Thursday, December 30, 2004

Where's Charles Thompson?

Ever wonder what happened to Charles Thompson? The Sun-Sentinel has the story.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Moratorium on Hate Radio Pays Off

Two months ago I went cold turkey when I stopped listening to extremist radio programs like Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity et al. I cut out both the far right and the far left (pretty much limited to Air America). The results? I feel great. I find that I am much more relaxed and less irritable. I feel like the red and blue toxins that were in my mind/body have dissipated. A day without hearing Rush's voice is a day in Heaven.

Sure, I don't know what story they are trying to blow up out of proportion to try and get listeners all upset about but ... I find I can get along without that quite nicely. I just stick to the legitimate media (the ones that employ fact checkers) and I feel both informed and healthy.

Try it.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Oklahoma Man Dies After Getting Swept Out To Sea

HONOLULU -- Authorities say a 33-year-old visitor from Oklahoma died after he was swept to sea at South Point on the Big Island.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Renting a Car in Miami

OkiePundit just returned from a biz trip to Miami, Florida. Nice weather but too much inefficiency. My adventures at the rental car place epitomize Miami for me. To begin with the taxi driver didn't listen to me (English wasn't his first language) and took me to the wrong branch of Alamo. Once inside Alamo it was pure chaos. The lobby looked like a third-world airport just hours before the rebel troops were set to entire the capital city. The lines were long and unmoving. Angry customers were fuming. Cranky bored children were wailing.

It took an hour to get waited on by a dismissive clerk that never acknowledged my existence. When I tried to find my car it was not in the designated slot so I had to re-endur the refugee scene but none of the clerks would help me. They kept shunting me off to someone else and ignoring me as other angry customers vied for their attention. Finally I started yelling at the only managerial-looking person behind the counter and got his attention for a millisecond. He yelled something in Spanish to someone else and they promptly resumed ignoring me.

After a lot more screaming and abominable customer non-service I got a car and left - having wasted an entire afternoon just trying to get a car in Miami.

Now I understand more about the hanging chads.
No Remorse

About 10 years ago the case of the rape and murder of Sri Sedjati Sugeng, an OSU student from Indonesia, was news. She was found dead in the bathtub of her off-campus apartment in Stillwater. Her family back in Indonesia was devastated of course. Can you imagine learning that your child has been brutally murdered on the other side of the Earth and there's not a thing you can do about it?

Lloyd Edward Mollett was found guilty of the murder and rape and was sentenced to death. The punishment was overturned by a Colorado judge because the District Judge Donald Worthington had foolishly refused to answer a question from the jury. I wonder what the victim's family thought about the American judicial system when they learned that the death penalty conviction had been overturned?

This week Mollett was resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Tulsa World reports that Mollett has shown no remorse. I've seem the state pen at McAlester (on a tour) and the thought of spending the rest of a life locked in those tiny cells would possibly be worse than death. Just the thought that one's life has been wasted would be bad enough. As awful (and deserved) as that outcome is, the victim is a young lady from a far off land that came to America to pursue a dream. No one other than Mollett, no one else in the world, is responsible for snuffing out her possibilities and the hope of her family. Mollett needs to apologize to her family.

On a hopeful note, I'm reading a book by Noah Levine, "Dharma Punx", his story of his descent into drug addiction and crime and his turnaround to become a Buddhist teacher and writer. From not caring about his victims (which included his family) to a life of profound compassion. How does one get from one point to another? Read the book.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Libraries and Hanging On

I almost didn't get back from OKC in time to vote in Tuesdays library bond issue in Tulsa - but I did. I voted for it of course. I wanted a much better library. Unfortunately, the negative nabobs, the anti-tax at all costs folks, outvoted the forward-looking citizens that remembered to vote. The result finds me again contemplating giving up on Oklahoma and moving somewhere more progressive. I know this is heresy - but I'm not the only one wondering if it's worth hanging on. Life is short.

I love Oklahoma so this is hard to admit.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Indian vs White Racial Tension

A story in the Native Times reveals that racial tensions may exist at a high school in Fairfax, Oklahoma. A former student of the school that has since moved to New Mexico is quoted as saying:

There was a definite undertone of racism there,” Stock said. “I would get into arguments with other students because they would always be saying things like ‘Indians need to stop complaining all the time’. Rebel flags are common on the trucks there.”Stock said that Scully was “not helpful” when it came to complaints about racial remarks. One thing Stock is sure about: New Mexico is much more tolerant when compared to Oklahoma.“If you are Indian here, people are interested in that. Maybe that is because there are so many reservations here. It seems like in Oklahoma people are really close-minded. They don’t try to hide the fact that they don’t like Indians.”

I'm a bit surprised by the situation described by Stock but if it is an accurate assessment then Fairfax needs to find out what's behind it. Having grown up in an area of Oklahoma with a very large Indian (or Native American if you prefer) population I never witnessed any racial tension between the whites and Indians (there were no blacks). I had many 100% Indian friends but I never thought of them as "Indian friends" - just as friends. Maybe the reason was that there was so much mixed blood - nearly every family (including my own) had intermarried. It's pretty hard to hate a piece of yourself.

There were the usual child-on-child cruelties but anti-Indian talk was just something I never heard. People got along very well. Is Fairfax an isolated incident or a disturbing trend?

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Good Message Derails

The sermon at my evangelical megachurch today regarded the worth of people. The pastor made the point, in a number of ways, that everyone is equal in the eyes of God. No matter your color, gender, physical condition, age - we are all equally valuable. He dwelled at length on abortion - his position being that humans in a womb are as worthy as a human out of the womb. I agree with him on that 100%. Where he lost me was when he made the ludicrous statement that evolutionism is the cause of the devaluation of human life and thus the legalization of abortion.

"If the world was created by accident as the evolutionists claim, then we are just a mass of flesh with no worth," he went on. "Stalin used evolution theory to justify the elimination of millions of people." Ok, now he is in outer space. It's hard to see how he gets from point A to point B and then on to point C. I'm no expert on Stalin but even if he did embrace social darwinism to justify his pogroms that in no way disproves the validity of the theory of evolution. If humans misuse a scientific reality to justify a looney and self-serving action that misappropriation of the reality does not make it less real. Nor does it make the theory evil. Ironically, both the pastor and Stalin may be guilty of knowingly twisting science to suit their needs.

Many religious fundamentalist leaders are telling their believers that evolution is false because their holy books, written thousands of years ago, don't jive with what we've learned since. Now at least one is telling them evolutionists are responsible for abortion and the devaluing of human life. This is truly ironic when you think about all the wars and horrors that have been loosed on the world by people who believe they are doing God's work. I'll take my chances with the scientists thank you.
Don't Need No Stinkin' Helmet

KOTV reports that...

Oklahoma is one of 23 states with no helmet law for riders age 18 and older. Officials say only about one-third of Oklahoma motorcyclists wear a helmet. Neurological surgeon Stan Pelofsky says he can't conceive why there isn't a helmet law. Pelofsky says they're proven to save lives and reduce the cost of health care.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Oklahoma Gun Law Alarms Corporations

The Kansas City Star reports that:

A new (Oklahoma) state law allowing employees to keep guns in their locked cars on company property has alarmed some of Oklahoma's biggest corporations and pitted them against gun enthusiasts. The law was passed by the Legislature this year and was scheduled to go into effect Nov. 1. A federal judge blocked its enforcement while he considers a challenge filed by companies fearful that guns at work could lead to bloodshed.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Turkey Mountain Swamp

It was a misty day around the Arkansas River today - my favorite environment for walking across the pedestrian bridge at 31st Street in Tulsa. The best view in Tulsa is looking north from the balcony in the middle of this old railroad bridge. Looking north over the wide Arkansas one sees downtown Tulsa's skyscrapers peeking up above the cottonwood trees that line the river. The entire image is reflected in the tranquil waters just above the spillway here. When the trees turn colors at this time of year is the best time to enjoy this view.

On the other side of the bridge - looking south, one can watch seagulls, pelicans and cranes standing on rocks or hovering over the spillway in search of fish. It's a glorious sight on any day but when the water is running high and a mist softens the edges - even the electric plant on the river bank can't ruin the mood. Looking south past the I-44 bridge one can see the bulk of Turkey Mountain looming over the Arkansas near 71st Street.

Near Turkey Mountain is a shale formation that bears untold numbers of carbonized plant fossils squeezed between the layers of these 300+ million year old Pennsylvanian Era rocks. In these shales are the mineralized remains of giant ferns and tree-sized rushes that once flourished where Tulsa is now. As I watch the birds catching fish in the foreground my eyes occasionally drift up and off into the distance to Turkey Mountain and thoughts of the tropical swamp that bubbled here all those millions of years ago.

