August 2004 Archives

Perfect ending


Harlem Boys Choir singing Peter J. Wilhousky's setting of Battle Hymn of the Republic.

Would have been even better if people had been quiet so it could have been heard.

We can't hear you!


I'm up in the cheap seats with my wife at the moment - have been here through Brownback's & Frist's speeches. I was still on the floor during Liddy Dole's speech. People aren't paying close attention to any of these speeches. That's partly because the audio seems muffled and subdued when someone is speaking from the front, and when people can't hear they mill around and chat . When the music is playing, it seems twice as loud, and people quiet down.

Too bad because these were good speeches enunciating our social platform. Rod Paige (Sec'y of Education) and Michael Steele (Maryland Lt. Gov.) have delivered their speeches with more energy than the earlier speakers and seem to have the audience more engaged.

These speakers are suffering as well from the lack of a formal introduction to create anticipation in the audience and focus attention. And a rap of the gavel isn't a bad idea once in a while.

Steele really got us going - well-written speech beautifully delivered - and of course instead of building on that momentum, we get blasted with another over-amped tune. But then Arnold should do fine :)

Over the top


As I suspected, all the passing in the roll call by larger states was to give a key swing state the chance to clinch Bush's renomination. I suppose it's close enough there that the little bit of press they'll get out of this back in Pennsylvania could be the margin of victory.

The "spontaneous" demonstration fizzled -- we weren't quite sure when we were supposed to wave the "4 more years" signs, and the word finally reached us to wait until Pennsylvania's turn, but I don't think everyone got the word. It's hard to keep that up without someone leading from the front.

Turn it down!


I'm down on the floor - wireless web is working agan - and we are being blasted by the convention band, to the point that we can barely hear.

Wall-to-wall Corner


Mikki (my wife) and I attended the NRO Corner bash at Turtle Bay. They were giving out buttons saying things like "Save a Hamster / Vote for Kerry" -- someone though that had to do with that old urban legend, but it's a reference to one of Kerry's daughters speech about her dad givning CPR to a hamster.

Got to meet and chat briefly with NROniks John Derbyshire, Jim Geraghty, who writes the "Kerry Spot", and Jay Nordlinger, who writes Impromptus. Might have met more NR people, but the place was absolutely jammed with people. We saw fellow bloggers Karol, Lisa(Happy Birthday!), Roger L. Simon. Nearly a dozen other bloggers were arriving just as we were headed to another event.

We also met John P. Margand, executive director of Project REACH, an organization that provides support to crisis pregnancy centers, and Eric Metaxas, who used to be a writer for Veggie Tales (a favorite of all ages at our house).

Here are a few photos -- Jonah Goldberg holding court at the bar:

Derb in discussion:

And a picture of the vast throng that assembled:

I like what Karol had to say:

I love the convention being in my city. All the regular rightwing events are on steroids, with more people than ever and a great vibe. I had my doubts about the convention being in the city, I thought that the protestors would be a downer but its been so great, the protestors are like crazy cousins who you tolerate but all the good times happen without them.

You mean the New York conservative scene isn't like this all the time?

Moore than enough



At about 9:30, an Oklahoma delegate returned to our section and told us that she had been stuck for 15 minutes. She and others were herded into a lounge, and the curtains were drawn while a VIP passed. The VIP, a rotund gentleman, had a security detail two deep on both sides. One onlooker stepped out in front of the VIP, and a security officer grabbed him by the jacket and said, "I said step back, and when I say something you listen!" GOP delegates were penned up for about 15 minutes to make sure Big-Lie-er Michael Moore wasn't confronted with angry dissent.

This must have been about the time that Moore was making his way to the press box at stage left. Shortly after our fellow delegate's breathless report, someone spotted Moore's red cap and spherical form. This was before John McCain began speaking. Some few people tried to get a chant going -- "Go home, Michael Moore" -- but it didn't catch on.

But then when John McCain uttered the words, "And certainly not a disingenuous filmmaker" -- the crowd turned toward Moore, booed loudly and some began chanting "you! you! you!" while sharply pointing fingers at him. (All right, it wasn't just some -- it was me, too.) The boos lasted for what seemed like a minute -- almost a "Two Minute Hate" -- until McCain interrupted by saying that the line worked so well he was going to repeat it.

In response to all this noise, Moore grinned and tipped his cap. Clearly he had read the reference to himself in the advance copy of the speech and decided to be in the arena to milk it for all it was worth. We gave him exactly what he wanted, and I'm sure he'll have a field day with it in his next USA Today column.

McCain's speech was well-done and well-received on the floor of the convention, Giuliani's even more so. The chanting of "flip flop" -- which I could just hear on the C-SPAN broadcast -- in response to Giuliani's accounting of Kerry's record on the war was utterly spontaneous and seemed to start in our part of the hall.

Did you notice the warm applause when Giuliani said at the beginning of the section of his speech about Kerry, "I respect him for his service to our nation"? If you're wondering, no one told us when to wave signs or applaud. That was spontaneous, too.

The other feature of the evening that got the crowd going was the tribute to the armed services, which featured the song of each service. Everyone around me was singing along along, to the extent that they could remember more than the first line or two. (Lyrics and a bouncing ball on the big screen would have been nice.)

OTHER VIEWS: Scott Sala was moved by his experience on the floor. Karol Sheinin loved McCain's anti-Moore line enough to forgive McCain for praising his Democratic "friends". Rick Brookhiser on NRO evaluates Giuliani's speech, career, and prospects.

Radio row, bloggers' corner


Spent some time before this morning's proceedings came to order and during the some of the duller moments rambling through the media area. Bloggers' Corner is in a prime location to catch dignitaries as they pass by, and they are right across the aisle from where Sean Hannity will be broadcasting. As I came up, the credentialed bloggers were still working to get connected to the Internet -- no WiFi here. I saw Scott Sala and Karol Sheinin, whom I had already met around town, and Kevin McCullough introduced me to Tom Bevan of Real Clear Politics, Kevin Aylward of WizBang (who was kind enough to add me to the RNCBloggers aggregation site), Roger L. Simon, John Hinderaker of Power Line and Captain Ed Morrissey.

I got there just in time for the bloggers' chance to interview former Mayor Ed Koch, whose first remark was "What's a blogger?" and after being told it involved publishing opinion and news on the internet, he said he sends out an e-mail newsletter and asked if that made him a blogger, too. He was told that he's halfway there.

Koch had been warmly received up on the convention floor a few minutes earlier, where he told delegates, "I'm here to convert you... for the 2008 election." For him the election comes down to who's willing to fight the war on terror.

Over the course of my time on radio row, I spotted Neil Boortz, Tony Snow, G. Gordon Liddy, Pat Buchanan, Al Franken, and Biff Henderson of the Letterman Show. The Gatlin Brothers, who sang the National Anthem this morning -- the way it should be sung, at a moderately fast tempo and without all the diva-esque sliding around that most anthem singers use, but with wonderful three part harmony -- were appearing on various talk shows and occasionally bursting into song. (I will add that the Gatlins sang the anthem in a way that invited the delegates to sing along, which was a refreshing change as well.)

I happened by Kevin McCullough's booth a bit later at a time when he was between guests and I had the chance to talk to his listeners here in NYC and over the web for a few minutes. I was caught off guard when he asked if I had a chance to listen to his show yet, so I hope he doesn't think I'm uninterested, it's just that I was in the platform and rules committee meetings during his timeslot. I have listened to his broadcast over the web (the latest show is repeated 24/7 -- follow the above link, or the blogroll link to his website), and it's a great show.

Media blogrolling: New York Sun


Many thanks to New York Sun columnist Gary Shapiro for his kind mention of me in his column today:

KNICK-KNACKS Tulsa-based software engineer Michael Bates arrived in town as an Oklahoma delegate. He blogs at where he reported seeing the pro-Bush political theater group “Communists for Kerry”perform in “Soviet Union Square.”They shouted slogans such as “End the two Americas! Create one homogenous welfare state!” and “End tax cuts! Stop the menace known as ‘success’!”

The Sun is New York's fastest growing newspaper and it has fraternal ties to great newspapers worldwide like the Daily Telegraph of London and the Jerusalem Post. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Gary last week, and am grateful for the tip of his fedora.

Remember, folks, "Papa says, 'If you see it in the Sun, it's so.'"

For my KFAQ listeners, here's a link to the item I mentioned this morning:

Advice to a Just-Elected Conservative Friend by Morton C. Blackwell.

There was very little objection voiced to a rules amendment granting the Republican Party of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas equal status with the 50 states, D.C., and four other territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and American Samoa). This would give the territory three seats on the Republican National Committee (chairman, national committeeman and national committeewoman), and two seats on each of the convention committees, the same number as each of the states, however large or small.

The Commonwealth enjoys the same relationship with the US as Puerto Rico, but while Puerto Rico has nearly four million people, the Northern Marianas has only 78,252 inhabitants over less than 200 square miles. That's fewer people than Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, but a little more than American Samoa with population of 57,902.

At first I thought it was nice for them to be included, as an acknowledgement of their status as a commonwealth and the strength of the local GOP. There were two gentlemen in the gallery whom I took to be Marianans -- they were very pleased with the result of the vote and were being congratulated by the Rules Committee members from the other territories.

Thinking about it further, it doesn't make much sense for any of the territories to be extended equal status with the states in the Republican Party. The Republican Party exists to fight federal elections for Congress and the presidency, and these territories aren't involved in that process. Unlike the territories of the past, these territories are unlikely to become states and their current status seems permanent. It would make more sense for the Republican National Committee, representing the 50 state parties, would establish a fraternal or affiliate relationship with territorial parties, which would be autonomous.

There's something silly about the tiny Northern Marianas having the same say as Texas in governing the Republican Party and setting its platform and rules. True enough, the final say is given to the convention as a whole, in which the size of state delegations is dependent on population and the success of the state party in electing Republicans to office. But the rules are such that the convention only ever votes up or down on the recommendations from the Rules and Platform Committees. It is just barely possible to bring an amendment from the floor, but it requires a suspension of the rules, and that means the support of a majority of six state delegations just to move for a suspension, and the support of two-thirds of the delegates to approve the suspension and allow you to bring your amendment. For all practical purposes, the decisions are made by the committees, and it would require a good deal of pre-convention organizing to successfully break through that barrier. There are considerable barriers to doing pre-convention organizing, but more about that later.

