Friday, September 16, 2011

Here's how extremist and intransigent Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is: The short-term FAA and surface transportation bill he's holding up passed the House of Representatives. The John Boehner-led House of Representatives. But the bill is not ideologically pure enough for Coburn, and he's holding it up so that it can't be passed by the Friday night deadline at which the FAA once again shuts down. More

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

If you told me that a bunch of filthy rich people got together every couple of years to plan how to take over the United States and the world I would have told you you were off your rocker crazy.  You've been watching too many conspiracy movies.  If you also told me that one of Oklahoma's most religious political leaders was involved in this Bilderberger-like shadow conspiracy group I would be doubly sure you were crazy.  But I would be wrong.

This past week just such a gathering was brought to light by a secretly-made audio recording that was released to the press.  Oklahoma US Senator Tom Coburn has been involved.  See for yourself - read this article from Mother Jones here.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

It should come as no surprise that Tulsa's US Representative John Sullivan recently voted in favor of the outrageous Ryan budget proposal.  Rep. Paul Ryan's 2012 budget proposal was one of the worst attacks on the social safety net in decades.

Economist Paul Krugman called Rep. Ryan's budget bill both "ludicrous" and "cruel." "Ludicrous" because the budget projections were pure fantasy, "cruel" because it proposed massive spending cuts for programs that mainly help children, the poor and the elderly, while slashing taxes for corporations and the ultra-rich.

One of the main programs targeted by the Ryan budget was Medicare, which under the proposal would be destroyed in all but name, and replaced by a voucher program for seniors who'd be dumped into the private insurance market. And if the vouchers didn't cover the cost of insurance, too bad.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Senator Jim Inhofe has garnered some attention recently from the national press for his flying abilities as well as for his refusal to help the State Department diffuse a civil war in the Ivory Coast. Oddly, both stories were ignored by Fox News and almost completely ignored by the Tulsa World and the Daily Oklahoman. In keeping with its tradition, the Tulsa World noted that the national press was covering the story of the Senators dangerous landing on a closed airstrip in Texas but went no further.

One of the few journalists to cover the story at all has been the Atlantic's James Fallows whose stories here and here come as close as most Oklahomans will ever get to reading about what their U.S. Senator is doing to get attention for Oklahoma.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

One of my pet peeves regarding politics is when candidates take stands on, and make promises about, issues that the position they are running for has nothing to do with. Candidates for mayor that take stands on foreign affairs or social issues such as abortion etc either don't realize the limits of their office or are trying to appeal to ideologues on an emotional level. When it comes to city offices our representatives need to focus on non-partisan, practical matters such as economic development, streets, etc. Dewey Bartlett, the Republican candidate for Tulsa mayor apparently thinks he is running for the U.S. Senate - a position his father had many years ago.

The Tulsa Republican Party recently distributed the following letter from Bartlett that nicely illustrates what I think candidates for mayor should not do:

Dear Tulsa County Republican Party,

We have arrived once again at a crossroads. This election will decide the future of our city and the differences between my opponents and I could not be clearer. I am a conservative businessman who has survived in the good times and the bad. I served in the Air National Guard for six years, and I have a Masters Degree in Finance.

Unlike my opponents, I will keep government in its proper role; limited, but effective in the areas of service it should be, such as public safety and infrastructure. My support of other Republicans, including Senator Jim Inhofe, Dr. Tom Coburn, Congressman John Sullivan and our Republican Presidential ticket in '08, John McCain and Sarah Palin, is a point of pride for me and my family. Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton see me as a foe and not a friend. My opponents cannot say that, they are right in line with the liberal politicians from Washington, D.C. who are trying every day to chip away at our liberty and our sovereignty.

I am the only candidate who has pledged not to raise our taxes. I am the only candidate who will fight to defend the Tenth Amendment so that our rights as a state are defended within our union. I am the only candidate who will defend the unborn from abortion. I am the only conservative in this race, plain and simple. Which way shall we take our city?

I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter. It is important that you know my core values. I have listed those values below. I will be a job creating mayor who grows jobs, not government. I will prioritize public safety. I will improve our roads. These are my goals, and here are the principals I will follow to get there:

- Public Safety: Strong public safety is my first priority. I will hire more police to combat crime with existing revenue streams. I will collaborate with Sheriff Stanley Glanz to be sure we are fighting crime with all means and resources necessary. I believe in enforcement and punishment, not the latest social program to treat criminals. Any increases in the police and fire budgets will go to protecting Tulsans or fighting crime.
- Taxes: I pledge not to raise our taxes. Taxes should always remain low, and now more than ever we simply cannot raise taxes.

