Saturday, December 30, 2006

Word Twisters

Here they come. Conservatives dressed in sheep's clothing trying to capture words of the new political movement as their own. Words like progressive and here in Oklahoma, trying to piggyback the success of the MAPs project to further the ends of enriching the rich.

Enter Vince Orza. Now Vince, for those of you who don't know him, is a former newsreader reformed to restaurant chain tycoon and in his spare time nourishes young minds as a teacher at a local University. He just published this editorial in a local progressive newspaper.

In the article, Vince encourages Oklahoma to be progressive by endorsing his vision of a world-class civilization created here in Oklahoma. His first big ol' "progressive idea" is to create a massive aide to dependant corporations by overhauling the tax code.

Somehow, shifting the tax-burden onto those who work here and away from the shiny new task-master fat-cats that must be bribed to come here, doesn't seem very progressive.

Also, he trots out the usual whipping boy; school consolidation. Many small towns use their local schools as identity, and consolidation (read--elimination) would be a death sentence for many small towns. Note to Vince--authoritarianism is not a progressive idea.

He does, to his credit, link our high incarceration rate to our low funding of education. Should we invest more in schools to allow our citizens to prosper, or failing that, build more prisons to catch them on the back end? An easy decision, really, but one which we have failed on miserably.

Vince touches on using our oil and gas prosperity and encouraging our Indian community to aide in his quest for creating an "American resort and convention mecca..."

One would imagine our Native American community would be more willing to be a cooperative partner if our government would pay its bills.
When banker Elouise Cobell added up the Indian trust money lost, looted, and mismanaged by the U.S. government, the tab came to $176 billion. Now she's here to collect.
[...]
While generations of non-Indians have become rich harvesting the abundant resources of private Indian lands -- which once included virtually all the oil fields of Oklahoma -- Indian landowners have been paid only erratically, and far less than their due. Consequently, even landowning Indians remain among the nation's poorest citizens, joining the 23 percent of Indians in America living in poverty, and the nearly 40 percent who are unemployed. Some tribes fare even worse, and the Blackfeet suffer a 34 percent poverty rate and a 70 percent unemployment rate. Overall, Indians are more than twice as poor as the average American.
[...]

I would be rather reluctant to sign any more treatise if I were them. The lawsuit has been dragging on now for more than a decade. Gale Norton, the head of the Department of Interior named as a defendant has resigned and is now a shill for Shell oil. Hmmm.

But what really got my attention on Vince's article, was his hanging the acronym "MAPs" on it. Every pregnant idea that comes down the pike these days tries to capitalize on the success of MAPs, as though the mindless drones of Oklahoma will hit the yes button in the voting booth because MAPs is somehow a magic word.

I am very proud of the small role I played in passing the original MAPs vote, and deeply resent the wholesale bastardization of the term. You see, Vince, it is a question of value.

I am not an economic whiz kid like Vince, however, I know it takes "X" amount of dollars to run a state. When you give aide to dependant corporations these funds are made up on the backs of working stiffs like me.

New industry means new money, right? It also means very real infrastructure costs like water, sewer, power, transportation, etc.

No, Vince, I cannot endorse a massive corporate welfare program, dressed up like a spoonful of sugar. This merely increases the economic divide and reduces those true engines of Oklahoma progressivism, the middle class.

MAPs for the rich makes No Sense Vince.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Monday, December 11, 2006

Clinton Taps Lady Di's Phone; Rightards Heads Explode

News reports indicate the CIA was wiretapping Princess Dianna's phones up until the night of her untimely death.

This would have occurred during the Clinton Administration, and apparently, they didn't have a warrant. Gasp.

Wingnuts across America are coming all unhinged at the blatant hypocrisy of the left for not crucifying Bill Clinton like we have Dubya for his warrantless eavesdropping.

You see, we on the left are hypocrites for opposing Bush and remaining silent on Clinton for warrantless wiretapping. Clinton is a Democrat and Bush is a Republican, this is the only difference they see.

They fail to see one was legal and the other is clearly illegal.

The applicable law governing wiretaps is FISA, which is limited to U.S. citizens in the United States. Princess Di was neither.

Bush broke the law on this issue, whereas Bill Clinton did not. However, Clinton was crucified for breaking the law (perjury) during the Lewinsky matter. At that time, Republicans demanded the law be upheld as the highest obligation for lawmakers.

I find Republicans to be shallow and wishy-washy hypocrites, only applying their deeply held convictions when it is convenient and politically advantageous to do so.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Inhofe Swan Song

James "Baghdad Bob" Inhofe, R-OK, used his final opportunity as chair of the environmental committee to defend his statement about global warming as "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."

He tried this remarkable feat by gathering the like-minded amen section of fossil fuel apologists together for a hearing--a clearing of the air--so to speak, of the pollution spewed by unscientific liberal hacks posing as journalism. It's nice work, if you can get it.

