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.
Wicca, astrology and the Dalai Lama

I stopped in at Gardner's Used Books on Mingo in Tulsa today to get my fix of musty tome air freshner and a book or two. I love a ramshackle used bookstore like Gardner's - with its stained easychairs and nooks to hide in. On a rainy day you can't beat the ambiance under the metal roof. But today I was looking for a book by the Dalai Lama. I found the religion section and looked through everything. Lots of books on Christianity and a smattering of Jewish and Islamic books but nothing on Buddhism or Hinduism. Rather than ask (I'm a man) I gave up and wandered into the business section where I happened to pass sections labeled "New Age" and "Philosophy". The books on Buddhism and Hinduism were scattered throughout these sections! Most of the Hinduism books were in New Age and most of the books on Buddhism were in the Philosophy section. Philosophy? Maybe in a stretch but what nitwits would put books on these ancient and major religions in the New Age section with books on astral projection and Wicca! What stupidity.

Somewhere in Bombay or Bangkok I hope there's a bookstore that has the holy books of the Abrahamic religions stuck away in a section on New Age and Astrology. That would be Karmic.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Show Me the Moonie

If you aren't familiar with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon or the Moonies you should be. This cult leader has a lot of power in Washington DC (he owns the Washington Times) and a very interesting blog keeps track of his crazy antics and our politicos involvement with him. Check out Where in Washington, DC is Sun Myung Moon?

The latest discovery by the blog is the involvement of a former Reagan official with the Top Moonie:

Elliot Abrams, former Reagan official and ex-convict, took to the road in 1998 to appear at events attacking "deprogrammers," kidnappers hired by parents to retrieve young people from Reverend Moon's movement.

There are three guiding principles for the world to choose among: democracy, communism and Godism…It is clear that democracy as the United States knows and practices it cannot be the model for the world. - Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Open Records Fever

The Tulsa World today touts a journalists victory in getting Oklahoma State University to release grade records to the university's Daily O'Collegian newspaper and the Tulsa World. The university had complied with the open records request earlier but had provided the data in hardcopy form and not in the electronic form demanded by the newspapers. Seems that the Daily O'Collegian wanted the data in an easily number-crunchable format for their convenience so they made a big issue over this as if the university was somehow denying access. The newspapers doth protest too much.

When I first read the article in the World (sorry, the World wants you to pay for looking at them so I can't link to the story) my first thought was, "what the &^% are they doing releasing students' grade records to newspapers?" - but it appears the university did delete names from the data. In a sloppy bit of journalism the World article never explains just what the objective is of the O'Collegians open records request. Do they suspect some sort of hanky panky with grades? Not atypically, the newspapers make the story about the press rather than about the story behind the story. The reader is left to wonder what all this is really about?

I'm no fan of the current OSU administration but I sympathize with them having to take time off their focus to deal with journalists with open records fever. Now don't get me wrong - I'm all in favor of public access to public records but I have little patience with journalists who believe that the records must be delivered to them in a form most convenient for them. Does OSU charge the O'Colly for the time and expense of providing the data in a form that makes the O'Colly journalist's life easy? Somebody has to pay for it.

Journalists are valuable. Good journalists are indispensable. But journalists need to remember they aren't the story.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

It's My Party

The Chinese New Year is this week and while it is being celebrated around the world wherever ethnic Chinese people have settled, there's one group that finds itself excluded in some of the celebrations. Even in democratic Australia members of the Falungong martial arts group find themselves banned from participating out of fear of reprisal by China's Communist dictators. Organizers of a New Year parade in Sydney told the Falungong they couldn't come to the party because of Beijing's opposition to Falungong.

A few years ago the Communists declared the Falungong to be an "evil cult" out of fear of the movement's growing influence in China. Millions of followers were persecuted in China. It's as if the US Government went after Pilates. The irrational fear Beijing showed toward Falungong reveals how weak the dictators really are. Unfortunately Beijing's persecution is allowed to extend far beyond China's borders.
Humiliating Defeat?