The sight helps put talk of petty politics, football games, and injustice in some sort of perspective.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Evolution Tales

Today our Pastor focused on the need to be thankful for everything God has done for us - a timely message. Still, he managed to throw in an attack on the theory of evolution and the "natural world's" attempts to promote evolution through every media. He said it was a lie "that we are descended from monkeys". This is coming from an "educated" man no less - one who either doesn't know that Darwin never said we were descended from monkeys or knowingly uses this common misstatement about the theory to arouse the ire of the homo nimcompoopus among his flock.

I collected fossils like many a young boy and frankly would have developed the theory of evolution if Darwin hadn't of beaten me to it. It's so darn obvious to anyone that has collected fossils. Two recent books on this subject are worth reading: The Map That changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology by Simon Winchester or Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale : A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution. If you don't have the time then look at last month's National Geographic magazine's "Was Darwin Wrong?" This silly argument over evolution vs creationism was settled over a hundred years ago but an astounding near-majority of modern Americans still believe the creation story of the Bible precludes the theory of evolution. Among the many things I'm thankful for is that the Church has given up on the flat Earth doctrine.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Oklahoma Creek Indians Tossing Status Honors around Europe

As detailed in the Belfast Telegraph a group of Creek Indians from Oklahoma has conferred "warrior status" on Londonderry's Sinn Fein (IRA-associated) Mayor, Gearoid O'hEara.

A team of 20 Americans, hailing from Tennessee, Oklahoma and Georgia, honoured the Mayor and the city with a blessing during their visit yesterday. The Mayor said he was honoured at being conferred with warrior status by Creek Indian peace chief Negel Big Pond.

This should tick off a number of Oklahoma mayors who have yet to achieve warrior status.
Red States Love Blue Culture

Frank Rich has some interesting observations on how the red states are chasing after blue culture and Rupert Murdoch and Fox are reaping the profits thereof. Frank also throws in a mention of the recently uncovered rampant lesbianism in Oklahoma.

Frank could also have illustrated his observation by pointing to Oklahoma's simultaneous election of Tom Coburn and the passage of a pro-lottery (gambling) law.
We've Got a Friend

Sometimes we Okies feel "put upon" by the rest of our countrymen and women but it seems we do have a friend - the computer.

Monday, November 15, 2004

The Dirty Goings On in Europe

In our church this Sunday Pastor drew our attention to a recent sinister event in a far off land that was overlooked in large part because of the presidential election in our own land. The Europeans signed a European Union Constitution in - can you believe it? - Rome! His tone conveyed an unmistakable "well you know what this means?"

Before my synapses could fire he continued,"the prophecies are coming true", he orated, "but before the enemy takes Europe there will be a great harvest." At this point, being the novice evangelical that I am, I'm trying to understand the significance of this news.

He goes on - "a man from Poland tried to get God into the European Constitution but he was rejected. A man from Italy tried to get marriage as a union of a man and a woman written into the Constitution and he was thrown out! Europe is going the wrong way but thank God for a country like America that's going the other way."

In doing a little catch-up research after the sermon I found what Evangelicals-in-the-know already know that: Europe is the heart of the Antichrist beast-system of governmental, economic and religious control prophesied to engulf the world. It seems that many among the Evangelicals believe the Bible prophesies that Europe will alse experience a peace process that will initiate the tribulation, which will culminate at Armageddon. This, no doubt, is good news - as Armageddon leads directly to the Rapture - without passing Go. Unfortunately, we have to go through a few difficult times to get to the good times.

Least the Europeans among you get snooty about your sophistication let's see how you Europeans feel about hosting the anti-Christ and hastening the Armageddon cum Rapture? Apparently, Europeans not only know they are hosting the antiChrist, Dr. Ian Paisley knows exactly who it is. Well, at least America does not have a monopoly on religious paranoia.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

What is the difference between a mandate and a boydate?

The answer is at:

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Bob Jones Reaches Out in Compassion

If you need convincing about the nature of compassion take a look at Bob Jone's letter of congratulations to President Bush. He couldn't help but throw in a couple of requests as well:

Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ.

Now let us prey (sic)

(note: since Bob's letter starting getting so much attention he took it down off of the University's website. You can still read about the letter here.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

McDaniel Wins Recount in HD 78

As reported at Batesline Democrat Jeannie McDaniel prevailed in the recount in State House District 78 in East Tulsa. The recount found that she beat Schaffer by 24 votes instead of the initial 34-vote margin.This was a race between a longtime city activist (McDaniel) vs a relatively unknown young businessman (Schaffer). A relative in the district supplied me with all of the mailers from both candidates and it's interesting to see what happened in this race. McDaniel never went negative on Schaffer - her mailers stuck to pragmatic issues such as education and budgets. Schaffer's mailers also were about his qualifications - until the last two weeks of the campaign when he turned negative. Schaffer tried the same social issue tactic that worked for so many Repubs - focusing on gay marriage, abortion, etc.

One of the worst mailers from Schaffer (below) reprinted portions of a Tulsa World article that reported that McDaniel said the anti-gay marriage ammendment wasn't necessary because Oklahoma law already made gay marriage illegal. Schaffer, regretably, took this straight-forward and factual statement and tried to spin it to make McDaniel seem to be supporting gay marriage. Well, let's call it what it was, it was a blatent attempt to mislead the voters. Schaffer also pulled out the tiresome label of "liberal" and tried to stick it on the pragmatic McDaniel. And, sadly, the last minute misrepresentation against his opponent almost worked. I'm glad it didn't. It's good to see a candidate that stays positive and focused on pragmatic issues win.

It's Just Beginning

Oklahomans are used to receiving unwanted attention to our shortcomings. Everytime there's a big tornado in Oklahoma the national media swoops down and picks out the only toothless hillbilly in the city and asks him to describe the tornado. "Shoot-far! it sounded like a freight train a-comin' through mah trailer home!", the toothless man will say.

Whether it is towns voting to ban dancing, rural judges refusing to enforce cockfight bans, or cow-patty throwin' contests, we always seem to get egg on our collective faces when the national media comes to visit.

Well now the media can stay at home because we are bringing the entertainment to them. Tom Coburn is coming to Washington DC. Sure, he's been there before when he was the 1st District Congressman a few years ago - but no one pays much attention to Congresspeople. Now Coburn is to be our junior Senator in DC and people listen to Senators. Oh **#%.

Coburn isn't even in Washington yet but we are already getting the benefit of his notoriety. Everyone from Pat Buchanan to Jon Stewart have commented on the fun and games the nation can expect from a Senator Coburn. Last night, Jon Stewart's Daily Show had a bit on Coburn's comment about "rampant lesbianism in Southeast Oklahoma". Just think Oklahoma, what we can look forward to now!!

Maybe Tom Coburn will surprise us and shake up the old political system in DC in a good way. Pat Buchanan says the Republican leadership is scared of what Coburn could do to them. I know the feeling.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Why (some) Evangelicals Scare Me

It's been a busy week of travel for OkiePundit so I apologize for the delay in explaining why, in my last post, I said evangelicals were a danger to a liberal democracy and perhaps the world. I should have said "most evangelicals" because I know quite a few who don't believe it is right to impose their religious beliefs on others. No, the evangelicals are not bad people - just the opposite. Most I know are very good people who do a lot of good for others. But when they start telling others how to live their lives I have a problem with that.

The danger I referred to regarded their objective (as I've heard them state over and over in church) to apply their interpretation of Biblical laws to the State and to infuse our foreign policy with Biblical intent. To be specific, I'm talking the whole agenda - the re-making of the United States as a "Christian nation" by putting school-sponsored Christian prayer into schools to facilitating Armageddon in the Middle East to hasten the second coming of Christ as prophesied in the Bible. I would say this is dangerous whether the proponents were Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, or Wiccans. When we start believing we have an unquestioned hold on the truth and believing that we need to force everyone else to conform to our beliefs we are in the danger zone.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a church cell group leader talk about the inevitability of an Arab - Israel war that would bring Israel to its knees and Jesus back for the Rapture. He was telling us that the role the US was playing in the Middle East was (and this was President Bush's plan according to the cell leader) designed to prepare the way for Armageddon and the second coming. This is not the first time I've heard this kind of talk in evangelical circles. Many of these people are voting based on a perception that Rapture-facilitation is the unstated goal of President Bush. No, I don't think the President shares this belief - at least I hope not. But I'm beginning to believe that it might be possible for the evangelicals to eventually elect someone that might share such thinking and be anxious to act on it. It scares me.

No, I'm not anti-Christian or anti-religious at all. I grew up in Oklahoma at a time when I was subjected to forced recitation of Christian prayer over the school intercom and mandatory fundamentalist-run Bible lessons in my public school classroom. That's not what I want to happen to my children. Or to the children of believers in other faiths or to non-believers. Our ancestors came here to escape religious persecution - let's keep that in mind.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Ornithologists (British at that) with a good sense of humour.
What's 3 million people?