Luck of the draw


One of the more intriguing proposals put before the Rules Committee on Friday came from Utah State Senator James Evans. Sen. Evans proposed a rule that would reserve four convention speaking slots for delegates selected at random. Evans argued that the grass roots are the strength of the party, and this would be a way to highlight that strength. He argued that delegates are informed, passionate about the party, and any one of them could speak for a few minutes about why he or she is a Republican. Presumably those who would not feel at ease behind the big podium could opt out of the lottery.

The opposition came mostly from the northern states. Those committee members expressed concern that randomly-selected delegates might not "stay on message," and that it was important to use every hour of the dwindling amount of network TV coverage to put the nominee's message across. Never mind that the reason for the dwindling amount of coverage is that nothing unscripted is allowed to happen. Evans tried to calm the control freaks' fears by saying that the RNC would still be able to vet these random delegate speeches, as they vet every other speech.

The proposal was defeated by about a 2-to-1 margin. The lesson that Republican leaders took away from the 1992 defeat was not, as it should have been, "don't renege on a promise not to raise taxes," but "no more Pat Buchanans" -- everything must be scripted and nothing must deviate, down to the signs that the delegates will be instructed to wave. (I don't however believe there is any truth to the rumor that convention organizers studied North Korean political rallies for ideas.)

Evans voiced the heretical notion that the convention is not only for the nominee but for the delegates and the whole party. The question in his mind was one of trust -- why wouldn't we entrust a short speaking slot to a delegate who has given time and talent in support of the party?

Through this debate and several others, I kept hoping one of the rules committee members would acknowledge the elephant in the living room -- the party is being run by control freaks whose control freakery hasn't actually been all that successful over the last few elections. Recall that Republicans haven't won the popular presidential vote since 1988, but we've done remarkably well in congressional and state legislative races, where our candidates are less likely to be polished and professionally managed, and more likely to say something off-message.

It's good to be a B


I was going to post this from the front row of the "dress" section of the Ford Center (the old Lyric Theatre on 42nd Street, not the big mostly empty arena in Oklahoma City), but I still can't get Sprint's wireless web to work.

My wife and I had great seats for the musical "42nd Street" thanks entirely to the fact that I am the first Oklahoma delegate in alphabetical order. Oklahoma had the right half of the first balcony, sharing the theatre with delegates from Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas.

We left the hotel just after 3 and wisely decided to walk the three long blocks rather than take a cab.

Did not see a single protester today. Not a one. Some friends went to Columbus Circle to catch the "big" protest and said there were maybe 100 people there. They weren't there when we arrived at the theatre, and they weren't there when we left. Times Square looked pretty normal, with tourists milling about.

At the theatre, they had free soft drinks, champagne, and bottled water for us, courtesy the New York City host committee, and on each chair was a New York Times tote bag full of goodies, including Fodor's New York Flashmaps -- an extremely useful and portable guidebook -- some cough drops, and a very small New York Times T-shirt. As if I'm going to let my kid wear that.

I should add that starting with our official check-in with the delegation on Saturday we have been loaded down with stuff -- a tote bag from the host committee with Rudy Giuliani's book, a book on New York landmarks, a box of special Republican Convention Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, with elephant noodles. Congressmen Istook supplied a tote bag with Istook logo merchandise -- ball cap, beverage mug, and that sort of thing. This morning we had a Sunday Times on the doorstep, plus a packet with NR, TNR, The Hill and Roll Call in it. I've heard we'll be getting a New York Sun every morning. (I know I should italicize all that, but I can't be bothered right now.)

RNC chairman Ed Gillespie welcomed us, then introduced Rudy Giuliani to a standing ovation. Giuliani spoke briefly about the importance of reelecting this president, who after 9/11 understood the need to go on offense against the terrorists, not just play defense. We had a fifteen minute gap after Giuliani spoke, during which someone got the idea that our delegation should sing "Oklahoma!" which we did, with gusto. Then the Texas delegation in the orchestra section did some sort of bizarre ritualistic chant while they made a evil-looking gang sign involving the extension of index finger and pinky. We attempted to reverse any bad vibes by displaying the Texas sign upside down. Way up in the nosebleed section we heard the chanting of "Big Red! Big Red!" and we started to chant along until we realized that it was the wrong Big Red -- it was the one from up north, where they have an "N" for "nollidge" on the sides of their football helmets. So we drowned them out with a hearty "Boomer Sooner" chant. The Kansas folks sang "Home on the Range," the nation's least specific state song. Then there was a halfhearted attempt at "Deep in the Heart of Texas" from the folks from Baja Oklahoma, which was mercifully cut short by the overture.

A star-studded night


Starry-eyed radio talk show host Kevin McCullough reports (with photos) on the wonderful evening he and his wife had at Saturday night's media reception (I like the Don King / John McLaughlin photo), and an exciting chance encounter walking home from the bash.

This afternoon my wife and I spotted G. Gordon Liddy in the hotel lobby, but we didn't stop as we were worried about being late for the play. I am happy to report that there was no electrical tape on our hotel room door when we returned.

Rules are made


On Friday I attended the Republican National Convention Rules Committee meeting. This committee, made up of one male delegate and one female delegate from each of the fifty states and five territories (D. C., Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands), met for five hours to approve a set of rules governing this convention and the party for next four years. Rules Chairman Bob Kjellander, Republican National Committeeman from Illinois noted in his opening remarks that the Democratic National Committee can alter their party's rules willy-nilly at any time, while the Republican rules can only be changed by the national convention.

Take note of that distribution of seats at the table, because it came into play several times during the committee's deliberations. States and territories, big states and small states, states with strong Republican Party organizations, and states where the local Republican Party is nearly dead -- all have the same amount of representation on the Rules Committee, the Platform Committee, and the Republican National Committee, which governs the party between conventions.

Like the Platform Committee, the Rules Committee met at the Javits Center, a massive convention center on the Hudson River three long blocks west of Madison Square Garden. The GOP committees were the only activities in the building, which meant that at most you had 500 people meeting in a few conference rooms downstairs while the cavernous exhibition hall went unused. I wondered who picked up the tab for reserving the whole hall. Javits is in the deadest part of midtown Manhattan -- very little foot or auto traffic, very few nearby restaurants, the nearest subway access is half a mile away at least. Committee members were delivered to and from Javits by bus.

The Platform Committee was set up for TV, with the committee members on risers facing the gallery, microphones in front of each pair of delegates, and bright TV lights on both the delegates and the committee chairman and co-chairmen. The Rules Committee had no risers, only three microphones, which were set up in the aisles, and the committee members were facing away from the gallery and toward the chairman who was up on a dais. There were a lot of reporters and cameras at the platform hearings; the only reporter at rules committee seemed to be Bob Novak, who was taking notes, answering numerous cell calls, and visiting with Morton Blackwell and one other committee member whom I didn't recognize.

More Commies for Kerry


The real deal this time. From the Communist Party, USA, website:

[A] victory by Kerry and the broad democratic movement that supports him would be a body blow to the extreme right, bring some relief on bread and butter issues, and lift the siege on our nation's constitution.

It also would create a much more favorable political terrain on which the people's movement could struggle for its agenda, beginning with an end to the occupation of Iraq. ...

The biggest danger in this election is not that people have unrealistic expectations of a Kerry administration, but rather that a substantial section of voters still believe that it doesn't make much of a difference who they vote for on Nov. 2. The responsibility of left and progressive people is not to spend their time bellyaching over Kerry's shortcomings, but to convince millions of people that there is a choice and that the outcome of this election will have enormous consequences for our nation's future.

You might want to be sure to obtain a "Get Out of Gulag" card, while you still can.

Embrace your inner bolshevist!


The revolution is glorious, Comrades!

I have returned from the Communists for Kerry rally in Soviet Union Square, during which the message of world revolution went forth, despite the best efforts of agents provacateurs posing as socialist agitators, claiming that the comrades were agents of Fox News, or Karl Rove.

Comrade Lenin harangued the masses, explaining that getting John Kerry into the Red House is only the first small but necessary step toward true revolution.

Revolutionary slogans echoed through the gathered throng:

"Embrace your inner bolshevist!"

"Only one thought, happy thought! Let the Party do your thinking for you!"

"Red is the new black!"

"We cure weak liberalism with strong communism!"

"End the two Americas! Create one homogeneous welfare state!"

"Stop the economic boom created by G.W.Bush!"

"End tax cuts! Stop the menace known as 'success!'" is an aggregation of the latest posts from credentialed and non-credentialed bloggers covering the Republican National Convention. Many thanks to RNCBloggers for including me on the list. I notice there's another blogger who is here as a convention participant -- the wife of an alternate delegate from Ohio, who writes at

While I will mainly be writing about the Convention, there is still a lot brewing back home in Tulsa politics, which is my usual beat, so bear with me if I deviate into local politics now and then.

Off to Commies for Kerry rally


Off to Soviet Union Square to join the proletarian uprising in support of Comrade Kerry. Meanwhile, here's a puzzler for my Tulsa readers:

"We don't need the diversity of opinions, things get done more efficiently without the meddling of intellectuals!" Who said it?

A. Tulsa Whirled editor Ken Neal.

B. Bloodthirsty Cambodian dictator Pol Pot.


Convention boogers arrive


Had the pleasure last night of spending some time with Dawn Eden, and through her (influential person that she is) got to meet Matt Welch and Tim Blair, who will be covering the RNC on the convention blog of Reason magazine.

Matt is an associate editor of Reason, a Los Angeles-based libertarian monthly (and an excellent source for free-market perspectives on local government policy). You can find his blog here with a preview of his convention coverage and links back to columns he wrote about the DNC.

You can find Tim Blair's blog here. He has interesting plans for Sunday's protest. And here's Right Wing News's interview with Tim.

And you can now find both their blogs and the Reason conventions blog on the blogroll on the right side of the home page.

Doody before honor


Congratulations to Dawn Eden, whom I will now have to refer to as award-winning headline writer Dawn Eden, for she has won this year's prize for "brightest headline" in a large-circulation newspaper from the New York State Associated Press Association. The winning headline? "HURT IN LINE OF DOODY", about a court clerk who suffered a back injury when a toilet exploded beneath him.