I received a form letter in the mail from the National Republican Congessional Committee that addressed me as "Dear Loyal Republican," and included an "Emergency 2005 Legislative Priorities Survey". You've gotten those fake surveys in the mail before - the one that ask a few loaded questions and then ask you how much you want to contribute. I doubt if they even count the votes as their mail order company rips open the envelopes and deposits the checks.

This letter, from Tom Reynolds, NRCC Chairman is humorous to read. Keep in mind that the presidential election was quite close - about 49/51. But Reynolds says "after suffering a humiliating defeat, the Democrats are desperately trying to block Republican efforts to" - blah, blah, blah. Reynolds goes on to claim a "clear mandate" and accuse the liberal Democrats of using "dirty tricks" to block the President.

The Democrats use the same direct mail lies to solicit money for their side but when I compare the appeals from both extremes I can see the current Republican Party takes it further, skews more, lies more. A mandate? Tom Reynolds, don't kid yourself.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Unflattering Proximity

A few days ago I was in a lady's office and noticed a framed 8x10 on her credenza. It was a Glamour Shots photo of an attractive young lady so I asked if it was her daughter. "No, that's me!" she said. Wow, it's amazing what Glamour Shots can do I thought to myself. Let me recommend that if you get a Glamour Shot photo of yourself to always keep it in a different room than the one you are in.

Friday, February 04, 2005

An Almighty Wind

I just don't know what to say about the Almighty Wind. See what you think.
Four Horsemen and an Antichrist

Last Sunday Pastor continued his series on Revelations and the end times. The tsunamis, mudslides, wars etc are telling us something. He focused on the "signs and wonders" that portend the Rapture and the Tribulations by showing us slides that proved that the stage for the European antichrist was set - just as foretold in Revelations! One slide was a photo of the symbol of the EU, a lady on a beast (foretold in Revelations!) and a parliament building recently erected in Strasbourg, Germany that closely resembled the Tower of Babel (oh those Europeans! - they're playing with fire) etc etc. Since the sermon I've been looking for a reference to Europe in the Bible but I can't find it.

While listening to the Pastor go on and on about the end times and all the details (four horsemen, two wardrobe malfunctions, three cracks in the Earth, seven vials and an iPod) I was thinking that the Big Father in the Sky looking down on this must be rolling with laughter over how silly we are and how far off the mark we've gotten. We're so wrapped up in the meaningless minutiae of dogma that we don't see what's really important.
It Started with SpongeBob

Until the Rev. James Dobsen of Focus on the Family brought it to my attention in regard to SpongeBob SquarePants I really hadn't noticed it. SpongeBob does occasionally hold hands with his animated sidekick Patrick and likes to watch the imaginary television show "The Adventures of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy." Maybe there really is an insidious conspiracy to turn our children into flaming homosexuals!

Once tuned in to the subliminal conspiracy I've begun to notice it everywhere. Last week it was Oklahoma State Senator James Williamson holding hands with Tulsa City Councilor Jim Mautino in a photo on the front page of the Tulsa World! Williamson's anti-gay marriage bills have been a clever diversion from a truth too painful to face? Then on Thursday night I just about spilled my TV dinner when none other than President George W Bush, after delivering his State of the Union speech, reaches out and kisses US Senator Joe Lieberman! Good God, I thought. Is Dr. Dobsen watching this? This nasty strain of mano e mano love is no longer restricted to our animated heros - it goes all the way to the top. Dr. Dobsen save us!

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Volunteering isn't So Easy

I went recently to the Victory Christian Center's Dream Center in north Tulsa to try to volunteer to help the low income people that come to the center for assistance or recreation. I didn't realize I'd get the third degree. I was given a questionaire only slightly shorter that what I imagine the CIA would use. Among the questions I was asked to answer were:

  • Have you kept yourself from immoral sexual activity such as fornication and adultery for at least the last 12 months?
  • Have you kept yourself from pornography (including movies rated R, X, or NC-17) for at least the last 12 months?
  • Have you kept yourself from ever practicing homosexuality or incest?
  • Do you pray regularly?
  • Are you currently living with your spouse?
  • Do you read the Bible regularly?

They also wanted a personal testimony, a criminal records check, a history of my residences.