Can anyone tell me how someone that had almost 5 out of every 10 people vote against him - how that person can say he has a mandate to do as he pleases? Do the wishes of the 49% of the people not count at all?

The President got 3 million votes more than Kerry did - out of 115 million votes cast. That's not insignificant - but it's about the same as the population of Oklahoma. But we get ignored by national politicians all the time.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Danger from the Heartland

Sometimes it's difficult to see the larger social trends that are swirling about. In this culture we have a saying that it's "hard to see the forest for the trees" - meaning that when we are too close to a phenomenon we can't get a good perspective on it. Yesterday's elections, especially in Oklahoma, clearly revealed the growing power of the evangelical Christian vote and the weakness of the youth vote.

In Oklahoma I am surrounded by evangelicals. I have them in my family, living next door, at the workplace, they are everywhere here. And they are voting. The churches have become a center of partisan (Republican) agitation. Every week there is a voting information table at my church and it is loaded with right-wing Christian propaganda. The pastor tells us to vote for Godly people and leaves little doubt as to who those people are. It's difficult to get through an entire day here without an evangelical trying to "save" me into his or her particular brand of Christianity.

Today I was talking with a friend who told me she voted for Bush because he "had a spiritual seed" and was "a born-again Christian". From previous discussions I knew she had no grasp of the issues but she never had a doubt about who she was voting for. She votes straight party Republican because, as she repeatedly says, it's the Godly party. I've learned from innumerable conversations with evangelicals that it is futile to try to have what I'd call a logical discussion on issues with them. To try is akin to speaking with someone who speaks an entirely different language. As they themselves say, they are not concerned with "the natural world" - the world the rest of us live in and think in terms of.

The deficit is ballooning, the war in Iraq is a mess, most of the world hates our guts and all this is trumped in the minds of evangelicals by the thought of a couple of dudes kissing.

Karl Rove was brilliantly conniving to enlist the aid of the evangelicals by bringing social issues into the political discourse. At first, the silk stocking Republicans (country club Republicans to some) balked at the strategy but Rove has proven that the evangelicals will fall for the bait on gay marriage and abortion and do, perhaps unwittingly, the ground work for the rich and ravenous who bankroll the cause (and reap the tax cuts). It's a nice combo for the Republicans. Disaster for America.

From here in the midst of the Bible belt, the evangelical hotbed of mid-America, I'm telling you the evangelicals are not only one of the greatest dangers to a liberal democracy in the United States but a threat to the world at large if they take control of this superpower. More on that later.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Voting is a Breeze in Oklahoma

When I went to vote this morning I had to wait longer than ever to vote - about a minute to get the ballot. I've never had to wait even a few seconds before. I'm outraged!

Oklahoma has the best voting system in the nation - a uniform statewide system of computerized paper ballots. The ballots are easy to understand. We have enough polling places so lines are never a problem. I wish I knew who to thank for this great system.

When I hear of people waiting in lines in Ohio for two hours to vote I wonder how voting can be so screwed up in other places. It's a no brainer folks - just look at Oklahoma. Of course, you'd never do that. The national media certainly never talks about our excellent system when they are doing reports on voting problems. Meanwhile, Oklahomans, are on to other business while the rest of the country stands in line.

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Lorton Touch

Last week I wondered in this blog why the Tulsa World, whose editorial board leans toward the moderate Democrat part of the political spectrum, has not endorsed a Democrat for president since Roosevelt days. In looking through the campaign contributions records at Fundrace I see that the World's publisher, Robert Lorton, has given the maximum of $2,000 to the Bush campaign. Seems that his spouse, Roxanna, director of the World Publishing Company, also gave $2,000 to the Bush campaign. Could it be that the Lortons overruled their editorial board?

Speaking of the Lortons, there was a full-page ad in the Sunday World that purported to score Oklahoma Legislators on their economic development voting records. The scoring and the ad were sponsored by something called the Research Institute for Economic Development based in Edmond, Oklahoma. Democrats didn't fair well in REID's scoring scheme. I'd never heard of the REID so I checked it out at . Wow! There's Bobby Lorton again - on the Board of Directors. I recognize a bevy of Republican CEOs on REID's board - Paula Marshall Chapman to Bob Funk of Express Personnel. In neither the ad nor their website does REID explain their scoring method or the criteria used to score the Legislators. I guess we lowly plebians are just expected to accept the REID Boards' executive wisdom. Why confuse us with facts?
Tulsa World Doesn't Make Pick in 1st District

The Tulsa World made endorsements in the presidential, US Senate, Corporation Commissioner, and dozens of state legislative races. The World even made endorsements in two Congressional races outside of Tulsa proper - but declined to make an endorsement in the Congressional contest in Tulsa itself. Neither Doug Dodd nor John Sullivan (incumbant) are listed in the World's endorsements.

Six out of fifteen World endorsements went to Republicans and nine went to Democrats.
Ground breaking poll at a critical time

This may come as a surprise to some, but the Oklahoma Poll found last week that Oklahomans think that gasoline is too costly. In related polls Oklahomans also let it be known that they think the weather changes too often and that people in other countries talk with an accent.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Clothespins for Carson

Thanks to OkieDoke I found Clothespins for Carson. This is another good Oklahoma blog worth reading.
I May Skip This One

Wow! The local TV is just full of anti-Carson attack ads tonight. There's a new one from the that features a cartoon Carson with a cartoon Sen. Kennedy and a cartoon Kerry pulling the strings of a puppet Carson. This group out of Washington DC is getting pretty nasty in their attacks on Carson. As the Tulsa World reports, over a $1million of their money has come from two fat cat energy company executives from Oklahoma City.

There have been some pretty nasty TV ads from Carson too - the worst were attacks on Coburn for allegedly sterilizing a young girl without her permission. The Carson ad was pretty despicable.

I received a mailer yesterday from Carson attacking Coburn for allegedly welcoming both illegal and legal immigration. Yes, illegal immigration is bad but legal immigration is not. To appeal to the anti-immigration prejudices of people is also despicable. After reading the mailer I went out and ripped the Carson sign out of my yard.

Even though I think the duo of Coburn and Inhofe would be a huge embarrassment for Oklahoma I must say Carson is trying my patience and I'm considering not voting in this race. Both Coburn and Carson and their out-of-state proxies have behaved very badly in their campaign tactics.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Where Caution Meets Nonsense

Since 911 many people have been saying that "everything changed" on that date. The candidates for president argue over whether terrorism is, or should become a nuisance or an all-consuming fear. I think that if we believe "everything has changed" then the terrorists have won. We should counter their terror but we should strive to maintain our quality of life by refusing to let the terrorists change our lives. Sometimes, we seem to go out of our way to make life a nuisance and blame it on 911.

The other day I was at the Tulsa Airport and needed to drop some mail off before I got on the plane. "No, we don't have a mailbox anywhere on the airport," the hospitality desk lady said. "Haven't had since 911." I found the old mailbox on a wall but the slit had been covered over with a closed sign. Now I can understand not having a mailbox large enough for boxes and bombs but it makes NO SENSE to not have a mailbox with a slit for envelopes. As far as I know, no bomb can fit in a #10 envelope. There are a million places at the airport where bombs could be placed so what's the deal with a small mailbox for the convenience of the public?

This may seem like a small inconvenience to the citizenry but when you add up all the nonsensical inconveniences that we have had put upon us it adds up to a loss of life quality. It's exactly what we should not allow to happen.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Christian Coalition Voter Guides

My friend tells me his pastor passed out Christian Coalition Voter Guides at church today. The ones I've seen in the past were a large tad partisan but this one by Betty Bowers has a new look altogether.
Instructions from On High

At church this morning the pastor reminded us to vote in the upcoming election. "We are fighting for the soul of this nation," he said. "We need Godly people in office. If you don't know who to vote for just find out who the homosexuals are for and vote for the other guy. Find out who or what the gamblers are for and vote the other way. Find out who the pro-abortionists are for and vote for his opponent."

Friday, October 22, 2004

Ann Coulter Nicked by Pie

Tonight I walked into a Waldenbooks and got spooked real bad. There were three books on the big promo display featuring Ann Coulter's visage. Three books by the liberal-bashing Internet columnist on the shelves at the same time? I half-expected to find an exercise video by Ms. Coulter. Not yet.

Ann was attacked yesterday in Arizona by two pie-wielding students with poor aim. She was merely nicked. Must have been girlie-men.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Castro Falls!!!

Decades of anti-communist embargos have finally paid off. Castro fell today, just two weeks before the US election. Condoleeza Rice interrupted one of her campaign appearances to point out that the President's uncompromising stand against Castro had paid off.
Swing Voters Lured by Sex

Votergasm has the answer to how to get sex-starved swing voters to the polls on November 2nd. Maybe this will make up some libidos.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Dancing Brad vs Christian Brad

The latest anti-Brad Carson Republican TV ad features a cartoon of a dancing Brad Carson and a silly claim that Brad wants to increase every Oklahoman's taxes by $7,000 You can view the ad at SoonerPolitics. This race is really getting low - because the stakes are high for the two major parties.