You can find her and her award-winning New York Post headline on her home page.

Platform committee coverage


I'm about to run out of battery power, so I'll comment later, but here are a couple of stories on NRO about some of the more interesting platform committee debates.

Tim Carney of Evans and Novak Political Report writes about the education platform plank that praises the Republican Party for spending more than LBJ.

Conservatives in New York this week knew there was trouble once they read the first sentence of the platform on "No Child Left Behind." It read: "Public education is the foundation of civil society." (In comparison to "family," which earned the description of being the "cornerstone.")

The second sign of trouble was learning that the subcommittee handling education was chaired by Rep. Phil English (R., Penn.), a key ally of Arlen Specter this past spring, and had the endorsement of the National Education Association.

The two days of platform debate confirmed the suspicion that the GOP has become the party of Big Education.

And that's a winning strategy for alienating our base while completely failing to impress the educrats of the NEA, of which the Democrat party is a wholly owned subsidiary.

Mark Krikorian writes about Wednesday night's debate over immigration policy:

Before the draft Republican platform was released yesterday, the immigration plank was being billed as an independent effort, not directed by the White House. The selection of Pennsylvania's Rep. Melissa Hart to head the subcommittee that would address immigration was spun last week as a concession to pro-control conservatives, despite her mediocre voting record on immigration. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the platform committee co-chairman, denied that the White House was writing the platform immigration plank, telling the Washington Times that "I have talked to Karl [Rove] about the platform for a total of less than two minutes since I began working on this in the last month."

They must have packed a lot of information into those two minutes, because the draft platform's immigration section echoed in every particular the president's call for a massive guest-worker amnesty. It included the very same language, about matching "willing foreign workers with willing U.S. employers," and the same disingenuous disavowal of amnesty.

Krikorian goes on to compare the draft platform language with that of previous conventions going back to 1992.

The most important issue of this election is the War on Terror, and George W. Bush is still the right man to finish that job, but more and more conservatives are unwilling to overlook the administration's rejection of long-standing conservative aims in these and other areas. They aren't angry because he's deviating from the party line, but rather that he's deviating from policies that these grass roots voters believe are best for the country, and embracing policies that take us in the wrong direction.

Bloggers' bash

| | TrackBacks (1)

Had a fun time last night at a bloggers' gathering at a very loud club called Fashion 40. Karol has full coverage, which I won't attempt to duplicate. Thanks to everyone for extending a warm welcome. You can't beat an evening with intelligent people who make words their avocation. (It would have been nice to hear more of the words over the music, and eventually I learned that shouting directly into someone's ear is considered acceptable, even polite.)

This place was trendy enough that very tall, well-dressed gentlemen screened people at the door. (Or maybe all clubs here are like that. How would I know?) Even though I'm a middle-aged nerd, I dropped Karol's name and I was in.

I would try to tell you about all the people I met last night, but the best way is to let them speak for themselves. Broaden your blog reading -- follow the link to Karol's entry, and follow the links to read what they have to say.

Superdelegate kryptonite


More from today's Rules Committee meeting:

Morton Blackwell, Republican National Committeeman for Virginia, moved to eliminate the automatic delegate slots given to the three RNC members from each state. Blackwell objects to the fact that an RNC member elected in 2004 will go as a delegate to the 2008 convention without facing voters in 2008. The superdelegate provision was added in 2000 for 2004.

Rodd Moesel from Oklahoma gave a great speech in support of the motion, pointing out that the Democrats have a large and increasing number of "superdelegates" - officials who automatically get a seat at the convention without the support of the grass roots. It's a distinction of the Republican Party that the grass roots elect all our delegates, something we can boast about.

Blackwell's motion would not have reduced the total number of delegates, and in nearly every case, the three additional at-large slots called for in the Blackwell amendment would go to RNC members, but the state convention would have the option of sending someone else, if an RNC member should become unacceptable in the four years between election and the next convention.

The motion was defeated, with strongest opposition from northern states.

Disclaim this!


Ever received a fundraising letter from the "Tulsa County Republican Fund Drive"? Did you know that none of that money goes to the Tulsa County Republican Party?

This has long been a complaint of local party leaders, who have to go to the same donors who have received these solicitations and ask for money to fund a local party office, a part-time office manager, grass roots activities, and assistance to local candidates. Most donors assume their contribution to the RNC will help the local party too, so county chairmen have to disabuse them of that assumption.

This morning at the Republican Convention Rules Committee, someone tried to address this problem. Patricia Carlson, delegate from Texas and Tarrant County, wanted an amendment to force the RNC to include a disclaimer in RNC fundraising letters, explaining that none of the money stays locally. The amendment was killed by being tabled by a bare majority vote. Thanks to Mrs. Carlson for making the attempt.

Bryant Park Blogging


This has been a rotten day for blogging. There was plenty going on in the Rules Committee meeting worthy of reporting, but the SprintPCS wireless web network was down. When I called the help desk, they said their whole corporate network was down -- call back in a couple of hours.

(By the way, for those who are curious, I have a Kyocera 6035 SmartPhone, which runs PalmOS, and I use mo:Blog, which so far is the only Palm app for blogging I've found that doesn't crash or lock up my phone.)

All right, so I'll blog back at the hotel. The dial-up connection is pretty good -- 40 kbps and no dropped connections. Then I notice the rate card by the phone by the bed (which I hadn't used yet -- there's no rate card by the phone on the desk). The hotel wants $1 a local call, up to 10 minutes, plus 10 cents a minute thereafter. Oops.

Hotel's got high speed internet, too, but it's $10 a day. I thought about buying a month of Wayport access ($50) which would bring the cost down to about $5 a day, but the Wayport website refused my credit card. (I double-checked with the credit card company, which said Wayport hadn't even tried to bill my card, so the problem is with Wayport.)

I don't know why expensive hotels with hard beds and tiny rooms and limited cable service add insult to injury by charging for local calls and high speed net access. The nicest places I've stayed are the midrange suite hotels that are cheaper than full service, but have a fridge, a microwave, the full local cable lineup (yay C-SPAN2!), free high speed wireless, and beds that are actually comfortable.

But I have found a nicer place from which to blog. Bryant Park is just a few blocks from the hotel, just behind (west) of the New York Public Library, and it offers free WiFi access. The park is bustling with life. Some parks are dysfunctional -- the space isn't inviting, isn't comfortable, so people don't stop and use it. It's really easy to build a park that doesn't work. (Nota bene, you pocket-park planners in Tulsa!)

Bryant Park was once a dysfunctional park, a scary place to be avoided, but no longer. I'm sitting on the terrace, on a chair with the laptop on the table. If I felt like it, I could move the table and chair somewhere else. There are chairs and tables all over the grassy area and on the plaza around the fountain. Some of the chairs are like school desks with an attached writing surface and a drink holder. People are reading books and newspapers, doing homework, writing letters, meeting friends or just watching the passing parade. There's a little carousel on the south edge of the park. A double-row of trees -- birches, I think -- buffer the park from the surrounding city blocks but don't make you feel cut off or hidden. Very nice.

I don't know about my fellow Oklahoma delegates, but I don't feel at all like a fish out of water in the big city. I lived in Boston for five years and walked or rode the subway everywhere. It's great to be back in a truly urban place for a few days.

The last couple of mornings I walked from the hotel into Grand Central Station to catch the subway for part of the trip to the convention committee meetings. To see the streams of people rushing in every direction, crossing without colliding, and then to jump into one of those streams isn't at all scary to me. It's exhilarating. Between the rush of the people and the sight of Grand Central's beautifully restored interior, I have had a silly grin on my face, which I'm sure would betray me as a bumpkin from the sticks, if anyone actually made eye contact, that is, which they don't.

Bryant Park is as relaxed as Grand Central is frenetic, but that silly grin still made an appearance at the sight of this beautiful park and all the people who are enjoying it.

Fair zoning decision August 31st


Received the following summary of what happened at yesterday's hearing on summary judgment in the 71st & Harvard protest petition civil rights case. Bottom line is that Judge Gassett deferred a decision until August 31 at 11 in his courtroom.

On August 26th, a hearing was held before District Judge Michael Gassett on the Defendants’ motions for summary judgment in the civil rights lawsuit known as Homeowners for Fair Zoning vs. The City of Tulsa and F & M Bank. The issue before the court was whether the Plaintiffs should be allowed to go to trial on their claims for violations of their constitutional right to due process of law in connection with the zoning protests filed under Section 1703(E) of Chapter 42 of the City’s zoning code (the “zoning protest ordinance”). The City and Bank argued that their motions should be granted because they believe that (1) there is a conflict between the City Charter and the zoning protest ordinance’s requirement of higher than a simple majority vote by the City Council and (2) the City’s zoning ordinances and the City Council’s decisions related to them should be considered a matter of only local concern which should not involve full due process requirements or review by the District Court of any aspect of the decision beyond a standard of whether the action was completely “arbitrary and capricious”.

The Plaintiffs were represented by Lou Bullock, Bob Blakemore and John S. Denney. In their briefs filed prior to the hearing, Plaintiffs’ counsel responded to these arguments with extensive citations of authority and a large list of factual issues in dispute which should be determined by the Court at a trial on the merits. At the hearing, Plaintiffs’ counsel presented an abbreviated form of argument preferred by the Court since Judge Gassett had already closely read the briefs. In response to the Defendants’ argument that there is a conflict between the City Charter and the zoning protest ordinance on the issue of whether greater than a simple majority vote can be required in a zoning case when an appropriate number of protests are filed, Mr. Bullock pointed out that, despite being in effect for over 30 years, the City had never chosen to challenge the validity of its own ordinance and did not do so during the rezoning proceedings themselves. It was only upon being sued for civil rights violations that it took the unusual step of declaring that the City Charter’s requirement of a majority vote in zoning cases meant a ‘simple majority’ only and that any higher level vote requirement would conflict with this provision. While not in any way conceding that this interpretation of the Charter was legitimate, Mr. Bullock pointed out that when the City Charter was amended in 1989, the amended Charter’s provisions adopted the then existing City zoning ordinances, including the language of 1703(E) requiring greater than a simple majority vote. If any potential ambiguity existed prior to the Charter’s amendment, it was resolved by the Charter’s specific adoption of the zoning ordinances as they were then worded.

