.50 per resident on alcohol, while second-ranked Oklahoma County came in at $13.92 per resident. 

Whoo! Tulsans drink better booze than those those Cowtown Rednecks at the other end of the Turner Turnpike.

The good news in these numbers is the millions of dollars in tax revenue generated by liquor sales. On the down side, no one can claim that alcohol abuse is not a serious problem in Tulsa and elsewhere in Oklahoma.

Incidentally,  the World published their page-one analysis on New Year's eve, just above an ad for the River Spirit Casino's Visions Champagne Buffet. Cheers!

The Miracle That Never Happened: Michele Bachmann's Failed Presidential Bid

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann was always a long shot in the Republican bid for the presidency, but the candidate never gave up hope.

Indeed, she predicted a miracle, one that would bring huge numbers of Iowa Republicans to her cause. 

All that ended last night. Bachmann finished a weak sixth in a field of weak candidates, including the hapless Rick Perry and the ethically challenged Newt Gingrich. 

Today, Bachmann abandoned the race.

This is the same candidate who had God on her side—or so she claimed. A graduate of ORU's now-closed law school in Tulsa, Bachmann was the darling of some on the Christian right. As the Tulsa World noted last week week, a group of ORU students went to Iowa to work on Bachmann's campaign.

Alas, no miracle materialized for Michelle Bachmann. But have no fear, Bachmann fans: It's clear that the good Congresswoman will keep spouting bad ideas and conspiracy theories for the foreseeable future.