Today I received a Brad Carson brochure in the mail that makes three key points about Carson: 1) he is Christian, 2) a fiscal conservative and 3) an independent leader. Points 2 and 3 I can understand, but why does Brad want to tell us which church he goes to? Obviously, he has to try to neutralize Republican Tom Coburn's appeal to evangelical conservatives. The brochure features photos of Brad hunting, he and his wife holding a Bible in church, and walking next to an oil well. This is what you have to do to win an election in Oklahoma. Pretty sad.
Denise Bode Endorses Herself

OkieDoke reports that Bode has won her own endorsement. That's pretty bad if you have to assure voters you really are for yourself.

Monday, October 18, 2004

More on Koch

Maybe it's not just protecting America that Koch is so concerned about. In an article in the Jewish World Review Koch makes it pretty clear that he supports Bush because Bush supports Israel. Maybe this wouldn't be a problem if the interests of the U.S. and Israel were always congruent - but they aren't. When the interests diverge Mr Koch - which way do you go? In this article Koch has the arrogance to suggest the Democrat Party, not he, is headed in the wrong direction.

According to an article in WorldNet Daily:

Koch says he "cannot understand why Jews who care about Israel would vote Democrat this year." Are we saying that American citizens should vote for someone based on what that person will do for some other country? Are you saying, Koch, that our loyalty to our country and its democracy should maybe be 80/20 - or 60/40?

I don't care what you think Koch, I'm 100% American. When it comes to my vote, I don't owe alligence to any other country.
Ed Koch lost his marbles?

Ed Koch, former mayor of New York, is on the Daily Show telling me he doesn't agree with President Bush on any domestic issue - but is supporting Bush for re-election for the single reason he thinks the President is better at guarding us against terrorism. I had a pretty good opinion of Koch but if that's his reasoning ability these days I have to rethink that opinion. Ok, I rethought it. Koch has lost it.

If America really thought like Koch apparently does we'd be so obsessed with terrorism we could no longer think straight. We'd toss out our liberties, our principles, our freedom - which is exactly what terrorism's objectives are. We would no longer be the United States - at least not the United States I love.

There's more to life than mere survival.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

The Marriage Cure

Read Katherine Boo's story about Oklahoma's "marriage cure" program.
Contacting Sinclair Broadcasting

Two of the Sinclair Broadcasting Stations that have been ordered to air the anti-Kerry "documentary" Stolen Honor are in Oklahoma - in Oklahoma City. One is the WB affiliate and the other is the Foxxx TV affiliate. If you'd like to let them know what you think about the largest television chain in the US using our airwaves to present a partisan 90-minute commercial you can contact them at:

It would be just as egregious an abuse of the public airwaves if Sinclair aired Fahrenheit 911.
Class Action Coupons

The Center for Corporate Marketing (CCM) announced Friday that the Center is recommending that more of their corporate members solicit class action lawsuits against themselves. Speaking at the annual conference of CCM in Houston, Turpid Nordstrom said, "Jiffy Lube and Blockbuster have led the way in creating a new marketing tool and strategy for recovering business from agitated consumers. The savvy corporation can now gouge customers and still get them back with class action lawsuit coupons."

CCM spokesperson Smithfield Summers told conference attendees the key to success in the new strategy is "to shop around for a law firm willing to take a $3 or $4 million fee to settle for giving their class action clients nothing more than coupons which they must use at the corporation's stores. The stupid consumers are stuck with coupons which are useless to them unless they are willing to go crawling back to the store that ripped them off in the first place!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Who's Trying to Buy a Senator?

The Tulsa World has an editorial today attacking an Oklahoma-based corporation's executives' effort to buy an election for extremist Tom Coburn. Tom Ward and Aubrey McClendon each gave $500,000 to Club for Growth.Net to buy smear ads against Coburn's Democrat opponent, Brad Carson. Here's the public company in question. It may be legal, but it shouldn't be and they should be ashamed.

Hope they wasted their money. You can let the company know what you think here.
Biblical Beasts

Among all the political brochures in the mail today I received this standout:

This appeal to the fear of evil beasts is not uncommon - the preachers usually tie such demons to social trends they don't agree with. When I was a kid I remember going to something like this - my parents let our neighbors take me - and it did scare the hell out of me but it wasn't the demons that scared me - it was the crazy adults! All I remember was the preacher breaking "rock n roll" records on the stage and demanding all the kids in the audience repent. I did, out of a fear of attracting more attention, all the while cursing (in my mind) the looney adults that surrounded me. I'm sure I was counted among the "saved" by the organizers of that event those many years ago - and I was - I was saved from ever being naive enough to go to one of these again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Red Thinking / Blue Thinking

Cognitive scientist George Lakoff argues that the red state/blue state division of America reflects different world-views and moral philosophies. NPR talked with Lakoff about the ways liberals and conservatives see the world. Listen to the interview. But what about Purple Thinkers?
TV Stations Happy, Lesbians Run Rampant

The TV stations in Oklahoma are grateful for the advertising cash flowing in from out-of-state special interest groups trying to influence the Carson vs Coburn fight for US Senate. With the presidential campaigns completely ignoring Oklabushhoma it must come as a relief to the stations that the fight over control of the US Senate means money in their pockets. The Club for Growth, and its offshoot,, are pouring money into Oklahoma for anti-Carson ads. So is the National Republican Senatorial Committee. To a lesser extent, spent money earlier on in the campaign for anti-Coburn ads.

Both sides in the Senate fight have used negative advertising but the pro-Coburn side has excelled at the silly namecalling and ridiculous claims. The Club for Growth ad for example claims Carson is "a bigger spender than John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton combined." Do they really think we are so stupid as to believe that one?

The Club for Growth must be on pins and needles hoping Coburn stop sticking his foot in his mouth. A report in the Tulsa World quotes people in Southeast Oklahoma saying that Coburn told a crowd that SE Oklahoma had a rampant lesbian problem - so much so that girls weren't allowed to go to the school bathrooms at the same time. Sources such as IOL cover the lesbian remarks in detail. It's hard to believe Coburn would be so out of touch with reality but he's said some pretty outlandish things before. One thing I'm sure of is Oklahoma doesn't need a Zell Millerish nutcase in DC bringing ridicule upon our already mistreated state.

Monday, October 11, 2004


If I start sounding like Dennis Miller would you promise to slap me up side the head with a tire tool? Tonight I suffered through a few minutes of his show on CNBC while he praised VP Cheney for being macho (like Dennis I guess). Watching Miller reminds me how lucky we are to have Jon Stewart around.

I have to admit that I don't agree with the acerbic Miller on much of anything but if he delivered his comedy with the style of Stewart I might be able to watch. Miller has published a book called "the Rant Zone" which nicely encapsulates his style - ranting.

Miller makes no bones about his political objectives for his show. About President Bush he says, "I like him, I'm going to give him a pass. I take care of my friends." Miller can talk to his friends all he wants - I'll be watching the Daily Show on Comedy Central.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

A Letter the Tulsa World Wouldn't Print

J. Williams of Tulsa couldn't get the Tulsa World to publish his letter to the editor so at his request, I'm pleased to print it here so his voice can be heard. It's based on an interesting premise, what if...:

Dear Editor,

What if the US and Britain had not invaded Iraq and toppled Saddam Hussein? If that war had not happened where would we be today?

First, Saddam Hussein would probably (though not assuredly) still be in power and still be a cruel dictator to his people. He would still be a local menace. There would still be no weapons of mass destruction to be found or used – especially if the inspectors were still there. Most importantly, the over 1,000 American soldiers who have given their lives in service to their country – would still be with us. Our country would still have the $200-400 billion dollars we have spent on the war and its aftermath in Iraq. We could have put that money in our pockets or spent it on our own infrastructure. Our economy would be stronger and our deficits less critical.

On the terrorism front we would undoubtedly have spent the last two years focused on rooting out the terrorists that actually attacked us and may well have found the real target, Osama bin Ladin. We would have focused on Afghanistan and Pakistan where the real problem is and might even have had time to deal with North Korea’s nuclear threat and the nascent nuclear threat of Iran. Iraq would not be the real hotbed of terrorist activity it has become.

Our standing in the world would not be at the all time low that it is now. Our businesses and products would be more welcome around the world. Our nation would still be unified in its war on terrorism and we would not have spent so much time and energy with the Iraq distraction.

This would be a different world altogether if this Administration had not been hell-bent on taking us into the quagmire and distraction of Iraq. The price we and others have paid were not even close to being worth the benefits. Yet our President feels everything is just fine. What better reason do we need to remove him from office?