Regarding the Defendants’ contention that the City’s zoning proceedings were matters of strictly local concern and did not invoke or allow for more than a minimal review by the District Court of what occurred in them, Mr. Bullock argued that the Court should consider issues of due process of law and basic fairness in counting of the number of zoning protests to be matters of statewide concern subject to constitutional and statutory protections and requiring a full review of the matter by the District Court.

It was strongly urged that the case should be set for trial and that the Defendants’ motions for summary judgment should be denied. Unless both issues (1) and (2) are resolved in the Defendants’ favor, the case should go to trial.

Judge Gassett paid great attention to the arguments and asked good questions of both sides. He then passed making a decision on the matter to a hearing before him in the same courtroom on August 31st at 11:00 p.m.

Mona Miller, President of Homeowners for Fair Zoning, wishes to thank all those who made phone calls to notify people of the hearing, showed up at the hearing and otherwise helped arrange for people to demonstrate community support for this lawsuit.

Primitive tribe invades NYC


NYC blogger Jessica is on "crazy protester watch" and she thinks she's made her first sighting:

The other girl, with even messier dreads than the first, took out a can of sliced peaches and concentrated on opening it with an unidentified object. It seemed like an object not meant for opening cans, or at least for opening cans very poorly. She would suck out the juice as she slowly made her way around the circle, and would wipe her hands on her dirty pants. The last guy was trying to talk to his companions about a book he was reading. He was analyzing the way the author described primitive human beings, and I could not for the life of me make any sense of his argument. Maybe because he was distracting me by going off on his little tirade while playing jungle gym with the handle bars. The dude looked like a human monkey as he lifted himself up and hung from the ceiling of the subway car.

This is going to be a fun week.

Seriously, without going into any details, I have seen a very significant police presence around town, and contrary to one report I read, the officers look to be vigilant, not goofing around.

Jessica also features a minute-by-minute account of a protest last weekend by Communists for Kerry.

RNC bloggers profiled

| | TrackBacks (1)

The Wall Street Journal has a nice profile of most of the bloggers credentialed for the Republican National Convention. It looks like a good group, certainly a sympathetic group, for the most part. I'm looking forward to meeting them next week. I've already met one of them, Karol Sheinen, who has a great blog called Spot On, and who is a political consultant who worked on Herman Cain's Senate campaign in Georgia. In the WSJ piece, she mentions hoping to hear him speak at the convention -- that would be electrifying. His loss in the primary was a big loss for the party, although we should still take over that open seat from the Democrats.

Fuzzy memories -- by John Kerry


New York talk radio host and blogger Kevin McCullough caught another interesting discrepancy between John Kerry's memories of the '60s and what actually happened. Kevin 's got a sound bite from a Brit Hume report quoting a Kerry speech on Martin Luther King Jr's birthday last year. It's reminiscent of Bill Clinton's "vivid and painful memories" of the burnings of black churches in Arkansas during his childhood.

Go have a listen.

UPDATE: Thanks to Kevin for the nice mention. It was a real pleasure to get to meet him in person and talk politics. Kevin will be covering the convention from Radio Row and on his blog, and you can hear streamed audio of his latest show 24/7 by following this link.

More anti-delegate discrimination


Yesterday Platform Committee staffers were handing out copies of proposed amendments. I asked for a copy and was told that they were only for press. I pointed out that I was a delegate. No dice. I asked if I could have a copy if any were left over. Only reply was a shrug.

I realize that I am not a committee member or a credentialed journalist, but I am a convention delegate and will be voting on this platform in a few days' time. Can't I at least have the scraps from the table?

UPDATE 8/26/2004, 5:00 PM: When education-related amendments were being passed around this afternoon, I gently pressed the issue with another committee staffer, who was kind enough to check with her boss if it was OK for me to have the handout. (There were far more copies than people in the room.) She got the OK, and not only have me a copy then, but made sure I got a copy of a later handout.

Re-reading this, I think it makes me come across as bitter about this, which isn't the case. But the inversion of importance between the media and the delegates does seem absurd, and it's an aspect of the gradual slide of national conventions from real conventions to long-form infomercials.

Palestinian pal


(UPDATED: 5:20 PM)

Platform committee member Cathie Adams of Texas just gave a stirring speech in support of the removal of a platform plank which calls for a Palestinian state within the present borders of Israel. She did not move to have the platform condemn the idea, just to drop advocacy of the idea.

Colo. Gov. Bill Owens, chairman of the subcommittee on the War on Terror, argued for retaining the language, on the grounds that Pres. Bush supports creation of a Palestinian state and so does Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. (Nevermind that Sharon's support was necessitated by pressure from the U. S. State Department.) That's not really an argument, rather it's an appeal to authority.

Bill Owens, someone I had thought might be my pick for President in '08, just dropped several notches in my estimation. I can't support anyone who will defend the policy of pressuring Israel to commit national suicide.

The motion was tabled with a loud voice vote. I understand that the tabling tactic was used on the issue of embryonic stem cell research as well, to avoid taking an up or down vote.

If you wonder why I feel so strongly about this, you need to know about Abigail Litle.

Ramesh Ponnuru of NRO blogged the platform proceedings (start there and scroll up) as he watched via C-SPAN2. The aforementioned R. Novak has published a column saying that the platform is for all practical purposes being dictated by the Bush campaign. Platform proceedings started later than usual (late Tuesday instead of Sunday), and the draft was kept away from everyone, even the committee members, until the committee convened. The list of committee members was kept under wraps, which made it impossible for them to be lobbied for one change or another.

I'm hearing that the harmony on the family subcommittee I mentioned earlier is a side-effect of a very clever maneuver -- herd all the strong social conservatives onto one subcommittee, then put certain contentious issues, like embryonic stem cell research, in the hands of other subcommittees less likely to deviate from the administration's line.

I don't have a problem with showing due deference to Republican elected officials in the drafting of a platform, but neither should elected officials, not even the President, be allowed to dictate the party's position on individual issues or the priority attached to them.

Happy Birthday, Honey Bunny...


...ducky downy, sweetie chicken pie, little ever-lovin' blue-eyed jelly beane*.

After leaving the Platform Committee meeting, I headed downtown to a delightful gathering at an Irish pub called Slainte. Not only did I get to meet Dawn Eden, Petite Powerhouse, her own self, but also many of her blogging friends and her mom and stepdad, Rachel and Ron.

(Ron and Rachel guest-blogged on the Dawn Patrol during Dawn's vacation, relating, in daily installments, the path along which Jesus led them to Himself -- start here and scroll up to read the July installments, then continue here for August's continuation of the story. It's moving reading. And mixed in is a "best of" selection of Dawn's work which is a good intro to her work if you've never before had the pleasure.)

Ron and Rachel had a surprise for Dawn -- a cake in honor of her ninth birthday, if the candle count is to be believed.


There ensued eating of delicious cake (really -- it had all sorts of fillings) and much more conversation and fellowship. Dawn introduced me around to everyone there, and I had a dozen or so fascinating conversations, chiefly about politics and the convention. I actually didn't spend much time talking to Dawn herself, as she was acting as a human mixer (thinking of cake batter here -- that was really good cake), folding people in as they arrived and making introductions. And since we read each other's blogs, we know a lot about each other already. But I did manage to get a snapshot with her before she had to go. (As usual, my eyes are nearly closed.)


* If you spells it with a final E, it's a girl's name.

Perils of phone blogging


Sorry for the multiple posts. I am still getting the hang of using moBlog to post from my phone/PDA. moBlog is telling me posting failed when apparently it succeeded.

Either that, or the radical menace that is Communists for Kerry have hacked my site.

Who's in charge?


Frist has just asked the parliamentarian for a ruling on whether a platform amendment decrying the growth of gambling is germane to this section of the platform. Mr. Chairman, you alone have the authority to make rulings. The parliamentarian can only advise. Surprised none of the committee members made that point of order.

On my right


...about seven seats down, Bob Novak. I thought about asking for an autograph or taking a picture, but there's something unseemly about treating a working journalist like a celeb.

Sen. Bill Frist has just called the Committee on Resolutions (Platform Committee) to order, at about 6:05 pm EST.


Before the session, I spoke to Oklahoma's committee members, Joy Pittman from Tulsa and Skip Healey from Davis (seen above). Joy was on the "Protecting Our Families" subcommittee, chaired by Mississippi Governor and former RNC chairman Haley Barbour. It was the first committee to finish its work, at 10 o'clock this morning, earning a special reward from Frist -- a box of Goo-Goo Clusters, shipped up from Nashville.

Joy said that the subcommittee, which dealt with social issues, was harmonious, conservative, and pro-life. The platform section is very similar to the language in the 2000 platform.

The family subcommittee is the first to report. So far the only amendments offered have been attempting to make the platform even more conservative.

Good news! Bama Corporation plans to renovate the Max Campbell Building, built in 1926, using the second floor as corporate offices, with shops on the street level targeting students from nearby TU.

The handsome old building, which fills the block between Birmingham and Columbia Avenues on the south side of 11th Street, features broad towers on each corner, topped with multicolored tile. It has been the fervent hope of the neighborhood to see this landmark restored. Hats off to Paula Marshall-Chapman and Bama for promoting historic preservation and good urban design. Let's hope that other corporate citizens will follow Bama's example.

One more protest


There will be one more demonstration today in front of the Skelly Building, 4th & Boulder, 11:30 - 12:30.

About 30 protesters showed up last week, collecting signatures on the petition, asking the Whirled's publisher to consider the alternatives. In all, about 700 signatures were presented to the Whirled. But the Whirled is reportedly unwilling to sell the building.

Still, the protests are raising awareness that another piece of cityscape is about to vanish, and various civic groups are working on ways to protect downtown in the future. And what's more, the protests have brought together some great people concerned about downtown and urban design, built some friendships and alliances for the future, and revealed some hitherto hidden leadership skills in the folks who put these protests together.

The summary judgment hearing that was continued from last week is coming up Thursday at 3 p.m., Judge Gassett's courtroom on the fifth floor of the Tulsa County Courthouse.