- Fiscal Restraint: I will manage the budget, making sure we cut unnecessary spending. I will utilize internal and external audits to find out where we can reduce the size and waste in our government.

- Infrastructure: I will ensure our roads are improved. We will have transparency. I am currently pushing to have updates of infrastructure repairs and projects posted online by the Public Works Department. I will see that our streets package is completed on time and under budget in a manner that keeps your confidence.

- "One Tulsa": We cannot ignore any part of town. We must improve our entire city and be sure that each part has proper investment and service. I will work with, not against, the city councilors to achieve this goal.

- Pro-Life: I am 100 percent against abortion. We need to encourage our faith communities to continue to help pregnant women cope with the challenges of motherhood and eliminate this terrible practice. I also support the efforts of others, such as Catholic charities, in their fight to stop abortion.

- Second Amendment: I personally keep and bear arms. This right is a city issue, contrary to what some liberals might say. I will not support limiting our Second Amendment right.

- States Rights: I support the Tenth Amendment and I will fight against any overarching effort by the federal government to infringe upon those rights.

- Property Rights: I support property rights of the individual from eminent domain abuse. People are allowed to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in this county and I will stand behind individual property rights which are so essential to this principal.
- Republican Party Platform: I support the Republican Party Platform. Like many of you, I may not always agree with the party, but I am a proud Republican and I support our party platform.

I want to ask you for your vote and for your support. We cannot afford to sit this election out, there is too much at stake. We have arrived at a crossroads, and the future of our city, liberal or conservative, depends on our decision. We can set the course of our city for years to come by standing together and fighting for our common conservative values.

Dewey Bartlett Jr.

Mr. Bartlett, like most Republicans, is trying to appeal to the conservative base. That's fine, but he pushes moderates away by doing so.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Secretary that Destroyed

In November of 2006 Mayor Kathy Taylor proclaimed the week "International Education Week" in Tulsa. A laudible thing to do since it's never been more important that American young adults go abroad for some study and life experience. Without a significant slice of our population having a basic understanding of what's outside our borders we have no hope to maintain our leading position in the world. But Mayor Taylor should put her resources where her mouth is.

It was, after all, Ms. Taylor that, as Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce, singlehandedly dismantled one of the nation's most successful and progressive international education programs. Prior to her appointment at the Department of Commerce that agency's international unit had developed a program that brought together the state's universities in a longterm program to promote study abroad for Oklahoma students as well as recruiting full-tuition paying foreign students to Oklahoma universities. Realizing that education services was one of Oklahoma's major exports and money earners, the agency's international unit had developed a strategic plan that got results. Within two years of implementation, Oklahoma had become the number one state of choice for graduate students from Vietnam. Other states, including North Carolina and New York were sending delegations to Oklahoma to find out what Oklahoma was doing right.

You'd think success would be embraced but soon after taking over the reins at Commerce Ms. Taylor fired the people responsible for the success and filled the agency with her friends and Brad Henry's political hacks. One agency manager that survived the destruction by Taylor told me that he still hears from economic development agencies in other states that lament the destruction of one of the nation's best international trade and education programs. "It will take years to rebuild what we had before Taylor mis-managed us into mediocrity - if we can ever get back to where we were."

Let's hope Mayor Taylor has learned some lessons.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Latin American Nut

Isn't this Chavez fellow a joke? The poor boob follows Bush around Latin America like a stalker. He carries on with his old, tired revolutionary slogans - it just doesn't work Chavez. Venezuelans, what are you doing to the reputation of your country?
Human Evolution and Lice

This is a very interesting article but the real mystery is how the folks at the Gorilla Rehab Center collected the lice for the research.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What's a Far Right Christian Gonna Do?

What are Oklahoma conservatives going to do in this next presidential election? For all but the silk stocking Republicans, there doesn't seem to be a viable champion in the race. Only Kansas Senator Brownback seems to be right wing and fundamentalist enough for the religious right. Even Arkansas governor Huckabee, a Baptist minister, isn't "pure" enough for many of the extremists that comprise the secretive Council for National Policy. As this story reveals, this Skull and Bones-lite group of Christian Right leaders has been meeting in the last few months to interview presidential hopefuls, apply their litmus tests, and try to exact promises out of them.