J. Williams

The Predictable Tulsa World

Today's Tulsa World carried an endorsement for George W. Bush for president. The endorsement would carry some weight were it not for its predictability. Those with a long memory know that the World hasn't endorsed a Democrat for president since Franklin Roosevelt ran for re-election in 1936.

Why would a newspaper that is often regarded by conservatives as a "Democrat newspaper" have such a predictable record of going for the likes of Nixon, Dole, and Goldwater? How could it be that a "balanced" newspaper has not found at least one Democrat in almost 70 years to be most suitable to lead the country?

I wish someone at the World would explain what's behind this partisan presidential predictability to me. Since 1936?

Saturday, October 09, 2004


We were eating pizza at the Incredible Pizza place tonight when in my peripheral vision I noticed two enormous pallid butt cheeks staring at me from a chair at the next table. Upon closer inspection (I couldn't help it) I saw that they belonged to an overweight man in a Hawaiian shirt. A huge gap between the back of his shirt and his trousers framed the hairest butt I've ever seen. A whorl of black hairs poked from the anterior crack - obscuring the elastic of his underwear.

This should be a criminal offense at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. I didn't get my money's worth tonight.
Looking Forward to Visiting DC?

Last week the US House of Representatives - led by its Republican leadership - voted to erase the 28-year handgun ban in Washington DC. Why would the House do such a thing in such a high-crime area? The citizens and city government overwhelmingly opposed the lifting of the ban.

Primarily - this is as good an illustration of how ideologically bound the House leadership - under Tom DeLay - has become. It is more important to the pro-gun interests to beat back gun restrictions than to seek pragmatic solutions to real problems. It doesn't matter to them that polls indicate the citizens of DC overwhelmingly oppose lifting the ban. Damn the citizens! We have a point to make!

This is also a clear illustration of how money politics works. The NRA and the gun industry have purchased most Congresspeople with campaign contributions and fear.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Cheney selects himself to succeed himself

During tonights VP candidates debate VP Dick Cheney considered Senator Edwards' application for the VP slot and after a condescending lecture, rejected Edwards. The VP then proceeded to select himself for the slot Edwards is applying for.

This is reminiscent of four years ago when Cheney was asked to head up Bush' VP selection committee and after careful consideration selected himself. At the time Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating was under consideration for the VP slot and went so far as to have a corporation invite Keating and Cheney on a fishing trip to Alaska to help Cheney get to know him better. Cheney dropped out of the trip just before anointing himself.

Now Keating is running an insurance industry lobby group in Washington DC and making a million a year.
Spin on the VP candidate Debate

Just minutes after the debate ended, the Communications director for the Bush-Cheney campaign tells an MSNBC reporter that Edwards supporters are walking around "dazed and in shock" apparently from the onslaught from VP Cheney.

Sen. Patrick Leahy adds some background to VP Cheney's accusation that Sen. Edwards must not be working hard because Cheney has never seen him at the Senate. Leahy points out that Cheney, unlike prior VPs, meets only with Republicans when he visits the Senate. Democrats like Edwards are cut out.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Istook Going to China

Congressman Istook will lead an Oklahoma delegation to China in November. The delegetion is said to be businesses which have been invited by the Oklahoma State Chamber. While the press release from Istook's office seems to say that Istook asked the State Chamber to organize his trip, sources in the State Chamber say that the trip was the idea of State Chamber President Richard Rush who asked Istook to lead their delegation. The State Chamber arranged for China's Ambassador to the US to officially invite Istook. A caller to the State Chamber last week was told that only invited businesses were allowed to participate.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Life in Non-hub America

Living in non-hub America can be a pain in the neck - at least when one wants to fly to another non-hub destination. Recently, I wanted to travel from Tulsa to Springfield, Illinois - about 100 miles NE of St. Louis. When I checked Travelocity and other Internet travel sites I discovered the least expensive flights for this 500-mile trip were $780 roundtrip. And to get to Springfield I would have to go via airports in Minnesota, Texas or Tennessee! I checked to see what it would cost to fly just to St. Louis. It cost $720. Then I checked to see what a ticket from St. Louis to Springfield would cost. $740! - to travel 100 miles!

I checked with Greyhound bus and it was about $200 RT - but it meant catching the bus in the middle of the night. I ended up renting a car for a weekend rate of $50 and driving from my inlaws home in Tulsa to Springfield and back. Took more time but saved me about $700. I just wasn't going to pay almost $800 to go to Illinois when I can get flights to London and back for the same amount.

Northeast Oklahomans used to be able to fly direct to St Louis on TWA until American Airlines gobbled up TWA and downsized St Louis operations. There are currently no direct flights from Tulsa to St Louis thanks to the airlines. American says they plan on adding back a daily flight between Tulsa and St. Louis on Trans States Airlines subcarrier in January. I fear this will be one of those cramped propeller jobs.

In the last 20 years the airlines have done more to kill the economic development potential of cities like Tulsa and Oklahoma City than have even our legislators. By going to the hub system and reducing competition through consolidation they have made air travel more difficult for those of us in non-hub America. When corporate executives have to fly in to Oklahoma on incredibly uncomfortable propeller jets it becomes very difficult to persuade them to relocate their business here.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Sucking Up

Sucking up works. As a report tonight on ABC's 20/20 revealed, studies have confirmed what we all thought - that bosses love suckups.

I've witnessed the extreme suckup's success in a number of organizations I've been in. Two of the best examples are recent. In one case a 50-year-old employee, a high-ranking officer in the Army Reserve, starting sucking up to our new boss the minute she stormed onto the scene. At group meetings he would periodically grab her coffee cup and leave to get her some fresh coffee. At first I thought he was just chivalrous but when he repeatedly ignored the other women in the meetings it became embarrassingly obvious he had his lips attached firmly to the the boss' butt. I say embarrassingly but the suck up showed no embarrassment of his own. We were embarrassed for him. Yes, and it was the suck up that was promoted.

In the other case I was on a project with a young lady that showed me suck up techniques I could only admire but did not want to emulate. She put extra effort into finding out where the boss would be and when and making certain she was there when he was and gone when he wasn't. When she talked to him she praised his wisdom and lamented that he had to depend on so many fools. When the three of us were together she would make it a point to ask me about tasks she knew I had not completed yet. When she and the boss were talking in her office next to mine I could hear her trying to convince the boss that my ideas were wrong. When I would confront her she would deny it. I couldn't bring myself to engage in these tactics and I soon found myself on the outside while she was invited into the executive meetings with our boss.

So yes, sucking up works. So why can't I bring myself to do it?

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Mystery Trip Goes Sour for Governor

A few months ago Governor Brad Henry led a delegation to China to promote business between Oklahoma and China. The trip was a closely held secret until the final few days before the group left for China. Not that the press didn't try to get the facts - they found out about the trip weeks in advance but the Governor's office refused to talk. Sources in the Governor's office say the Governor didn't want the press to have time to make an issue out of the trip.

Since the delegation of educators, government reps and a few businesspeople returned from the trip to China there has been a steady flow of grumbling regarding the Governor's behavior in China. Several participants have been outspoken in expressing their disappointment that the Governor ignored his fellow Oklahomans throughout their time in China. "The Governor stayed holed up in his suite with his staff the whole time" said one source. "The Governor wasted a good opportunity to befriend a group of Oklahomans and instead earned a big fat zero in our book."

Other delegation members faulted the Gov for behaving like a prima dona and canceling long-scheduled events at the last minute - like an appearance at a sister state event - and upsetting the Chinese hosts.

Sounds like the Governor made enemies from one end of the Earth to the other.
Solid Republican Goes Wobbly

I have a friend that always votes a straight Republican ticket. She doesn't have a highschool diploma. She's a good person but understands very little about how the wider world functions. She's the type of person that quotes political ads when asked why she supports a candidate. I asked her tonight what she thought of the Presidential debate. To my surprise she said she thought Kerry won the debate. She's not ready to vote for Kerry but if a person that's never voted for a Democrat is toying with the idea I'd say Kerry did do well tonight.
Debate Transcript

Transcripts of tonights debate can be found here.
Let the spinning begin!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Security Mom?

Where did this "security mom" topic come from? Are women supposed to care more about security than men? Is this just a new media term dreamed up to give the media something to talk about between hurricanes?
Trouble Staying in Compliance

It's hard to stay out of trouble. In Norman recently I was parked near the campus to do some shopping. I put plenty of coins in the meter but when I returned to my car I found a $50 ticket on the windshield! I still had plenty of time left on the meter so what could this be about? Turns out my license plate was a few days expired and Normans' crack(ed) police had spotted it.

Since Oklahoma's Bureau of Keeping License Plates Up-to-date does not send out reminders or invoices anymore it's up to the driver to periodically look at ones' license plate or remember to go to the tag office to renew the license. This may be easy for some people but not for me. If I have more than two things to remember I can be certain of forgetting at least one of them. The sheer number of things one must do these days to "stay in compliance" is overwhelming. If you also have to go about earning a living this compliance thing is quite a distraction.