To repeat what I said earlier: Attorneys for the homeowners say that it would be helpful for people to be in attendance, so that the public interest in the case would be evident. Please note that I am NOT suggesting you call the judge or try to lobby him in any way. Judges do not respond well to that kind of treatment. Just show up if you can -- come early to be in the courtroom on time -- sit quietly and observe the proceedings.

This case is about your ability as a property owner in Tulsa to protect yourself against arbitrary rezoning of neighboring property or your own property. The City Attorney's office is wants the judge to declare protest petitions invalid. The judge and our elected officials need to see that homeowners want these protections to remain in place.

For more, here's the info on the Lewis Crest neighborhood website. Or enter 71st & Harvard in the search box on the right side of my home page.

No vision for justice


At a time when Tulsa County has half a billion dollars for recreation and entertainment projects, the District Court is resorting to do-it-yourself expansion to relieve courtroom overcrowding:

It's been more than a year since former Presiding Judge David Peterson told commissioners that judges would be within their rights to ask the sheriff to build them additional court rooms and send commissioners the bill.

At that time, Peterson said the judges really didn't want to go to that extreme, but he did want to remind commissioners of their statutory duty to provide space.

Judges were promised new space several years ago once the district attorney vacated the fourth floor and moved to new offices on the eighth and ninth floors, once the old jail.

Though it's not exactly what they had in mind, there is a quick fix under way with construction of a temporary courtroom in space vacated by the district attorney more than a year ago. Commissioners are spending about $2,000 on materials and are using county carpenters to construct the temporary courtroom. Workers have already erected walls and will build a simple judge's bench and seating.

"It'll be pretty simple, but it'll work," said Court Administrator Ann Domin.

The temporary courtroom will help Special District Judge David Youll. Parties to his court often don't know where to go since he doesn't have his own court. Youll has to check with the other judges to see when their courtrooms are available. Sometimes they have to switch courtrooms in the middle of a trial.

"It's not a good position to be in for a judge," Domin said.

The lack of courtroom space means justice delayed, and could even mean that prosecutors don't pursue some criminal cases because they won't be able to give the defendant a speedy trial.

It's a familiar pattern: government spends money first on things that aren't necessary, so they can come back to us and demand a tax increase to pay for the essential, basic functions of government -- in this case, public safety and justice.

We're told that we will either have to vote for a new Central Library, in order to free up the current building for courthouse expansion, or else it might be included in the Four to Fix the County renewal in 2006.

Four to Fix the County? Yep. You just thought Vision 2025 gave the County all the money they were going to need for capital projects for the next 13 years, but now they plan to come back for a renewal of a 1/4-cent sales tax first passed in about 1994.

There are several unanswered questions and challenges ahead in deciding how the court's needs can be funded.

A new home for a family court system did not make the cut on the final list of Vision 2025 projects that voters approved last September. The family court plan hinges on voter approval of a bond issue to build a new Central Library at 11th Street and Denver Avenue.

The judges have their eyes on the existing Central Library and already have an architectural design for how it could be converted for court use. They also have an architectural and engineering plan for renovation of the fourth floor.

"I absolutely believe their needs are legitimate," Miller said. "We need to do something; but what that is, I don't know yet."

Miller said one possibility for funding renovations is an extension of the "Four to Fix the County" sales tax, which expires in 2006. County commissioners are already saying they will ask voters for an extension.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be focusing a lot more here and in real life on the Republican National Convention. (Note to the Cockroach Caucus -- I will still be keeping an eye on City Hall, so don't try anything.)

Earlier today I sent the following e-mail to the chairmen of all the state delegations to the Republican National Convention, asking them to forward it on to their states' delegates and alternates. I will let you know what kind of feedback I receive.

Dear fellow delegates,

I'm an at-large delegate from Oklahoma, and I'd like to take a few minutes of your time to call your attention to an important issue.

In just over a week we'll be gathering in New York City to renominate President Bush and Vice President Cheney, and to celebrate our party's achievements at every level of government.

We will also be looking ahead to 2008 -- we as delegates will vote on the rules which will govern the Republican Party until the next convention, including the 2008 presidential nominating process. The decisions we make at this convention will shape the contest for our party's next standard-bearer, and it's important that we make the most of this once-every-four-years opportunity to reexamine our rules.

Going as far back at least 10 years, there has been a growing sense that the current system of front-loaded and plurality-take-all primaries does not serve our party well, and that the problem is only getting worse as more states move their primaries earlier. At best, we may well find ourselves in 2008 in the same awkward position that the Democrats are in this year. The nominating process would be effectively over eight months before the election, and the party would be stuck with a presumptive nominee who fails to inspire the grass roots of the party and fails to appeal to the American electorate as a whole. At worst, the shortened primary season may not give us enough time to learn about the candidates. Damaging information may emerge about the presumptive nominee during the many months between clinching the nomination and the convention. Under the current rules, if such a flawed candidate refused to step aside, the convention would have no choice but to go ahead and nominate him.

Leading up to the 2000 convention, the Brock Commission studied reforms and brought forward a recommendation known as the Delaware Plan, which would have addressed front-loading by putting the most delegate-rich states at the end of the primary calendar. The plan received the endorsement of the Republican National Committee, but in the Rules Committee it was killed as the result of lobbying by political operatives who were focused on short-term advantage rather than the long-term health of the Republican Party. You can read what happened by clicking this link.

Since 2000, the schedule has become even more front-loaded and the problem has only gotten worse. If we waste this opportunity and take a pass on the issue at this convention, it will be four years before there is another opportunity to reform the process, and changes won't take effect until the 2012 primary season.

The word from on high is that no substantive changes to the rules will be brought before the 2004 convention. But ultimately, that decision is up to us, the delegates.

As a grass roots party activist like you, I've worked on countless campaigns, attended countless caucuses and conventions, was the Republican nominee for a city council race, and currently serve as a state committeeman and member of my county's central committee. I don't have a candidate picked out for 2008 or any axe to grind. I'm not committed to any particular reform proposal. I'm just concerned that we have a process in place that will give us the strongest possible nominee as the standard-bearer for our Republican principles in 2008 and beyond.

We can make a difference. The future of the Republican Party has been entrusted to us as delegates to this year's convention. If you agree with me that this convention should address our broken presidential nominating system, if you agree that we can't wait until 2012, take action today:

  1. Contact your state's delegates to the convention Rules Committee and urge them to consider and recommend primary reforms to the convention. Remind them that any Rules Committee member has the right to bring a reform plan up for consideration by moving to amend the proposed rules. Urge them to give the convention as a whole the chance to consider this important issue. Remind them, too, that it only takes 25% of the committee members to write a minority report, which would also come before the convention.
  2. E-mail me at gopreform -at- batesline -dot- com and let me know of your interest in this issue. In order to bring about reform, we will have to be organized and in communication. When you e-mail, let me know the best way to get in touch with you in New York City. If there's sufficient interest, we may organize a meeting prior to the convention's opening.

If you would like more information, please write me at this e-mail address. A web search for Delaware Plan and primaries will lead you to many articles on the reforms proposed in 2000. This website presents nearly a dozen alternative plans for reforming the nominating process, listing the pros and cons of each. Whatever reform proposal you prefer, let's work together to address the problems in our broken nominating system.


Michael D. Bates
Oklahoma at-large delegate

If you've been meaning to show your support for saving the Skelly Building from the Whirled's wrecking ball, today is the day to show up. It looks like it may be the last opportunity. (The Skelly Building is on the northeast corner of 4th & Boulder.)

Here's the official notice:

11:30-12:30 Wednesday in front of the Skelly! Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your pets. This will likely be the last chance we have to hit the pavement in front of the Skelly. Bring your signed petitions, sign one of ours, we are presenting them to the World on Thursday and every name counts.

Petition available here:

And here's the text of the petition:

Robert E. Lorton
Chairman and Publisher
Tulsa World Publishing Co. – Downtown Improvements

We are citizens of a county that voted for Vision 2025 and who care about Tulsa’s future. We wholeheartedly support the arena, library projects and the vision of a revitalized Downtown Tulsa. We believe what we need, in the words of Cesar Pelli, “is a vital downtown where people can work, live and have fun.”

We know you, your family and your newspaper have long been leaders both advocating for, and supporting, a progressive Tulsa. You have shown your support for Vision 2025 and Downtown initiatives. We know you care deeply for our community.

We read with concern that you intend to demolish the Skelly and Froug buildings and replace them with a surface level parking lot across the street from a garage and an Air Conditioning/Heating (HVAC) Building on the prominent corner of Main and Third Street . We the tax payers are now spending $4,200,000 to renovate Main Street to be a more attractive street that will help revitalize downtown. Your plans to build yet another surface level parking lot downtown and a HVAC plant on our newly renovated Main Mall appear strikingly inconsistent with the city’s significant downtown expenditures and the goals of Vision 2025.

We are therefore requesting a meeting between yourselves and members of the Tulsa Area Preservation Society to better understand your reasoning and plans. We respectfully request you delay demolition until all avenues in the private and public sectors can be pursued to meet your needs. Our intention is to find a solution both beneficial to you, and at the same time, be consistent with the ideals of Vision 2025 by preserving Tulsa’s historic buildings.

If this issue is new to you, click here to read previous entries on the topic, and to find links to other sources of information.

Setting up a strawman


Mayor LaFortune opened a new front this morning in the PR offensive against the City Council's Reform Alliance. It took the form of a news story that ran at least once an hour on KRMG. The story was reported like this in the 10 pm newscast:

Some City Hall observers believe continuing opposition to Vision 2025 is the real reason behind feuding on the Tulsa Council. If that's true Mayor LaFortune has a warning for those who may have that agenda: "From their perspective, they should be careful in terms of any kind of roadblocks to 2025 implementation, because within the city of Tulsa two of the propositions passed by 65%, and that is a mandate and a supermajority, and the other two propositions passed by 62%." Recent disputes are pitting one faction against another and against the Mayor on issues from appointments to annexation.

This is toned down considerably from the first version I heard during KRMG's noon newscast. (Sorry, KFAQ, but I can't stand Bill O'Reilly.) The original version used the term "Gang of Five" -- the Tulsa Whirled's term for the Reform Alliance -- and quoted these unnamed observers as saying that four of these five councilors opposed all or part of Vision 2025 at one time or another.