I'm currently looking for an opportunity to volunteer somewhere that will let me help without doing a total dump of my private information and my most personal thoughts and beliefs.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Wait, wait, don't tell me

Oklahoma was again the butt of jokes on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" the popular NPR radio program today. It seems that Senator Frank Shurden's proposal to legalize "electronic cockfighting" in Oklahoma continues to entertain the nation. One comedian on the show joked that all he had to hear were the words "an Oklahoma Senator" and he knew it was going to be something ludicrous.
The deceivers

Today I received an important looking envelope bearing only the words "Explanation of Benefits" and a New York City address on the front cover. Must have something to do with insurance I supposed as I opened the envelope. It was a piece of junk mail from Forbes magazine. The benefits? That would be the "professional benefit price" of $19.99 of course.

Maybe I take lying and deception too seriously when it comes to advertising and direct mail but I think we get so used to it that we fail to even recognize the deception as deception.
Big Brother and Blue States

Scientific American's December issue had an interesting article on the various levels of personal information protection US states provide to their citizens. Oklahoma's protections are rated as "intermediate" while every state that surrounds us (except New Mexico and Colorado) is rated as having "low" protection of personal information.

The author, Rodger Doyle, points out that the federal government has been lax in moving to protect citizens from private data theft and exploitation. Federal laws do not shield medical and library records and give only partial protection to financial records.

California has been most active in enacting laws to protect its citizens privacy as well as courts that are vigilant in enforcement. Wyoming is singled out as the worst at protecting its citizens.

Oklahoma used to place everyone's Social Security number right on our drivers licenses but now we have the option of a randomly-generated drivers license number (which I opted for).

In looking at the ratings map in the Scientific American article I couldn't help but notice a rough correlation between red states and low privacy protection and blue states and high privacy protection. Has a historic flip-flop taken place? The John Wayne Republicans used to focus on individual rights but this seems to have become a Democratic issue in recent years.

I'm just speculating here, but I wonder if the Republican states aren't too friendly with corporate interests that want to utilize private data for business purposes. There's also the Patriot Act mentality that sacrifices individual liberty for collective security. Could this be it?

For more information see: Privacy Journal

Friday, January 28, 2005

Virtual Cockfighting

What did Oklahoma do to deserve the curse of State Senator Frank Shurden? The Senator from Henryetta that distinguished himself with his efforts to defend cockfighting and to enact laws to castrate sex offenders has come up with another bizarre idea that is already earning Oklahoma a new round of national ridicule. Now he wants to legalize cockfighting sans blades. He wants to put boxing gloves and pressure-sensitive electronic vests on the fighting birds.

Shurden has been the feature of several national interview programs such as this appearance on NPR's All Things Considered program. Shurden's uberhick accent and cognitive difficulties feed the stereotypes of the hayseed Okie. As an Oklahoman I just want to cry when I hear this fool being interviewed. We can spend years and millions of dollars on tourism and economic development advertising to improve our state's image and Shurden's can undo it in one minute on NPR.

Shurden's buffoonery aside, of course the reason he wants to make "virtual cockfights" legal in Oklahoma is because he knows the real deal can function under the pretense of non-lethal cockfighting. The cockfight pits can continue to function and rural sheriff's will fail to "monitor" the fights - just like they failed to monitor the rampant illegal gambling that accompanied cockfights during the decades when the fights themselves were legal. It's just another dishonest way to ignore the law.

Here in Oklahoma we know what's behind the cockfighters' deceptions but on the national level all our fellow Americans who hear Senator Shurden must think that we Oklahomans must be from a different planet.

To all my fellow Americans I just want to say that Shurden is an Oklahoma anomaly, really, he is. In fact, I think he was born in Idaho or something.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Comedian

At the time I was reluctant to stand in line to get the ticket - it meant getting up early and fighting the traffic to Burbank and then coming back again in the afternoon to get in line again, long before the show started. But now I'm glad I did it, three times. Getting to see Johnny Carson host the Tonight Show was great fun once I got into a seat but now I appreciate just being a small part in a piece of Americana.

The set, or stage, seemed a lot smaller in person than it did on TV. Carson though, was the same. Friendly and funny. He was also part of the family. Setting down to watch Carson after the news was part of a family tradition - we didn't have worry about being embarrassed by offcolor humor. Carson was funny without being ribald. How many late night TV shows can the whole family set down to watch now?

