Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Busted! Jon Stewart Finds Fox News Reading Republican Talking Points

GOP at War with the Last 200—no 300!—Years

AltTulsa's nomination for the Oklahoma Quote of the Day is OU political science professor Keith Gaddie, commenting on the far right push of the Republicans in 2012:
The Republican Party appears to be at war with, bascially, the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries in this process. 
Wow! The GOP—some of the most out-of-date and backward thinking you'll find anywhere.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Newt's Visit Unlikely to Boost Oklahoma Poll Numbers

Newt Gingrich brought his campaign to Tulsa today in an effort to shore up his failing presidential campaign. 

Once the GOP frontrunner in Oklahoma, Gingrich is fading fast while Rick ("No Sex") Santorum is riding high in the Sooner state.

Sooner Poll results reported Sunday in the Tulsa World show Santorum at 39 percent, Mitt Romney at 23 percent and Gingrich at 18 percent. Ron Paul came in fourth at only 8 percent, behind the catch-all category of "Don't know/refused." 

How the mighty have fallen. In mid-December, Gingrich was atop the Sooner Poll with 33 percent of the voters. Gingrich's numbers nationally are even worse. Gallup today has The Newtster at an underwhelming 13 percent. 

Let's face it, Sooner fans, Newt Gingrich is toast. He won't win the Oklahoma primary and he won't win the Republican nomination. He'll never be president of the United States.

Why? Maybe it's Newt's ethically challenged history in the U.S. House. Maybe it's his convoluted  marital history, which includes two ex-wives and a current wife more than two decades his junior.

Or maybe it's his never-ending font of silly ideas, including his scheme to establish a U.S. base on the moon. Brilliant!

Candidate Newt Gingrich Stumps in Tulsa; Forgets to Mention His Amazing Moon Base

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke in Tulsa today, hoping to rally his supporters in advance of the upcoming Oklahoma primary.

He'll need more than hope. Newt's numbers in Oklahoma have tanked in recent weeks thanks to his propensity to pander to audiences and say whatever sort of idea pops into his head.

Newt has a lot of ideas—most of them bad. 

Remember his spectacularly bad moon base idea? Newt trotted out that doozy when he was speaking on Florida's so-called Space Coast.

We missed today's Newt shindig, so we're not sure what Gingrich was peddling today. But we're betting the moon base didn't come up.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Republicans Gone Wild: OETA Funding Safe—for Now

AltTulsa is pleased to see that the legislative move to strip state funding from public television (OETA) has been dropped.

The Oklahoman reports that Rep. Leslie Osborn, a Republican from Mustang, has withdrawn the bill. She told the paper that she didn't have the votes to get her bill through the budget subcommittee on education.

AT has previously criticized the defunding idea as "dumb."

Rep. Osburn, however, is not giving up. She told the Oklahoma that OETA funding would be cut or eliminated when the state abolishes the state income tax, another goal of the state Republican leaders. (Homeowners beware—property taxes will go up!)

Nevertheless, Osburn is a True Believer. "[T]he founding fathers didn't give us the right to procure money from the people against their will—which is taxation—for anything cultural or philosophic," she told the paper.

Oh, wait. Don't tell her about the Smithsonian. Or the National Gallery of Art. Or the Library of Congress. Or the National Archives.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Art Audio: The Philbrook's Show of Pottery and Photography, "Black on Black & White"

Tulsa's Philbrook Museum has opened a new show featuring the pottery of Maria Martinez, famous for her black-on-black work, and the photographer Laura Gilpin, a friend of Martinez who documented Native American life in the Southwest.

Rich Fisher at KWGS 89.5 featured the new show earlier this week on "Studio Tulsa."

It's worth a listen. Better yet, it's worth a visit to the Philbrook.

A link to the show is here: KWGS: "Black on Black & White: The Southwest of Laura Gilpin and Maria Martinez"

Easy Target: Jon Stewart Lampoons Santorum's Women in Combat Ideas

Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Grant Wood, American Painter

American Gothic is one of the most famous paintings ever made. It's creator was Grant Wood, the Iowa-born artist who was born today, February 13, 1891. The painting is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, where it continues to draw big crowds. For more on Wood and his art, see the Wikipedia entry here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Inaccurate and Misleading: Celebrating The Great Michael Bates Backdown

Yes, Tulsa citizens, it's time once again to recall the Great Michael Bates Backdown, the time when our intrepid local blogger got in way, way over his head.