It seemed very odd to me that KRMG would go to the Mayor for a soundbite reaction to a concern raised by anonymous City Hall observers. It also seemed odd that he would have a well-rehearsed answer to this off-the-wall question. Clearly the point of the story is to create an association in the minds of those who hear it, to plant the idea in the listener's mind that behind every debate, behind every difference of opinion at City Hall -- behind the airport investigation and the disputes over northward annexation, extending water lines, reappointments to trust boards, and allocation of Federal block grant funds -- lurks a secret scheme to sabotage Vision 2025.

I learned later that the Mayor had been at some Chamber-related event and took questions. Someone (don't know who, as I write this) made some comments akin to those reported in the story, and the Mayor had a ready response. It has all the hallmarks of a planted question and manufactured news, and I expect there will be a story in tomorrow's Whirled, followed by an another hysterical editorial in Wednesday's Whirled.

I suspect that the PR flacks running this coordinated assault have finally figured out that Tulsans admire councilors who do their job and ask tough questions on behalf of their constituents ("meddle," in the Whirled's view). So on to the next attack. Vision 2025 is popular, they must be thinking, so let's create the impression that these councilors are out to derail Tulsa's express train to prosperity. I suspect they are using focus groups and polls to see which accusations will do the most damage to the Reform Alliance.

The assertion which is the foundation of this story -- that four of the five Reform Alliance councilors opposed all or part of Vision 2025 at one time or another -- is so broad as to be meaningless, as it would include anyone who publicly expressed, for example, a moment's doubt about the wisdom of the $350 million subsidy proposed for Boeing or the value of building new swimming pools when we can't open the pools we already have.

Of the Reform Alliance, only Sam Roop was the only one publicly and uncritically supportive of the entire package. Chris Medlock supported propositions 2, 3, and 4. Medlock opposed the Boeing proposition -- which didn't come to fruition anyway -- and expressed concern only about matters of oversight and the handling of money with both City and County involved. He is also concerned that, as key decisions are made about City of Tulsa Vision projects, that the elected representatives of the people, not the unelected advisory committees, have the final say.

Jack Henderson started out in opposition, but ultimately supported the entire package. I don't know where Roscoe Turner and Jim Mautino stood -- they weren't elected officials when the package was before the voters, and they weren't involved publicly in the debate. By the time the election came along, the debate and election was in the past. I do know that they are very concerned about infrastructure problems in their underserved districts, and I suspect that they would place basic infrastructure well ahead of lifestyle amenities on the city priority list. Whatever concerns these councilors may have about the projects and their implementation, everything points to a desire on their part to make these projects successful at accomplishing their purpose of reviving Tulsa's economic prospects.

The notion that someone who opposed part or even all of Vision 2025 would work to frustrate its completion is nonsense, unless you buy into the paranoid notion that those who opposed Vision 2025 hate our city and want to see it die. (For those who do buy into that, you might want to make yourself a tinfoil hat for protection against mind-control rays.)

As a spokesman for the opposition to Vision 2025, I think I am qualified to speak on this matter. We didn't oppose Vision 2025 because we opposed the individual projects per se -- if we could have had them without raising taxes and without raising government operating expenses, our objections would disappear. We opposed Vision 2025 because we believed (and still believe) that raising sales taxes is not the right way to grow the economy; because we believed that the projects would not solve our short term jobs problem nor lay a foundation for future prosperity; because we believed that public improvements should be funded within existing revenue streams, as existing sales taxes and bond issues expired; because we were concerned that a new arena would be a drain on the public treasury, not a boon; because we oppose favoring certain companies with hundreds of millions of dollars while neglecting the needs of homegrown small businesses; because we think it unwise to put entertainment and leisure facilities ahead of basic infrastructure and public safety.

Now that the tax has passed and all but the Boeing part has gone into effect, those of us who opposed Vision 2025 are committed to making sure that the projects are built as promised, that there is adequate oversight on how the money is spent and managed, that Vision 2025 contracts aren't distributed based on political favoritism, but based on who can provide the best value to the taxpayer. I don't think the arena will fix downtown, but I made suggestions on places to put it that would create more synergy with developments in Brady Heights and the Blue Dome District, and I am pleased that a world-class architect was chosen to design the facility.

In the same spirit, the Council's Reform Alliance is simply concerned that what Tulsa city government does is done right, for the benefit of all Tulsans, not just a favored few. Why would the Mayor, the Cockroach Caucus, or the Tulsa Whirled have a problem with that?

Scott Sala of Slant Point is one of the bloggers given official press credentials by the RNC for the Republican National Convention. One of his recent entries has an up-to-date list of credentialed bloggers. He also asks for ideas:

I still am soliciting ideas for angles to cover. Lots of people recommended issue that are getting sidelined - like choice, religion and others that may not portray such an Urban Republican message. Let me know any thoughts. Thanks.

Here's an angle for the convention bloggers: Any controversy likely to be associated with the convention will happen the preceding week, during the platform and rules committee meetings. Plan to attend and cover these meetings and talk to the delegates who are on the committees. I don't have a complete schedule, but I understand that Platform Committee sessions begin Tuesday, August 24, and will continue daily through the week. Rules Committee is only scheduled to have a single meeting on Friday, August 27.

The issues Scott mentions above, and many other contentious issues, will be discussed in the Platform Committee and its subcommittees. Committee members will be working with the 2000 platform, platforms submitted by the state Republican parties, and input provided to the convention website. The aim will be to keep the base happy while avoiding any public show of disunity during the convention proper. While a major challenge to the President's positions on the issues is not expected, any of the members of the committee (two from each state) could take the initiative on a pet issue.

One issue that may not be on your radar screen is immigration. There is a lot of grassroots discontent with the President's immigration policy. It was evident in resolutions submitted by precinct caucuses to the Tulsa County Republican Convention Platform Committee (which I headed this year) -- it was one of the three most often expressed sentiments, the other two being support for a strong pro-life plank in the platform and support for the President's execution of the War on Terror, including military action against Saddam Hussein. Oklahoma's state platform reflects the same concern about the consequences of Bush's immigration policy, which many consider an amnesty, for all practical purposes, which will encourage a surge in illegal immigration. Any disconnect between the President and the grassroots is where controversy is likeliest to erupt.

The Rules Committee will recommend a set of rules to govern this convention and the rules which will govern the party until the 2008 convention, including the rules for the presidential nominating process. At the 2000 convention, there was a detailed proposal for reforming the process which had been hammered out by a special task force over several years and was going to be recommended by the Republican National Committee's permanent Committee on Rules to the convention's Rules Committee. At the last minute, the Bush campaign pressured the committee to pull the proposed changes off of the table. I hear that the permanent Committee on Rules isn't making any recommendations for significant reforms this year, but that doesn't preclude a group of the convention's Rules Committee members from taking the initiative and making a proposal of their own. In my opinion, it would be a lost opportunity if the issue wasn't debated at all.

To prepare yourselves for covering these committee meetings, be sure to review the rules and platform adopted by the 2000 Convention. And feel free to e-mail this delegate and long-time party activist with any questions you may have. (And don't miss this entry on what being a delegate is all about.)

In the full-court press to secure the reappointment of Jim Cameron and Lou Reynolds to the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority, the Whirled and others have repeatedly praised the two for their role in settling the lawsuit with poultry companies over poultry waste pollution in the watershed of Lakes Spavinaw and Eucha, major sources for Tulsa drinking water. Their leadership, we are told, is why the City must have them continue their service on the TMUA board, and why it was irresponsible for the City Council to reject their reappointment.

Just how good was the settlement they achieved for the City of Tulsa? Here's the front page from the July 17, 2003 Tulsa Whirled (jump page here):

The city of Tulsa and its utility authority will receive $7.5 million from six poultry companies the city sued over pollution in creeks and streams that feed two city water-supply reservoirs, Lake Spavinaw and Lake Eucha. The money will be used to pay the city’s attorney fees and litigation expenses, with none left to reimburse the city for the $4 million it has spent treating taste and odor problems in its water supply.

Of the $7.5 million, $200,000 will go to the city for out-of-pocket expenses, and the remaining $7.3 million will go to Oklahoma City law firm McKinney & Stringer. The firm is receiving $600,000 for out-of-pocket costs and the rest in cash and deferred payments, said Jim Cameron, Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority chairman.

Some deal. $7.3 million in attorney's fees but no reimbursement for the the cost of dealing with the damage the City of Tulsa suffered. The spinners argue that we got the poultry integrators to agree to clean up the watershed -- or rather, not to make it worse -- but it remains to be seen whether that will come to pass. The money Tulsa spent to make its once-pristine water palatable again is a tangible loss that was not addressed by the settlement. As long as the lawyers are happy, right?

400,000 people live in Tulsa, and there is no compelling reason why these two gentlemen should be selected over the remaining 399,998 to serve on this board.

Full court press on Roop


Will he or won't he? Will City Councilor Sam Roop continue to stand firm with the bipartisan majority alliance which is working to open and clean up Tulsa city government? Or will his knees buckle under the pressure of a coordinated PR effort to get him to abandon the reform process which has been his goal throughout his long tenure on the Council?

The Whirled has run an article or an editorial nearly every day over the last two weeks trashing the City Council's majority, principally over their refusal to approve Mayor LaFortune's reappointment of Lou Reynolds and Jim Cameron to the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA) board. Sam Roop figures prominently in every article, including being the one councilor whose name appears in a David Simpson cartoon portraying the Council majority as running a torture chamber. Early this last week, KRMG talk show host John E. L. Frette (who uses the stage name "John Erling") phoned staffers at the City Council office to inquire about the process for recalling a councilor, and then launched an on-air campaign focusing on turning Councilor Sam Roop out of office.

Last Sunday Tulsa Whirled editorialist Ken Neal called the Council majority a "wrecking crew" and urged Mayor Bill LaFortune to use his "bully pulpit" to pressure the Council into approving the reappointment of Reynolds and Cameron. Lo and behold, Mayor LaFortune spoke to the Tulsa Rotary Club this week and made a special point to praise Reynolds and Cameron and urge their reappointment. Either the Mayor is doing Ken Neal's bidding, or they are both part of a coordinated offensive to break the Council majority and get Cameron and Reynolds reappointed.