After his retirement I only saw him in person one more time - on a flight to LA. He was in first class and I watched the back of his head through the curtains of economy class for two hours.

Johnny's passing reminds me of how much I miss him.
China's Weak Leaders

We may complain about our money-influenced political system but it sure beats the pathetic dictatorship in China. One of the primary architects of China's economic reforms, Zhao Ziyang, died last week but because he was removed from the Premier's position in 1989 after he objected to using force against the students in Tiananmen, the pathetic politicians of China now want to ignore his death. The fact that they are so afraid to even acknowledge Zhao's death shows just how weak they are and how tenuous they fear their hold on power is.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

OkiePundit's Rules of Etiquette (continued)

Ears needs to be cleaned periodically, but this is a job that should be done in private using one's OWN truck keys.

Dirt and grease under the fingernails is a social no-no, as it tends to detract from a woman's jewelry. Excessive grease also alters the taste of finger foods.

Always offer to bait your date's hook, even if he says he can do it himself.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Tulsa's Conservative Alternative Press

You know you've got a conservative state when even your "alternative" press is conservative. Urban Tulsa, the community's weekly, is an annomaly among alternative weeklies in the US. It's an odd mixture of conservative editorial opinion, news features, movie reviews, and adult-oriented advertising.

Urban Tulsa doesn't compare well with Oklahoma City's "Oklahoma Gazette". The Gazette is noteworthy for its very good investigative reporting - something the Urban Tulsa just doesn't invest in.
Sponge Bob Outed by Dobsen

You couldn't have gotten through the week without hearing that a Christian group had attacked our beloved Sponge Bob Square Pants for supposedly promoting homosexuality in a video being distributed to schools. And, if you've been paying attention it should have come as no surprise that it was James Dobson, founder of the right-wing Christian group Focus on the Family, that did the attacking. If you missed the story read what the British Broadcasting Co (BBC) had to say about it.

I watched the video in its entirety on MSNBC and I couldn't find even a hint that the video, created by the non-profit group "We Are Family", had anything at all to say about gay anything. The video promotes tolerance in general - but that must be what the Dobsen-Christians object to. After all, we've got to draw the line on inclusiveness somewhere!

This little episode says a lot about the credibility of Dobsen and his Focus on the Family. It also demonstrates just how wacked out these people are. It should be a wakeup call to reasonable people how dangerous the fundamentalists of all religious stripes are. As we elect people of this ilk to public office we can expect Dobsen-like stupidity to begin to affect all of us. They begin with faith-based initiatives and end up banning harmless cartoon characters. We better stop them now.

In Oklahoma Dobsen's group has an affiliate called the Oklahoma Family Policy Council that is very active in trying to influence state policy. OFPC claims to be non-partisan but a read of their website would leave one with the distinct impression they are heavily involved on the GOP side.
Thirty Years Ago in our Legislature

Thirty years ago this month then Oklahoma State Representatives John Monks argued on the floor of the Legislature against passing a bill to ban cockfighting in Oklahoma. During his remarks he noted that the "British Empire began to fade when it got too big and supressed the sports of the people."

State Representative George Vaughn of Big Cabin said the country was founded with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Honoring the Kings of Soft Money

Leadership Oklahoma is honoring Chesapeake Energy Corporation of Oklahoma City as an outstanding company at their sixth annual Excellence in Leadership Gala on February 19th in Tulsa. Did Chesapeake buy this award like they've bought US Senator Tom Coburn and US Congressman Tom Delay? These are the people that spend millions in soft money contributions to buy rightwing Repubs. This is not a corporation that should be honored.
The Gambinos of Oklahoma

The Native Times reports:

In response to an alleged conspiracy by figures in the East Coast underworld that reached all the way to an Oklahoma Indian reservation, the New York Racing Association is severing ties with four active wagering sites. One of those is on the Tonkawa Indian Reservation in Tonkawa, Oklahoma.