Frankly, I think the CNP extremists are just too hard to please. No one candidate, at least any that actually hope to win, is willing to accept their Dark Ages program of gun-loving, immigrant hating, free trade opposing, "Christianization" of public and foreign policy. Seems that most of the Republican candidates realize that after 8 years of George Bush the American public has seen what a mess the CNP's favorite president has gotten us into - and we have had quite enough of that, thank you.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Tulsa World Poll

The Tulsa World took an online poll last week about who readers would support in the presedential race. These polls are anything but scientific but Giuliani and McCain came out on top for the Republicans and Clinton, Obama and Edwards did well on the Democratic side. No surprises here. The Elvis Presley Fan Clubs of Eastern Oklahoma are expected to endorse Edwards next week - giving the former US Senator a boost no doubt. Don't underestimate the power of the Elvis fans in Eastern and Southern Oklahoma.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Super Distration in Middle East Has Our Eyes Off the Ball

Do you remember back around 1992 when Oklahoma Governor Bellmon wanted to spend $1 million on a feasibility study to intice the proposed Super Conducting Super Collider to Oklahoma? Ultimately, the politicians of Texas persuaded the Feds to pick Texas for the proposed site. However, soon thereafter, Congress in its wisdom canceled the multi-billion project that would have advanced our understanding of physics immeasurably. It was too expensive they said.

So what happened? In the intervening years much of the scientific momentum has shifted to Europe and now to Asia. The European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN built the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. Yesterday, a Japanese and Chinese-driven project to build the world's largest collider was announced. The locus of scientific innovation is migrating away from the US because we and our politicians seem to prefer to throw our billions down ratholes in the Middle East. In less than two weeks in Iraq we blow more money than it would cost to build that Super Collider in today's dollars. What have we blown on Iraq? And I'm not even going to mention the lives lost. $500 or $600 billion? If we had used our money on something constructive, like maintaining our lead in innovation, science, and education just think where we could be today?

Instead, we have squandered our resources in unnecessary wars. China loves it. While we are distracted China moves steadily ahead, focused on strategic advances and soft power. It's not yet hopeless. In the next election if we choose wisely, new leadership could turn things around.
Back in Town

OkiePundit is back. I see that not much has changed. The Feds have started enforcing the anti-cockfighting laws in Oklahoma. There's a new mayor. Same old Governor. And the religious far right still owns the southside. This should be fun.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

OkiePundit is taking a Break

OkiePundit is out-of-state for a few months and will return. Please check back later.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Love Them Guns!

The Oklahoma Legislature, in its wisdom, passed what they call the "Legal Protections Granted to Gun Owners and Their Employers" House Bill 1243, by Rep. Greg Piatt, R-Ardmore. This bill, which employers opposed, allows employees and anyone else to keep weapons in their cars and trucks at work - even if the company has banned weapons from its property. This makes it a lot easier for a just-fired worker to go out to his truck, get his gun, and blast his former boss into the next world. What is the Oklahoma Legislature's solution? Write a law to remove the company from any liability when this happens! We wouldn't want to actually address the problem would we? Let's just create a hazardous situation and remove all responsibility for the inevitable outcome. Idiots.

This ought to make it real easy to attract all those big employers to Oklahoma!

Monday, February 21, 2005

George W Bush's Divine Appointment

After years of attending an evangelical megachurch OkiePundit is familiar with the nuanced political signals buried in the sermons so it was with both relief and disgust that I listened to Pastor BJ's frank monologue on Bush and the Middle East this Sunday. He came right out and said it this time; Bush is exercising a divine appointment to open up the Muslim Middle East to Christian proselytizing.

The President is under a divine assignment from the Lord to open up the Middle East to Christianity. We are in a place of divine appointment. Our President is criticized today but those who criticize him will wake up one day and understand his wisdom. Russia was first to be opened up and the Middle East is next - and then on to China.

At this point the Pastor had a missionary straight from Indonesia address the congregation to tell us that the church's mission in Jakarta sent five student missionaries to tsunami-racked Bandah Aceh to pour Christian healing into this oppressed area where almost everyone is Muslim. The implication from an earlier sermon was that the region was hit because it was largely non-Christian and would continue to be oppressed until it turned to Jesus.