We forgetful citizens can depend however, on money-hungry jurisdictions like Norman, Oklahoma to find the wood in our eye and take a cut. The county I live in forgives such a fine if one gets the renewal within a week but not the City of Norman. When I called to inquire one of Norman's crack "administrative technicians" gave no ground and added a touch of cold disdain for good measure. I could hear her thinking "we don't need your kind in our city".

Next time, I'll go shopping in Stillwater.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Missing the Judds

When I leave the house I try to at least dress up in a t-shirt, shorts, socks and shoes but, unless I have a meeting, I don't go beyond that minimal effort to look presentable. I must have looked pretty destitute a few months ago on a day when I decided to eat at the Route 66 Cafe in Tulsa.

As I was entering the cafe a scrawny fellow in blue jeans and what we call a "cowboy shirt" turned to me with a huge grin and an unusual greeting - "how ya doin'? Did you see the Judds last night?" For a moment, I thought he had said "juggs" but a synaptic spark ignited and reminded me the Judds were some sort of country and western singing group. "Uh, no" I said, "I missed them." Still enthusiastic, the cowboy must have felt my pain and tried to console me. "Well, the tickets were $15 and I guess you couldn't afford it - it was kind of expensive," he nodded in sympathy as he went through the door.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Brad Carson, a liberal?

I've missed out on a lot of the political ads from the US Senate race in Oklahoma. I just don't watch that much local television programming - I especially avoid the vacuous local news so I miss the ads. But I did catch one from Tom Coburn this evening as I was flipping through channels - and it was very illuminating. Did you know that Brad Carson is a liberal? That's what Coburn says in his ad and if this rock of morality says so it must be true! Yeah right.

If Brad Carson is a liberal then Coburn must be just a tad left of center. Carson, a man in love with the NRA, is so conservative that this moderate will have to hold his nose to vote for him. Before this election started OkiePundit was of the opinion that Coburn was an unusually honest politician but too far to the extreme right and too interested in legislating morality - his idea of morality. Now I just think he's an extremist willing to lie to us to get elected.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

He's for (wink wink) "Traditional Values"

It's still six weeks before the election but those automated phone calls about candidates have already started. I had one on my answering machine today. It was, as usual, from an anonymous voice and source but in support of a local candidate for state representative. The caller stressed the pro-traditional policies of the candidate and his support of "traditional marriage" (ie. anti-gay marriage). The word "traditional" was used several times - in a blatant attempt to appeal to the intolerance streak in voters. Until I heard this appeal I was leaning toward voting for the candidate but its my policy not to vote for people who appeal to the baser instincts in people to win elections.

In Oklahoma, gay marriage hasn't the chance of a snowball in hell - but it will someday. As the Pew surveys show, this type of intolerance is losing ground fast - especially among young people and educated people of all ages. The day will come, none too soon, when using codewords such as "traditional marriage" to appeal to prejudice will lose elections. In the meantime I'll just have to be content to be at the cutting edge tolerance in Oklahoma.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

A Day's Mail

Judging by the links I receive I'm aware that many of my readers are from other countries. Many of you have emailed to ask me to talk more about what life is like in the middle of the USA. With this in mind I thought I'd let you know what mail I received in my mailbox today:

  • an appeal for money from the American Cancer Society
  • an appeal for money from the John 3:16 Mission
  • an appeal for money from Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the US House of Representatives (the appeal was disguised as a "policy survey"
  • an appeal for money from the Republican National Committee
  • an appeal for money from the Democratic National Committee
  • an appeal for money from James Carville on behalf of the Democratic National Committee
  • a sales appeal (disguised as an invoice) from Internet Corporation Listing Service
  • a sales appeal from AARP for their long-term care insurance
  • a sales appeal from American Airlines Citi credit card

No letters from friends. Not even any news. Just people wanting my money. That's what's in a typical mailbox in Oklahoma USA.

Monday, September 20, 2004

"You can't get right of the guy."

That's what Kirk Humphries, the conservative former mayor of Oklahoma City said about Tom Coburn, the man who defeated Humphries in the Republican primary for the US Senate race in Oklahoma. Here's what publicity Tom Coburn is reaping for our great state from the New York Times.

That's all we need. The extreme of the right-wing extreme to represent us and lend credibility to the unwanted opinion that Oklahoma is a political throw-back to the good ol' 14th century.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

The Lord is Keeping Tabs on your Check book

Our preacher spent the entire sermon today trying to get us to believe that tithing has a direct impact on our salvation AND earthly rewards. Example after example was given of people who religiously tithed and were rewarded with promotions, windfalls, and health. He said we couldn't take it with us when we died, but we could send it on ahead (by tithing). The message being that those who tithed could buy their way into Heaven. "Have you ever seen a U-Haul behind a hearse?" he asked us.

As a finale leading up to the passing of the collection buckets he trotted up on stage a lady that told us she had glaucoma and had been unable to afford an operation - until she gave $20 to the church's fund for a new building and kapow! - she got a call from the gov'ment offering to pay for her operation AND pay for her to go to college anywhere she wanted for two years. Must be part of President Bush's faith-based initiative. As the congregation went wild I wondered to myself who it is that is paying for her operation and college education? Guess I'm tithing and didn't know it! Does this count?
US Automakers Choose Not to be the Best

I was talking with an out-of-state CEO of an auto parts manufacturer last week and he confirmed what I had suspected. This man's company supplies both American and Japanese auto manufacturers and he said that his Japanese buyers think first of quality and then price. The American car manufacturers, on the other hand, think first of price and then of quality. This comes from a man who knows both sides.

One thing about Americans is that we have a firm belief that that we can do a better job than anyone in the world. We have a lot of empirical evidence to back up this belief - and that deep-rooted belief in ourselves makes the excellence possible. Therefore it is all the more disturbing that we, as exemplified by our auto manufacturers, often choose not to be the best at whatever we do.
More Aggressive Scams

I've noticed, in the last six months, a significant increase in the number of email-driven scams I'm receiving in my inbox. There's been a huge increase in the type of scam that purports to be a bank or other financial institution wanting me to "update my account information" by clicking on a link and filling out a form that asks for all the vital data someone would need to steal my identity. I just got one of these from "Citizen's Bank" wanting me to do just this. Got the same thing the other day from "Pay Pal" wanting me to update my account data. Only trouble is, I have no accounts with Citizen's Bank or Pay Pal. This is usually a clue that the appeal is a scam.

Another good clue to the lack of authenticity is the poor English and grammar of most of these emails. They are obviously written by the illiterate or by people whose native language is not English.

Why can't the feds or Interpol track down these scam artists? Can't they follow the money trail?

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Executive Talk

I was in a private meeting this week where some of Oklahoma's top CEOs told us about their problems. They whined mostly about the high expense of workers' comp insurance, medical insurance for their employees and the poor state of Oklahoma's highways and bridges. One CEO pointed out that he operates factories in several states and the workers comp costs him more in Oklahoma than in any other state except California. "You can't fight it", said another guy in a Brooks Brothers suit, an owner of a beverage factory. "The deck is stacked against you by the state and there's no way to fight back."

"I tell you what the real problem is," said a graying agricbusiness exec, "it's the tax-free competition from the Indian tribes. They have gone way beyond the smoke shops and the gas stations and are setting up hotels, golf courses, and buying up the best urban restaurants and operating tax free! You should take a look at their financial statements - they're getting fat by taking business away from those who have to pay taxes." There was general consensus around the table. A lady executive in the oil business pointed out that the Indian tribes were big contributors to Brad Henry's campaign and he is now wanting to renegotiate the compacts that former Governor Keating had done. "Henry's going to make this a lot worse. He owes the trial lawyers and the Indians."

I overheard this story at a Denny's today:

"When I go, I want to go like my granddad did - peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming and pissing like the passengers in his car."

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Internet Corporation Listing Service

In the mail I received what looks exactly like a bill with an AT&T-like logo and it comes from something called the "Internet Corporation Listing Service" in San Jose, California. The "bill" is for $35 for "annual website search engine listing". What is this? I thought. I don't remember signing up for this!

A thorough reading led me to the following verbiage amid all the other verbiage, "THIS IS NOT A BILL. THIS IS A SOLICITATION. YOU ARE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PAY THE AMOUNT STATED ABOVE UNLESS YOU ACCEPT THIS OFFER". So, why make it look exactly like a bill then? Could it possibly be that the Internet Corporation Listing Service has done some research and found that 2-10% of recipients just pay what they think is a bill? I don't know what the real percentages are but you can bet this company wouldn't be doing this if it didn't work. I can imagine that some clerks in businesses get this bill-like paper, think "must be some advert the guys in marketing did" and just pay it without reading the whole thing. Then some people are just so stupid or paranoid they pay - hoping to stay out of trouble.