Like David Deming, a geophysicist and a tenured University of Oklahoma geology professor. Now what could a geology professor from the state of Oklahoma, who packs his class with those eager to work for the richest companies in the world, have to offer to Inhofe's swan song?

Especially since Deming has no class:
[...]

Deming is a tenured University of Oklahoma geology professor who has sued in order to regain his place in his department. The lawsuit stems from a December 2003 decision to remove Deming from the School of Geology and Geophysics, where he was an associate professor. In his new position, he could continue to do research, but had to gain permission to teach classes—and the classes he taught would not be listed as geology classes, but as geoscience classes. This change has significantly reduced enrollment in his classes. “I’m a geologist and geophysicist,” he says. “I don’t do geoscience.”

School officials also forced him to move to a new office, a former laboratory in a windowless basement room, the only basement office assigned to a faculty member, according to Deming.
[...]

And when I said he has no class, I meant it:
[...]

On February 18, 2000, Professor David Deming picked up The University of Oklahoma's daily newspaper. That day's edition showcased a syndicated article by gun control advocate Joni Kletter, written in a matter that immediately chafed with Deming. Current gun laws, wrote Kletter, allowed "criminals, youth, and the mentally disabled to quickly and easily kill as many random people as they want."

Deming dashed off a letter in response that was printed three days later. "I just want to point out," he wrote, "that Kletter's 'easy access' to a vagina enables her to 'quickly and easily' have sex with 'as many random people' as she wants." The professor tought his satire was clear enough, but that was before he came close to losing his job.

[...]


(emphasis added). The anvil sharp wit of the professor is breathtaking. Nothing could be more terrifying than serial vaginalists. Especially shilling for companies that take a pole and poke a hole deep into the womb of Mother Earth.

And shill he does. From a commentary he penned for The Washington Times:
[...]
The largest mistake would be to start to move away from petroleum, a proven and economic energy source, to more speculative and expensive sources.
[...]

A geologist, an environmentalist and an economist. Sort of a one-stop-shop for an Inhofe apologist. David Deming is also a member of the E-team of National Center for Policy Analysis, an organizer of conservative groups to impact public policy. The E-team focuses on environmental issues and legislation that may have a detrimental effect toward business interests.

The NCPA has received $390,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

Slowly the steely grip of corporatists and their enablers are being pried off of the steering wheel of this country.

Inhofe is up for re-election in 2008. The oil and gas business is a very powerful constituency in his home state of Oklahoma, and he has defended their practices tooth and nail. If he does decide to run again, he will be a very formidable incumbent in a conservative state.

All the same, I'd like to see him go.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Young Turks

One of my highlights of Kommander Kos' Las Vegas soiree at Yearly Kos, an annual lefty blogger convention, was meeting, in person, The Young Turks. Now I realize this post is like, way late, but there is a reason that I post this now, which I will get into momentarily.

I was just standing there, next to the media table when this absolutely stunning young lady came up to get her credentials.

"Jill Pike," she said.

Now, I had seen her picture on The Young Turks website, and had heard many people comment on the radio about how attractive she was, but they all fell far short of the mark.

She was the ten most attractive ladies at the convention.

I introduced myself and she graciously invited me back to meet "the boys", Cenk Uygur and Ben Mankiewicz, her co-hosts.

Cenk, in particular, can really cut loose a tirade on the radio. He can make a Pentecostal preacher seem like a Methodist. And I'm not kidding.

He also writes some too. That is the subject of this post, Cenk's latest rift on NBC calling the War in Iraq a civil war. It goes something like this:

NBC Says Sky is Blue Email Print

By Cenk

Although the US government and Iraqi authorities have been insisting that the sky is red for months, NBC after much deliberation has decided to call the sky blue. Other news outlets have not come to the same conclusion yet.
When the Washington Post was asked why they are still calling the sky red, they said they knew the sky was blue but they didn't feel comfortable calling it blue when Iraqi government officials were still calling it red.

Tony Snow vociferously objected to NBC's biased coverage of the sky. He said calling the sky blue would only encourage it to be more blue. Snow added that if NBC persists in calling the sky blue, the terrorists would win.

The administration pointed out that if we call the sky something it demonstrably is not, then we will attain victory. When asked what "victory" means, Snow pointed behind the reporters and shouted, "Look, al-Qaeda!"

NBC is currently mulling over the idea of declaring that 2+2=4. NBC is concerned about making this announcement because Dick Cheney has declared forcefully that when you put 2 and 2 together, you get 6 -- and that anyone who doesn't is cutting and running from math. The neo-cons inside the White House say that only a defeatist would get 4 when adding 2 and 2. Bush added that the only way you could get 4 from putting 2 and 2 together is if you stopped counting.

He then smirked as if he had something very clever. Everyone in the room nodded, agreeing that clever words make reality less real.


I think this has something to do with being part of the "reality-based community", but I'm not sure.

And Ben, if you read this, I still say you sound like Christian Slater. Ben is okay with that, because, as he puts it, "Chicks dig Christian Slater."