You may remember that Bates, in early 2009, used his "Cityscope" column in Urban Tulsa Weekly to blast the Tulsa World (or "Whirrled," as Bates likes to put it) for its circulation reporting and auditing practices.

It's all well and good to bash the local paper, if you like, but it's not such a good idea to say things that you don't know to be true. That sort of reporting just leads to trouble. 

Indeed, the World was not amused and threatened legal action. For its part, UTW quickly distanced itself from Bates' column.

Then, three years ago tomorrow, February 10, 2009, Bates wrote a very informative letter setting the record straight about his column. In it, Bates admitted that "my column contained numerous errors."

This letter was—and is—interesting reading. Bates owns up to to a whole bevy of reporting problems. But let's just quote some of the best lines from the Bates letter directly: 
My column suggests that the Tulsa World was not audited by the Audit Bureau of Circulation for nearly a decade. This is false.

My statement that the Tulsa World retained "consultants" to provide circulation information is inaccurate and misleading. 

My suggestion that the actual circulation numbers were somehow "concealed" from a time is incorrect.

My suggestion that Tulsa World circulation as 205 higher in 2005 than in 2006 was incorrect. 
Ouch! The letter goes on, but you get the idea.

In the end, Bates escaped the lawsuit. But he also provided fodder for his critics and helped create a new Tulsa holiday, the Great Bates Backdown, which we will be celebrating again tomorrow.


Fallin Fail: Governor Delivers Budget Baloney

Gov. Mary Fallin made her State of the State speech the other day, trumpeting her bold (sic) new tax plan. In a phrase, it's all cuts all the time.

Whoo-hoo! Sooners will pay lower taxes! We'll all have more money and everyone will prosper!

But wait. This seems just a tad to good to be true. 

In fact, the Tulsa World (and others) have noticed that the governor's budget numbers don't add up. For one thing, the governor assumes that lower taxes will, as the World put it, "immediately trigger economic growth."

Big maybe. This is the same "big maybe" that George W. Bush pushed for eight years in Washington, and we all know how well that worked out.

We expect a certain amount of baloney from the state's Republican leadership. But Gov. Fallin is hawking smoke and mirrors here, offering voodoo economics in place of realistic budget solutions.

Sure, we'd all love lower taxes. But we also want a state government that works well and serves its citizens in a fair and reasonable way. Based on her tax plan, the governor doesn't get it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to One of the Greats: Novelist Charles Dickens at 200

In case you missed it, it's time to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of the greatest writers in the history the English language, Charles Dickens.

The author of David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, A Christmas Carol, and many other novels turns 200 today.

We admit that we haven't dipped into much Dickens lately, but we have enjoyed some recent BBC productions of his work, including Little Dorrit. Terrific stuff, by our lights.

Thankfully, too, NPR ran an appreciation of Dickens on "Morning Edition" this morning. The link is here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dumb Move: Legislator Wants to Chop OETA Funds

The Republican stupidity at the state legislature continues unabated.

The latest bonehead idea is to cut off state funding for the state's public broadcasting system, OETA. In fact, Rep. Leslie Osborn of Tuttle claims that 17 states have now quit funding public television.

Too bad that's not true. As the Tulsa World reported yesterday, that figure is wrong. Rep. Osburn is making up her own "facts," which turns out to be a popular tactic among the state's GOP legislators.

More importantly, cuts to OETA are an ill-advised way of cutting state spending, an effort to chop government services and diminish the quality of life in the Sooner state.

Who needs OETA anyway? It's not like it broadcasts anything interesting or educational. Naw, we don't need no stinkin' Big Bird. American Experience—who needs a serious look at U.S. history? Masterpiece? Who needs culture?

Hey, we're Okies—we don't take kindly to learnin'.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ouch! Sooners Dead Last in Dental Visits

We're number 50! We're number 50!

Yes, Sooner fans, Oklahoma ranks dead last of the 50 states in the percentage of adults who visit the dentist at least once a year. Whoo-hoo!

We learned this sad fact in today's Tulsa World, which reported on free dental clinic held Friday in McAlester. According to the story, about 1,000 people turned up for the clinic, including some of who drove more than 100 miles.

The clinic, known as the Oklahoma Mission of Mercy, continued today and the paper said another 1,000 were expected.

We commend the Oklahoma Dental Association and its dental professionals who put on this clinic and help our fellow Oklahomans. In a state with lots of low-income residents who lack dental insurance, the clinic is a great thing.

But it is a sad commentary on the current state of Oklahoma's economy and public health that we are at the bottom of the heap when it comes to dental care.