Monday, April 30, 2007

The Secretary that Destroyed

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

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

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

Let's hope Mayor Taylor has learned some lessons.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Latin American Nut

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

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

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What's a Far Right Christian Gonna Do?

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

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

Friday, February 23, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

The Tulsa World Poll

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

Friday, February 09, 2007

Super Distration in Middle East Has Our Eyes Off the Ball

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

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

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

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