(Anyone else find it ironic that the Whirled would call anyone else a wrecking crew when the Whirled is in the process of wrecking two more downtown buildings?)

And now today, Janet Pearson of the Whirled's editorial board, in a display of Olympic-class synchronized smearing with Mr. Frette, threatens that there is a groundswell of support to remove the majority councilors by recall, in an opinion piece with the subhead, "Is there a people's revolt in the making?" She repeats in a single paragraph the same old slams. Once again, at the end of the piece, the focus is on Sam Roop:

There's some reason for hope in the short term. Some observers think Roop, who showed he has genuine leadership and statesmanlike abilities in previous years, might come to his senses and distance himself from the fractious faction. There have been recent signs he is willing to rejoin the progressive and rational side.

Janet's playing "good cop" to Ken Neal's "bad cop", evidently.

What you are seeing is a full-out PR offensive to trash the Council, to cast doubt on their investigation of the Tulsa Airport Authority, and to pressure Sam Roop into joining the Cockroach Caucus. The offensive appears to be coordinated by Schnake Turnbo Frank, the politically-connected PR firm that ran the Vision 2025 campaign. Earlier this week, a businessman told me that his firm pays what he described as exorbitant monthly consulting fees to Schnake Turnbo, because of the firm's connections with the Tulsa Whirled -- it's a way to ensure that favorable stories are published about the company and that unfavorable stories would be suppressed. We can certainly understand why you'd want to have a firm like that beating the drum for you.

Steve Turnbo, the firm's CEO, headed up the PR effort to get public funds for for Great Plains Airlines, also serving as the airline's spokesman. He was seen recently at the City Council offices with Great Plains CEO David Johnson, looking to speak with any City Councilors they could find.

Margaret Frette (alias "Margaret Erling") is the wife of the radio talk show host mentioned above, who uses his stage name in her career as a lobbyist, is a lobbyist for Great Plains Airlines at the State Capitol. She had a key role in persuading legislators to subsidize the startup airline. The investment made by Great Plains in hiring her appears to continue to pay dividends, as her husband is using his microphone to put the pressure on Councilor Sam Roop, who happens to be heading the Council investigation into the Tulsa Airport Authority and their dealings with Great Plains Airlines.

(Another interesting connection: She was with Schnake Turnbo before going out on her own. And here is her most recent lobbyist registration form, filed on June 24, 2004, and links to all the forms she has filed since the beginning of 2003.)

So why the focus on Sam Roop? Not only is Roop the key councilor on the airport investigation, but he is seen as the likeliest to break with the rest of the bipartisan Council majority. Roop is by temperament conciliatory. He does not like what he calls power politics. Just before this spring's city elections, he refused to press the issue of the zoning protest petition process because the timing would make some of his colleagues, who opposed this basic protection for property owners, vulnerable to defeat in the elections.

Following the Council's July 29 vote to deny reappointment to Cameron and Reynolds, Roop was approached by Council Chairman Randy Sullivan to persuade him to move to reconsider the reappointments at a special meeting on Thursday, August 5, at 4 p.m. Roop attempted to put the item on the agenda, but due to a posting error, the item could not be considered because there was not sufficient public notice. Roop actually made the motion to reconsider, which was seconded by Sullivan, who was chairing the meeting -- an unusual departure from tradition. Councilor Roscoe Turner called attention to the posting error, and Council Attorney Drew Rees noted that this was the same situation as the motion to reconsider approval of the Owasso water line, when City Attorney Martha Rupp Carter ruled that acting without proper notice put the Council in danger of violating the open meeting act.

(Mayor LaFortune showed up at this same meeting to denounce the Council for their refusal to approve his reappointment of Cameron and Reynolds. Sadly, the performance was not captured by the TGOV camera -- it was already in the Council room for the 6 p.m. regular meeting.)

I've followed Sam Roop's career closely, and I've seen him withstand an amazing amount of pressure from the Whirled, from Mayor Savage, and the rest of the city establishment. He has suffered in years past from the lack of a majority of councilors to support his efforts to scrutinize and reform city government. Now that he has the support of four other reform-minded councilors, I am hopeful that he will remain a pillar of this bipartisan coalition, rather than seek refuge in the empty promises of the enemies of reform. Time will tell.

Exposing Democrat dirty tricks


Keith Gaddie of is shedding light on a deceptive push-poll designed to alienate pro-life supporters of Dr. Tom Coburn:

The newest dirty campaign in Oklahoma is the person or persons who are calling around the state, performing a push-poll and asking the respondents if they would vote for Dr. Tom Coburn if they knew he had performed abortions. There are two reprehensible acts here, and I intend to lay both to rest right here and now. The first is the portrayal of Tom Coburn as an abortionist. The second is the use of the push-polling technique.

First, with regard to Dr. Tom Coburn and abortions: Tom Coburn freely admits that, on two occasions, he terminated pregnancies in order to save the life of the mother. He also stated in a debate last month that, definitely, if he had to end a pregnancy to save the life of a mother, he would do so.

Let us talk about the pregnancies Tom Coburn terminated. As I understand it from people who should know (people who spoke to Coburn about this matter), both of the pregnancies he terminated were what are called ectopic pregnancies....

This type of pregnancy is non-viable. In other words, there is no chance of the safe and normal development of the baby, no prospect for carrying an ectopic pregnancy to term and delivering a baby....

To equate the termination of an ectopic pregnancy with an elective abortion is at best ignorant, at worst politics at its most-mean-spirited and guttural.

So Dr. Tom Coburn did not perform abortions. He terminated two nonviable pregnancies of the sort that constitute a grave threat to the life of the expectant mother.

Second, about push-polling: A push-poll is a telephone campaigning technique disguised as an opinion poll. Push polls are used to spread disinformation about candidates by couching questions into a context, such as asking the question “would you vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?” Whether or not there is any basis in fact for the assertion is secondary to the effect of spreading the disinformation. Bush political guru Karl Rove has been termed “the Prince of Push Polls” for his effective use of this questionable campaign technique. has more details, with links, about both ectopic pregnancy and push-polling. Right now the item is at the top of the page, but be aware that it will move down the page in days to come.

71st & Harvard hearing delayed


The summary judgment hearing in Homeowners for Fair Zoning et al. v. City of Tulsa and F & M Bank and Trust Company has been delayed until 3 pm, Thursday, August 26. Change your calendars accordingly.

Greek letter societies


The parade of nations, opening the Olympic Games in Athens, is being conducted in alphabetical order according to the Greek name for each nation. I took a couple of semesters of Greek in college, so I wasn't surprised to see the "Saint" countries at the front of the line, with places named for female saints (e.g. St. Lucia) preceding places named for male saints (e.g. St. Vincent, San Marino), because the Greek word for "Saint" is also the word for "holy": Άγία (hagia) is the feminine nominative singular form of the adjective, Άγιος (hagios) is the masculine equivalent. That little quote mark in front of the alpha -- a rough breathing mark, actually -- is sounded as English "h", and sometimes proceeds a vowel at the beginning of a word, but doesn't affect the alphabetical order. The "Z" countries get to come much earlier than usual -- zeta is the 6th letter of the Greek alphabet, while countries beginning with "Ph" or "F" come near the end, because phi is the 21st letter.

More puzzling was seeing some countries whose names begin in "B" in English in the expected order -- Belgium, Bermuda, Bosnia, Bolivia, Brazil -- while others marched in the midst of the Ms -- Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Benin, Botswana. I caught a glimpse of one of the country name signs, and it looked like the Greek version of the names of the latter group began with ΜΠ -- "mp" if we wrote it in the Roman alphabet.

A quick Google turned up this list of country names in Greek. Barbados in Greek is Μπαρμπάντος -- Mparmpantos. Botswana is Μποτσουάνα -- Mpotsouana.

The only explanation I can think of for this is that in modern Greek, beta is pronounced closer to the English "v" (Vietnam and Vanuatu got to march close to the front with the rest of the beta nations), so the mu-pi combination may be the only way to represent the wholly foreign sound of an English "b".

UPDATE 8/14: The hearing has been postponed to August 26th.

UPDATE: The correct time is 3:00 pm. Changed below.

The lawsuit filed by homeowners late last year over the violation of their civil rights by city officials in the 71st & Harvard / F&M Bank zoning case will be before Judge Michael Gassett Monday, August 16, at 3:00 pm, in the Tulsa County Courthouse. Here's a link to the case file on OSCN for Homeowners for Fair Zoning et al. v. City of Tulsa and F&M Bank and Trust Company. On Monday Judge Gassett will hear a motion for summary judgment from the attorneys for the City of Tulsa and F&M Bank, which, if granted, would end the trial before the case can be heard on its merits. Monday is also a scheduling conference to determine when the trial will proceed.

Attorneys for the homeowners say that it would be helpful for people to be in attendance, so that the public interest in the case would be evident. Please note that I am NOT suggesting you call the judge or try to lobby him in any way. Judges do not respond well to that kind of treatment. Just show up if you can -- come early to be in the courtroom on time -- sit quietly and observe the proceedings.

Seen on 21st Street

| about Evanston: a faded maroon Volvo, license plate TCTA, with this bumper sticker: "God please save me from your followers."

What does TCTA stand for? "Tulsa Classroom Teachers Association" is my guess. That's the Tulsa Public Schools local of the National Educational Association.

"I'm melting! Melting!"

"Who would have thought that some little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?"

The Tulsa Whirled editorial board is madder than the Wicked Witch of the East when Dorothy doused her with water. Read over the witch's speech -- that's a pretty good fit with what the Whirledlings, the Chamber Pots, and the whole Cockroach Caucus must be thinking right now. They just don't have total control of City Hall any more, and does it ever frustrate them.

You need to keep in mind that in the months to come the Cockroach Caucus will do anything and say anything to restore things the way they were before the voters of Tulsa voted to take their city back and elect leaders who would look out for all Tulsans, not just the favored few. They may stop short of outright lies, but remember that media bias expresses itself most forcefully in the selection of what will be reported, and in the careful selection of descriptive words to insinuate meanings that can't be supported by the plain facts.

The Whirled whined today about the Council's allocation of this year's Community Development Block Grant funds. The Whirled's main problem seems to be the fact that there was a debate over how to allocate the funds and this debate was held in full view of the public.

