Friday, August 24, 2012

Censure Time: Tulsa Republicans Gone Wild!

Those ever-so-vindictive Tulsa County Republicans are at it again.

Yes, Sooner fans, it's another exciting food fight among the purists, the fine folks who insist that that every GOP utterance and every GOP action follow the right-wing party line.

In case you haven't been following the news, this latest outburst of spite concerns the GOP's official response to Tulsa County's two Republican County commissioners, Fred Perry and John Smaligo, who voted to put the Vision2 tax proposal before local voters.

The proposal would extend a 0.6 percent county sales tax, raising $748.8 million for economic and industrial improvements for public works projects in Tulsa and Tulsa County, including the Tulsa International Airport. 

Local GOP bigwigs were outraged (of course!) and promptly voted to oppose the tax increase since, as we all know, all taxes are evil and should be opposed at all times for any reason at all. (Who needs improved roads and safe bridges?)

But wait! There's more!

Not content to merely oppose this horrible, horrible idea to improve the Tulsa community (Heavens!), the small-minded bigwigs voted to censure Perry and Smaligo. After the censure vote last Saturday, a few local Republican leaders, including Sen. Brian Crain, criticized the censure, to which we say, good for him.

We don't have a dog in this fight, but the whole episode is powerful evidence for the pettiness of local Republicans. Their message is clear: Woe be unto any Republican who thinks for himself and actually wants to make things better in Tulsa County.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Texas Crazy: Fantasies from a Lubbock Judge

 Someone in Texas has been listening to waaaaaay too much talk radio:
"[President Obama is] going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the (United Nations), and what is going to happen when that happens? I'm thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we're not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we're talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy. Now what's going to happen if we do that, if the public decides to do that? He's going to send in U.N. troops. I don't want 'em in Lubbock County. OK. So I'm going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say 'you're not coming in here'," - Judge Tom Head of Lubbock County, Texas.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dr. No Sounds Off on (Yawn…) Same Ole, Same Ole

Let's say one thing for Sen. Tom (Dr. No) Coburn: he's consistent. Of course, if you are consistently wrong, that's a problem. 

Yes, Sooner fans, Dr. No was in Tulsa this week, speaking to those long-suffering working stiffs at the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa. He told 'em how awful things are—in spite of the fact that things aren't that awful.

Turns out, the housing market in these parts is pretty good. Also, unemployment isn't so bad either.

Not bothered by actual facts, Coburn trotted out usual the right-wing talking points, including, as the Tulsa World put it, "the abandonment of the U.S. Constitution."

That and this little bit of exaggeration: The end of the republic is here, Coburn says.  The sky is falling! The sky is falling! 

This is the usual overheated GOP rhetoric in an election year, but you'd think that a thoughtful Republican with an M.D. behind his name could describe the world is a more or less realistic way.

But if you thought that, you'd be wrong too. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Popular Crime: Local Violence Attracts an Online Crowd

Tulsans love their crime news. 

We draw that broad conclusion based on an informal survey of the top ten stories in the "Most popular stories" list on the Tulsa World website, which is invariably loaded with a variety of shootings, beatings, robberies and other violence acts. 

Just today, for instance, eight of the top ten stories on the list were local crimes and another was a Texas shooting. Only one story of the top ten was non-crime related, a story on the rise of the West Nile virus.

True, crime has long been a staple of the news business. It's often interesting and, more importantly, people do need to know about the violence in their neighborhoods. But the popularity of crime news in Tulsa also says something about Tulsans, who can't seem to get enough of bar brawls, meth lab busts and the like.

We prefer to think about finer things. Sure we do. (Hey, did you hear about the fight last night between these two drunks…)

Fun with Romney-Ryan: The Bold Choice (Not)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Remembering Gore Vidal: Mike Wallace Talks to the Prolific and Always-Acidic Author

Author and life-long contrarian Gore Vidal, who had family ties to Oklahoma, died this week. He was 86.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bogus Drugs: Why We Need the Feds and their Pesky Rules

Those on-so-clever Tea Party types are always whining about government spending. We spend too much on all those unnecessary federal programs, they say. Rep. Ron Paul, among others, wants to strip government back to the military and, well, not much else.

Of course, such cuts come at a price, one even the libertarian Cato Institute might not want to endorse.

Let's consider a recent Federal Drug Administration right here in Oklahoma. Turns out the FDA raided an Owasso business a few days ago for selling drugs that can cure cancer. (Right…and we've got this cool bridge in Brooklyn we can sell for cheap.)

According to the Tulsa World, the owner of the Owasso business was not a doctor, but she did administer something called OxyM, made, in part, of "black walnut green-hull extract."

That's right, Sooner fans, if people are desperate enough you can sell them just about anything.

Protecting the public from drug and medical scams is important. This isn't government waste and it isn't something the free market can regulate on its own.

The "government is the enemy" crowd doesn't want to hear it, but we need a lot the government we have. Among other things, it keeps the medical shysters in check.