The Search Engine Marketers are not too happy about ICLS either.

I've noticed this type of misleading direct mail a lot lately. Disguising your advertising as a bill - hoping to fool some people - is dirty. May you, Internet Corporation Listing Service, receive your karma.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Barbedwire Ankles

Oklahoma's ban on tattoo shops has worked about as well as Prohibition did in the 30s. Never underestimate the ingenuity of fools to find a way to hurt themselves. Ok, ok, tattoos don't kill (often) but they sure are ugly - especially on the leg or ankle of an otherwise beautiful woman. This is especially true as the tattoo (and the leg) ages, stretches and discolors. I'm not sure if the fad has passed yet or not but I sure notice a lot of 20-30ish women in Oklahoma with barbedwire tattoos encircling their ankles. This is ugly enough but when you see it under nylon stockings in the workplace you can't help but gag a little.

Don't get me wrong. People ought to have the right to get tattoos, pierce themselves with metal or bone, cut off body parts, or whatever they care to do to their own bodies. It's ludicrous for Oklahoma to try to control the expression of free will. I still think getting a tattoo is a permanent indication of flawed cognition.

Swift Vets and a Swift Kick

Aren't you sick of these people? Fortunately, living in a state no national politician cares about, Oklahomans haven't had to suffer through a lot of their ads attacking Kerry for serving in Vietnam. But we still see a few on cable news networks and I get sick every time. The one I saw tonight attacking Kerry for throwing away some of his ribbons or whatever in a protest over the war was really disturbing. The gist of the ad was "how can you trust a guy who threw away symbols of his country?" As if medals or ribbons were as sacred as the US flag and that demonstrating one's revulsion over the war was unpatriotic!

If you go to the Swift Vets website to find a way to contact them and tell them what nattering nabobs they are you'll find it quite impossible - they don't place any contact info on their site. That is, unless you sign up to receive their broadcast emails - after which their contact info suddenly appears. When I signed my dog up to get their emails I was rewarded with the email address to contact them. It is: So now you can tell ol' Latch you'd like to give them all a swift kick.

Just who are these people anyway? Turns out a bunch of them are old dirty tricks professionals and Republican Party operatives rather than actual swift boat veterans. The Disinfopedia has the straight poop on these folks.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

J.C. Watts, Syntroleum and Nigeria

The Tulsa World reports that Tulsa-based Syntroleum Corp has agreed to develop oil and gas off the Nigerian coast. OkiePundit reported over a year ago that Syntroleum had a close working relationship with J.C. Watts while he was a Congressman and that the Congressman helped Syntroleum open doors in corruption-rich Nigeria. It should come as no surprise that after leaving Congress a couple of years ago Syntroleum showed up on J.C.'s list of clients for his new firm. I'd like to see the Tulsa World ask Syntroleum or Watts how much he's made off this deal.
From Tulsa to Russia

Well school starts for Tulsa Public Schools this week and my daughter heads back to finish out her last year in elementary school. There's a lot of excitement that first day as the kids see each other for the first time in months and head off to meet their new teachers and learn what fate has dealt them in seating assignments. Whether she has to sit behind Simon the bully or Matilda the Cruel are her greatest concerns at this point in her life. Thankfully, in Oklahoma school life is relatively safe. We have the rare shooting or knifing but here, even tornadoes are more of a concern. Not to mention the aggressive SUV and truck-driving idiots that threaten on the route to school.

But none of this is anything compared to the horror that many children in the world face everyday. The worst horror comes in the form of adults so sick with hatred that they will purposely set out to kill other people's children to achieve some goal of theirs. The Russian-Chechen conflict is a little understood matter here. Most Americans, and certainly Oklahomans, couldn't point out Chechnya on a map. Many, sadly, couldn't even point out Russia. Nevertheless, the horribly cruel murder of hundreds of children and adults in the school in the North Ossetia region of Russia this past week had many people here shaking their heads in disbelief. It is beyond belief indeed and while we don't understand the larger situation we do know that ones that lower themselves to such brutality against innocent children is sick beyond all comprehension. There can be no justification whatsoever for killing children.

The extent of most American's knowledge of the murders is that they were carried out by Muslims - Russia says by Al-Qaida funded Muslims. Here again, Americans are thinking "what is it with the Muslims?" "Why is it always the Muslims that are blowing up buses, schools, and markets crowded with civilians?" As a CNN story this evening pointed out, this kind of situation is doing great damage to the reputation of Muslims in general. I hope reasonable Muslims will speak out against these atrocities carried out by their brothers and sisters and help put a stop to the bloodshed.

When I take my daughter to school this week I'll be happy for her - that all she needs to worry about is her seat assignment. At the same time I'll be thinking of all those Russian parents who had their little sons and daughters needlessly taken away from them by evil. I can imagine, for a brief moment, their pain.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Arnold vs History

How could Arnold have seen Soviet tanks in the British occupied part of Austria? Well, he couldn't.
Covering the Hurricane

I'm very sorry about the suffering of people in Florida as Frances hits them. I can't help but note that there was virtually no "action news" coverage when it hit the Bahamas. Do Bahamians suffer too?

Watching the news people standing out in 70 mph winds with rain and debris slapping them around is, well, kind of entertaining if you can forget about the destruction. They always seem to show up in poorly designed rain gear that flaps and blows as they stagger around with their cheeks flapping when they try to talk. Look, if you are going to do the hurricane coverage thing on national TV why not put on a wet suit that will make you look cool. At least the hood won't balloon out and make you look like a drunk Martian.
Who is Zell Miller?

Fred Kaplan has the best point-by-point review of Zell Miller's speech at the Republican Conention. See it at Slate.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

JC Watts and Zell Miller

JC was on MSNBC's After Hours news show tonight. I had to change channels several times so I wouldn't choke on his platitudes. JC is among the best at talking at length without saying anything. Why do the news programs have this guy on?

Now retiring Senator Zell Miller of Georgia says something when he talks! He may be an 18th century lunatic but there's no mistaking what he is trying to communicate. When he wants to challenge a news pundit to a duel he says he wants to duel. If JC Watts ever got passionate I can imagine he might challenge Chris Matthews to " Agree on the facts bearing on the problem and close the issue at hand".

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Reality Video

I was at the back of the Hollywood Video store this evening when I became aware that the violent video being played loudly throughout the store was sounding increasingly realistic. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a commotion. Two men at the front of the store were kicking the poo out of each other. A teenage girl was screaming. The Hollywood Video staff was watching in disbelief. Blood was flying. Were there knives? I ran to the front to see if my daughter was OK - she was smart - she ran to the back. The fight went outside and one of the guys got in his car and sped away. Within minutes a fire truck and three police cars were at the store bandaging the other guy. I rented Kungfu Soccer.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Money Politics and Special Interests

I received a form letter from Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi today. She began with:

Dear Friend, Do you really want to be told the truth?

The six-page letter asked for contributions for the Democratic Party. The letter also attacked the Bush Administration for, among other things, "George W. Bush and the right-wing Republican controlled Congress are advancing a radical agenda backed by ... special interests."

Moments after reading and tossing Pelosi's letter I watched the always excellent "Now with Bill Moyers" on PBS which featured an investigation of the parties sponsored by special interests - primarilly corporate interests, at the Democratic National Convention last month. One of those parties was for Nancy Pelosi who refused to explain why she let Time Warner throw a party and fireworks display for her that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Journalists crashed the party and tried to film Pelosi hobnobbing with Time Warner's chairman but her aides interposed themselves between the camera and Pelosi in a vain attempt to prevent her being seen. What a hypocrite. But that's the political system being dominated by money corruption. Both major parties play the game. The only difference is that most Democrats give lip service to solving the money politics and most Republicans make no apology about it.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

What is Right vs What is Correct

I recently heard someone (the name escapes me) explain the difference between being right and being correct. Ralph Nader is right to run for president but not correct. The person that may win because of Nader's participation is the "greater of two evils" according to the pundit I was listening to.

This is similar to the conundrum I often find myself in when it comes to deciding who to vote for. As an independent living in Oklahoma I rarely if ever find a candidate I can even agree with on 70% of the issues. Even the "moderates" in Oklahoma are pretty far right as the nation goes. Take Brad Carson for instance. The latest mailer I received from his campaign touts his support of "gun rights" and his support of an amendment to the Constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman (thus, for the first time putting a limitation on rights in our Constitution). If Brad Carson is the "liberal" in the race where does that put his opponent, Tom Coburn? Pretty much at the extreme fringe of the extreme right. So do I vote for one of these guys?