Then the Pastor turned to finances:

"You must do well in your businesses so you can serve in the realm of financing - to accelerate the coming of the Lord. As a church we must grow our own millionaires to help finance the harvest of souls. In every industry Christians are rising to the top. The End Time Transfer is upon us now."

Although anyone who listens to the Evangelicals should know that most of them support America's recent aggressive foreign policy and pro-Israel positions it is rare to hear the leaders state that the support is based upon a belief that God has selected George W Bush to clear the way for Christian inroads into Muslim areas. Nevermind that the evangelicals' objective is not served by the war in Iraq and our unswerving support of Israel - they believe against all evidence that it is.

George W Bush may have been reelected in part because of this rarely spoken of and unrealistic dream of Christianizing the Middle East. The fact that so many religious fundamentalists could actually believe such an outcome was possible is cause for considerable concern. How out-of-touch with reality on the ground can they be?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

OkiePundit's Least Favorite TV Show Picks of February 2005

  1. O'Reilly Factor
  2. Chappelle's Show
  3. Blue Collar Television
  4. Jamie Foxx Presents
  5. Anything on Fox News
  6. Dennis Miller
  7. Crossfire
  8. Larry King
  9. Tucker Carlson on PBS
  10. At Large with Geraldo Rivera

Friday, February 18, 2005

Abducting Your Own Child

Do you know anyone that has been through a divorce and lost custody of his or her children? It happens all the time. Maybe it's happened to you. The divorce rate in conservative Oklahoma is among the highest in the nation.

If you are one of the lucky ones that hasn't experienced being separated from your children by a former spouse and the state then take a moment to imagine what that would be like.

Sometimes parents are separated from their children because they truly are a danger to them. But most often a parent is separated from his/her children simply because the other parent had a better lawyer or because the judge flipped a mental coin. In Oklahoma, as in many states, the mother is given custody (80% of the time) because of nothing more than custom.

It's no wonder then that many parents who have had their children taken away from them become desperate in their grinding anguish and do something foolish - like take back their child.

Just this week Tina Faye Lambert, a Sand Springs mother abducted her daughter and spent a night with her before being caught. She was arrested on "child-stealing" charges because her former husband had legal custody of the 8-year old daughter. The Tulsa World article explained that the daughter had wanted to hug her mom goodbye but doesn't say whether the police let her give that hug. I doubt it. Ms. Lambert may or may not be a good mom but you have to understand her longing for her daughter. You have to understand the worried dad too.

Last month in Bartlesville an Amber Alert was issued about an "abducted child". Only later did we learn that it was a case of a father "abducting" his child. Strange how it's always the fathers that get the Amber Alerts.

The saddest part to these awful situations is the children who get torn apart mentally. But I can understand what drives parents to "abduct" their children out of desperation and a feeling of helplessness. To have their action labeled "child-stealing" doesn't seem right.

Courts need to work harder at structuring joint custody arrangements that keep both parents in the lives of their children. Only in cases where a parent really is a danger to their child should they be separated by the state. The Alliance for Non-Custodial Parents Rights are trying to do something about it but while their solution could be right, their focus isn't. They should be focused on the right of their children to have joint custody of their parents.

With more joint custody we'd have fewer parents "abducting" their own children. Best of all, it would be better for the children.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Brenda Reneau Hires ex-Daily Oklahoma editor

OkieDoke has an interesting post about Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Reneau hiring the Daily Oklahoman's former editorial editor.

Oklahoma’s Dept. of Labor is already more anti-labor than the state Commerce Department. Labor Commissioner Brenda Reneau thinks her job is to hold Oklahoma labor down rather than build it up. The choice last week of Patrick McGuigan as new Deputy Labor Commissioner shows her level of respect for regular working Okies. McGuigan was a right-wing extremist editorial director of the Daily Oklahoman when it was (accurately) recognized as the worst newspaper in America. McGuigan is to worker rights as Michael Jackson is to children.

While OkieDoke attributes the demise of Oklahoma's labor unions to Reneau and free trade among other things I think is has more to do with Oklahoma's Republican trend and past abuse by unions. It will take awhile for the unions to recover.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Tulsa World Doesn't Want Links

Batesline has an interesting blog on the Tulsa World threatening Councilman Medlock with legal action for, get this, linking to stories in the Tulsa World. Michael Bates points out that it is not an infringment of copyright to link to a site. The World won't let you see their content unless you are a subscriber anyway - so what's the World's problem?

Take a look at the World to see what I mean.