This is one of those stories you wonder what's behind the story. What could the Tonkowa Tribe of Oklahoma be doing with the Gambino Family of New York? Who scammed who in this deal? Will the Oklahoma press pick up on this story?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Moon Over the White House

Looks like anybody, including a self-proclaimed messiah can buy their way into the Inauguration and the inner circle of American government. See the details at I Approve of this
Moon Over the White House

Looks like anybody, including a self-proclaimed messiah can buy their way into the Inauguration and the inner circle of American government. See the details at I Approve of this
Moon Over the White House

Looks like anybody, including a self-proclaimed messiah can buy their way into the Inauguration and the inner circle of American government. See the details at I Approve of this

Read the January 6th post at I Approve of this Messiah regarding who Bush is considering for the top US trade job! Yeesh.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Spanish Broadcasting in Oklahoma

The Sun-Sentinel reports that Telemundo has expanded its national coverage with a new affiliate in Oklahoma City.The network began airing its programming on full-power station KTUZ-Ch. 30 on Dec. 31.KTUZ, owned and operated by Tyler Media, is the first full-service station to serve the booming Spanish-language market in Oklahoma City, which is currently ranked the 54th largest Hispanic market.
Oklahoma Gains from Outsourcing

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a software development company in Colorado is setting up an operation in Oklahoma City to outsource work to. Lower wage Oklahoma (and Arkansas etc) was preferred over India because of the security and stability of the workforce.

I'd add that we Okies are easier to understand. You'd know what I mean if you've ever had to try to discuss your credit card bill with a "customer service technician" in Bombay.

Friday, January 14, 2005

C-SPAN Moment

I enjoy watching some of the events shown on C-SPAN. For policy wonks C-SPAN is a boon. When good speakers speak you can both learn a lot about a new subject and simultaneously study the art and craft of public speaking. Today, C-SPAN was even more interesting than usual. I was watching a few minutes of a speech being given by a feminist when the camera cut away for a shot at the audience. The camera zoomed in on a man peering down the blouse of a woman seated in front of him. He'd snatch a look, look at his program, snatch a look, look at his program. This went on a few seconds until he noticed the camera pointed at him. At this point he slid back in his chair and behind another person. It would be interesting if his wife was watching C-SPAN.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Speeding Legislators

The State Legislature started up this week - you didn't have to read the paper to know this. All you had to do was pull over and stay out of the way of the speeding Legislators on the turnpikes. Those tags with the "S"s and the "H"s were zipping down the pikes at 80-95 mph. All the new legislators must have gotten word already that Oklahoma Legislators made a law that exempts them from speeding laws if they are going to or from a Legislative session or meeting. I think they call it the Gene Stipe Law.

I'm afraid the only way the Legislators will ever repeal this stupid law is after one of them kills some innocent family on the road. Even then, I doubt if they'll give up this "perk".
Surprise!: Don Nickles Hooks Up with Energy Firm

According to the Tulsa World outgoing US Sen. Don Nickles has been elected to the board of directors at Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. The election of Nickles to the company's board puts him in the company of former Republican Governor Frank Keating and Aubrey K. McClendon and Tom L. Ward, the company's co-founders and largest individual shareholders. Aubrey and Ward are the same two men who recently bought (with $1 million in soft money campaign donations) newly elected Senator Tom Coburn - the Republican that replaces Nickles in the Senate.

McClendon is quoted as saying, "We are extremely pleased to have Don join Chesapeake's board. In a time of growing political debate about the country's energy policies, we will particularly appreciate his in-depth knowledge of energy public policy." Or maybe "Don" can lean on buddies in government to get us what we want? The cozy revolving door relationship between fossil fuel energy interests and the Republican Party leadership gets cozier everyday.

Governor's Home in Need of Sprucing Up

The Governor's Mansion needs some linens, a flat screen computer, and a refurbished family dining room - or so says the Friends of the Mansion. A recent wish list sent out to Oklahomans lists a range of improvements and gadgets they seek donations for. The list ranges from $5,000 for a play area to a mere $800 for two 3-gallon coffee urns. A letter was sent out, under the signatures of Governor Brad Henry and his wife Kim, on December 16th inviting people to become a member of the Friends of the Mansion for a minimum of $1,000 per year.

I found $8.50 in my pocket that I'm sending along in case they need a can of Pledge.