I learned my lesson in the last presidential election when I declined to vote in that race because I didn't feel comfortable with either major candidate. Declining to vote for someone you don't agree with on some issues may be the RIGHT thing to do but I now see it is not the CORRECT thing to do. Given the current political system, choosing the lesser of two "evils" is the correct choice.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Fred Harris Spotting

Fred Harris, former US Senator from Oklahoma and two-time candidate for president, was spotted by Brian Curtis of Slate at the Democratic National Convention in the New Mexico delegation.
Don't Sign up for Netzero! (or AOL)

I had this Internet provider for about a year and canceled my account several months ago when I went broadband. The monthly charge for Netzero disappeared from my credit card bill for three months and then suddenly reappeared on it last month. It had been a hassle cancelling it the first time because Netzero requires you to call and wait a long time to talk to a human in order to cancel your account. You can easily sign up online but they make canceling as difficult as possible. AOL did the same thing to me last year.

When I called back tonight to re-cancel I got a lady with a heavy Indian accent that I could barely understand. She denied that I had canceled my account and had, in fact, only asked for a two-month suspension of my account. When I insisted I had canceled my account she transferred me to cancelations. I waited 20 minutes on the phone until a polite fellow canceled my account again and said my credit card would be credited - in a couple of months. I'll believe that when I see it.

Is Netzero using this disappear and reappear tactic knowing many credit card owners don't check their bills every month? Are they counting on the difficulty of calling and waiting on the phone for long periods of time to discourage customers from getting around to the hassle of canceling - again?

When will these corporations like Netzero and AOL start treating customers with the courtesy to make cancellation of services as easy as signing up? For this reason I avoid automatic deductions from my credit card accounts if at all possible.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Boren and Free Sling Mud Like Crazy

While the Republican candidates for the US Senate race in Oklahoma pound each other over the head with negative ads (except Coburn) the Democrat candidates for the Congressional seat from Eastern Oklahoma are slinging mud like crazy also. Dan Boren and Kalyn Free have engaged in a bitterly negative back and forth battle of ads that leave the citizens confused about who is for what and who's lying the most.

I don't vote for anyone that's cozy with the NRA so when I heard that Boren was endorsed by the NRA I thought Free had a point. But then Free comes out with an ad that touts her membership in the NRA. Okay, no points here. Then I hear that Boren voted with the lowlife cockfighters in votes in the Oklahoma Legislature this year. Okay, can't vote for any twit that's cozy with chicken fighters. Then I see a Free ad that accuses Boren of being in favor of moving jobs to Mexico. I'm not voting for any candidate that is anti-free trade and uses outsourcing as a red herring to pander to people that don't understand economics. Best thing to do in this race is just skip over it on the ballot. Neither one of them deserves a vote.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Election for US Senate Heats Up

The Oklahoma State Chamber is focusing on getting pro-business candidates elected this year and employers are funding the effort under the rubric of the "Prosperity Project".    To see what they are up to take a look at their website.   One of the leaders of the effort is Paula Marshall Chapman, CEO of Bama Pie in Tulsa.  I drove by her mansion the other day and noticed she had Kirk Humphreys signs in her yard.   I see a lot of Humphreys signs on the public rights of way and on highways but Tom Coburn signs predominate in private yards in my neighborhood.   Haven't seen any Bob Anthony signs in yards yet.

I did catch part of the TV debate between the Republican candidates for US Senate and was most impressed by the candidate I had never heard of before - Jay Richard Hunt.  Kirk had the best tan.  Anthony had trouble speaking.  Kirk, Tom and Bob all tried to outdo each other in pandering to the religious right by bashing gays.  If you missed it KFOR-TV's Kelly Ogle had this "incisive" analysis of the debate.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Schmidley's Texas Tech Buddies Get OSU in Hot Water

OSU President Schmidley brought gaggles of his Texas Tech employees to OSU when he moved to Stillwater to take over. Many OSU workers were displaced by the invaders. Some of those buddies have proven to be troublesome and Schmidley is trying to distance himself.
Anthony Sued by Daily Oklahoman

The Associated Press reports that the Oklahoma Publishing Company (Daily Oklahoman) sued Bob Anthony and his campaign, seeking the removal of some of Anthony's ads. A hearing was to begin Friday in the matter. The Oklahoma Publishing Company called the ads misleading and said Anthony used their copyrighted material without their permission.

What is this really about? It's about the Gaylords, owners of the Daily Oklahoman, not being happy about Anthony running against their man, Kirk Humphries. Lots of candidates use quotes from newspapers in their campaign ads and you can bet that if Humphries did the same, the Oklahoman wouldn't sue him. After all, they own him.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Learning to Park

This is a seldom-needed skill needed in Oklahoma unless you are one of the few that work in a metro downtown. But if you are planning a trip to NYC you may want to try this.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

When You're Sick of Political Ads

on TV and you get ground down by the details take a moment to look at this and this to gain some perspective.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Oklahoma Election Law on Independents

Chris of Flyover Country points out the source of the law that the Election Board used to toss out Tom Cole's only opposition.
Politics Comes to Church

I visited the Victory Christian Church in Tulsa today for their Fourth of July "One Nation Under God" celebration. Victory is a fundamentalist Christian mega-church that is closely associated with Oral Roberts University and is led by Pastor Billy Joe Daugherty and his wife, Pastor Sharon. Today's church extravaganza included parades of flags, veterans, multimedia presentations, patriotic songs and a beautiful, multiracial children's choir. The first 20 minutes of the patriotic celebration was moving - a bit over the top - but moving and appropriate. Then it got ugly.

At the midpoint in the 90-minute festivity the program turned into a twisted remake of American history and an outrageously partisan political monologue by the pastor. There was a series of vignettes of moments in American history that "proved" that the United States was a Christian nation. The point was repeatedly made that our Constitution protects "the church" from interference from the Government but DOES NOT protect the Government from religion, or God (as defined by them). De-frocked One of the most blatant misrepresentations on history was a point made a couple of times - that the "discoverers of America" were Christians who "founded America for Jesus". You'd think, that right here in the state with the largest Native American population, that we'd remember who was here first. The answer by the way is not "Christian missionaries".

Judge Roy Moore of Alabama
was held up as a shining example. The event was capped of with instructions from the pastor regarding upcoming votes on traditional marriage, abortion, the pledge of allegiance, and the presidential election this November. Without saying the exact words "vote for Republicans, vote for George W. Bush" the pastor nonetheless made it very clear that we should do so. It was the most disgusting show of partisanship and twisted history making I've ever seen in a church. I would feel the same way even if I agreed with all of the pastor's beliefs on these matters.

What all of this reminds me of however, is how unbelievably lucky we are to be Americans. To be citizens of a country founded by geniuses who, while predominantly of the Christian faith, realized the importance of religious tolerance and designed a country where religious freedom FOR ALL could be realized. They did not try to force their particular faith down anyone's throat. Granted, we get off track sometimes, but those genius founding fathers made it difficult for us to screw it up too bad. God Bless them.

Friday, June 25, 2004

The Swooshing Heard Round the World

Who'd a thunk that a little masturbating under the desk would get worldwide attention? As the UK's Reuters wire service reports (notice the headline):

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma state judge frequently masturbated and used a device for enhancing erections while his court was in session, charges a petition by the state's attorney general seeking his removal ... Several witnesses, including jurors in Thompson's court and police officers called to testify in trials, said in the petition they heard the "swooshing" sound of a penis pump during trials and saw the judge slumped in his chair, with his elbows on his knees, working the device.

What is a penis pump anyway? Is having a judge masturbate during your trial grounds for a mistrial?
Grumpy Old Men (and Women)

I ran into a grumpy old man in overalls today that cussed me out. I had been driving to a hardware store to pick up some lumber and got behind this guy in a faded blue van with a "I Pledge Allegiance" bumper sticker on his bumper. He was apparently confused because he was driving about 5 mph and coming to intermittent stops in the middle of the street. I was close to giving him a toot when he decided to pull in at the same store I was headed to. As soon as he got out of his van he started calling me a "stupid idiot" and worse = apparently unhappy that I had been following him too closely. I listened for a few seconds before telling him he needed some manners and went on into the store, purchased what I wanted and as I left he again spewed forth an invective that was choked with a deep anger. This guy was probably in his 70s, so I couldn't give him what he deserved - but the degree of pure, hostile aggression in this old fellow was something I've seen, or noticed, a lot lately.

Just last week I was working out on the treadmill at the gym when a very old man using a walker hobbled up to the front of the exercise room and in front of about a dozen people watching two wall-mounted TVs, changed both TVs to Fox News, looked at us like he was daring us to do something about it, and then hobbled out of the room. We all just looked at each other as if to say, "he's old, what can you do?"

Why do old folks get cranky and angry? Is is because they've tired of holding their tongues? Do they think they deserve something from others and have the right to behave badly just because they passed 60, or 70,or whatever? James Hillman has some advice to us on how to grow old gracefully without upsetting everyone else.

By the way, if any of you are wondering if the old man in the van was related to you, his tag # was Oklahoma #INM-044.