It's funny that the Whirled takes the opportunity to condemn the Council's majority (they call them the "Gang of Five") when the final allocation passed by a 7-2 vote. The only two holdouts were the Whirled's most favorite Councilors. They passed up the opportunity to condemn Councliors Christiansen and Sullivan, who also participated in the reallocation of funds from the original recommendation.

CDBG is a chunk of money from the Federal Government to be used to help people who live in low-income areas of cities. As a "block grant", it's left up to the city government to decide, within Federal regulations, how the money is to be spent. Some of the money goes for projects which will be run by non-profits, other money is spent by the City itself, for example through the Tulsa Development Authority for "urban renewal" projects.

Under Mayor Susan Savage, the allocation process was simple: The Mayor decided how all the money would be split up and submitted her recommendation to the Council. For the Council to deviate from the Mayor's allocation, it would mean taking money from an organization already expecting to receive it, therefore making the Council the bad guys. To get CDBG money, it helped if your organization's director traveled in the Mayor's social circles. It helped even more if your organization was NOT faith-based in any way.

With the change in administrations in 2002, the Council adopted a new process that has worked to ensure that the same sorts of organizations continued to get the money. A committee run by the Whirled's favorite Councilors -- Susan Neal and Tom Baker -- and staffed by the aide they share, and including "subject matter experts" selected by Neal and Baker, made the initial recommendation for allocations. The Mayor's Office had a hand in this initial recommendation as well. The recommendation then went through the normal Council committee process, and like any other motion, was open for amendment when it came up for consideration by the full Council.

Councilor Medlock had this to say about the process on the TulsaNow forums:

The ultimate problem is, there are far too many worthy programs and projects chasing too few dollars. Many of our more successful social service programs have become reliant on CDBG for most, if not all, of their operating expenses.

As such, it becomes very difficult for new programs to get funding, as well as one time projects like what the Arts & Humanities Council and Neighbor for Neighbor are proposing.

The difficult choice we are left with is, defund ongoing programs to fully fund one time projects, or offer a small percentage of what is needed and hope that each group can leverage the public infusion of funds with enough private and foundation money to be successful.

Never a fun time of year.

One observer says that Baker and Neal, who represent affluent areas, approach the process as if the social service agencies are the target beneficiaries for these funds. In other words, they tend to see the agencies as ends in themselves, and in terms of the people who run them and work for them, rather than means to an end. Councilors like Henderson, Medlock, and Turner, who represent most of the poorer neighborhoods, regard the poor and needy as the people who should be served by this money, and aren't necessarily concerned about the impact on an agency, which is just a means to an end.

Great googly moogly


Lynn of Reflections in d minor links to the results of a worldwide survey of 1000 linguists, which asked what words (English or otherwise) are the most untranslatable into other languages. Googly, a tricky pitch (sorry, bowl) in cricket, was number five on the list of untranslatable English words.

A word translates easily when the same concept exists in two different cultures. Sometimes a concept described by a word is unusual but not unheard of in the second, and you might be able to translate the word with a short phrase. When you need a whole paragraph (and possibly photographs and diagrams) to explain a word, you've got something truly untranslatable.

An untranslatable word often becomes a borrowed word, when it corresponds to an idea that has yet to receive a name in the second language. The Arabic word altahmam (a kind of deep sadness) and the Portugese word saudade (a type of longing) might come in handy when trying to express shades of emotion, just as that box of 64 crayons lets you draw with more subtlety than the box of 8.

I tried to find out more about selathirupavar, a Tamil word for a sort of truancy, but a Google search instead turned up versions of the article about untranslatable words in dozens of languages.

I wasn't familiar with one word in the top 10 English untranslatables: bumf, which this site says is short for bum-fodder, a term that goes back to the 17th century to refer to printed matter useful only to be hung in the privy for sanitary purposes. Outdated issues of the Sears Roebuck catalog, for example. Fishwrap comes to mind as a near-synonym. Bumf is ripe for borrowing. I see possibilities in the Latin equivalent anitergium for forming derivative words -- e.g., anitergic literature, which should be filling your mailbox as election day draws near, or which appears on your doorstep daily, if you're a Whirled subscriber.

"Grilled" Schuller?


UPDATE 8/9/2004: After viewing the complete segment of the hearing on TGOV 24, I've added some detail and reorganized this entry somewhat. The conversation between the Council committee and Stephen Schuller was so bland, so calm, and so brief that it makes the Whirled's hysterical editorial look even more ridiculous. Just as C-SPAN began to destroy the mainstream media's monopoly on coverage of Congress, TGOV (channel 24 on Cox Cable) gives Tulsa citizens the chance to see for themselves how the Council is conducting itself and to compare reality to the Whirled's spin and bias.

UPDATE 8/16/2004: Received an e-mail from J. Scott Dickman, who is mentioned below, with a correction about his employment.

Your comments dated August 9, 2004 stated that I am the Chief Financial Officer of Avalon Oil plc ("Avalon Oil"). Please be advised that I resigned as an officer and member of the board of directors of Avalon Oil effective June 30, 2001. I remain Of Counsel with the firm of Titus, Hillis & Reynolds as well as Chairman and C.E.O. of Pinnacle Packaging Company, Inc. here in Oklahoma and Oracle Packaging Company in North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois & Ohio.

I have made appropriate changes below.

"Appointee grilled by city councilors" was the headline over the Whirled's Wednesday story about Tuesday's Council Committee meeting, in which attorney Stephen A. Schuller was presented to the Council for reappointment to the Tulsa Authority for the Recovery of Energy, which handles trash collection in the northwestern part of the City and oversees operation of the controversial trash-to-energy incinerator on West 21St Street. He was first appointed in November 2002 by Mayor LaFortune. Schuller is a zoning and real estate attorney who appears regularly before city boards representing clients seeking zoning relief or amendment.

From what I saw of the committee meeting, the Councilors asked a few questions about Schuller's background. Here's the way it was recorded in the meeting notes on the Council's website. (No way to link directly, but search agendas for "Schuller" and you'll find it.)

CM [Chris Medlock] asked about Schuller's specilization as an attorney. Real estate and international law was the answer. He was also asked about the scope of the TARE. Supervises in the trash collection of the NW quadrant of the City. Contract for renewal for energy expires soon. He gave a brief operational history. Positive comments were made as well as a remark on his attendance. Bankruptcy issue in the past has been resolved.

The positive comments came from Councilor Randy Sullivan, who spoke of his personal knowledge of Schuller. Christiansen made the comment about his attendance record, missing only one meeting since his appointment. "Bankruptcy issue" refers to the bankruptcy of the company operating the trash-to-energy plant.

The Whirled's story adds that Schuller was asked about "a specific client of the law firm for which he works." I'm not sure why the Whirled story omitted this detail, but the question was from Councilor Roscoe Turner, and it was whether Schuller's law firm still represented the Tulsa Whirled. (See below.) Schuller replied that the attorney who represented the Whirled left the firm about the time Schuller joined the firm in 1998.

The Council didn't reject Stephen Schuller's reappointment, the first presented to the Council under their new rule for appointments. They've just asked some questions. No one's voice was raised. No accusations were made. Medlock said that the Council may want to have Schuller reply to written questions, in accord with the Council's new approach to vetting appointments to and authorities. Schuller replied that that he'd be happy to answer further questions. The agenda item was complete in about 10 minutes. No one was upset or distressed.

The facts don't provide any justification for the use of the word "grilled" in the headline, nor does the text of the Whirled's own story, but that doesn't stop the editorial board from fulminating about a "witch hunt" in the following day's lead editorial:

The latest outrage was on Tuesday, when two members of the Gang of Five needlessly and shamelessly grilled an authority member about his work and background for no good reason. The latest witch hunt comes on the heels of the council’s 5-4 rejection of two long-time authority members who were treated in a similarly contemptible fashion....

If there were some reason to suspect Schuller is unfit to serve on the TARE board, that would be one thing. But there is not. In fact he, like the two others receiving shabby treatment in recent days, has served respectably and honorably.

So from the Whirled's perspective, asking polite questions about an appointee to a board -- an important city board which regulates trash rates and will soon be deciding whether to renew a contract with the operator of the trash-to-energy incinerator -- is needless, shameless, and contemptible. As we know, the Whirled's standard for the ideal city councilor is a lobotomized monkey, wired up to be controlled from the Whirled's offices.

The Whirled also treats an appointment to a board as a right -- from their perspective, the burden of proof should be on those who wish to take it away. Instead, the burden of proof ought to be on the Mayor to make the case for any appointment he presents to the Council. The Council should diligently inquire about a nominee's business interests and look for any potential conflict of interest regarding the nominee's interests or those of his partners and associates. In fact, the Council, on July 29th, amended their rules to lengthen the time between when the Mayor presents a nominee and when the nominee may be considered by the full Council, so that there is time to vet a nominee properly.

The Whirled maintains that Schuller, Reynolds, and Coleman have served respectably and honorably. Perhaps they have, but do they expect the City Council and the people of Tulsa whom they represent to accept that assertion as fact?

The Whirled's hissy fit about this is suspicious. At the very least, this is part of a campaign to discredit and defeat the members of the Council's working majority in 2006, and also to discredit any results from the Council's investigation of the Tulsa Airport Authority.

SO who is Stephen Schuller?

Mr. Schuller has some interesting connections: Mr. Schuller is with the law firm of Boone, Smith, Davis, Hurst & Dickman. The late Byron V. Boone, whose father founded the firm, was a partner in the firm and was also for 30 years the publisher of the Tulsa Whirled. The "Dickman" in the firm name is J. Jerry Dickman, who is the father of J. Scott Dickman, who is of counsel with Barkley Titus Hillis and Reynolds, the current law firm which represents the Tulsa Whirled. J. Scott Dickman was (prior to June 30, 2001) also Chief Financial Officer of Avalon Oil Plc, of which Council Chairman Randy Sullivan is CEO. It's a small world.

Schuller is a former law partner of Brent Mills and together they incorporated Spartan Aviation Industries, which now owns Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology (formerly Spartan School of Aeronautics). Mills is Spartan's chief operating officer, is registered agent for Spartan Housing Industries, LLC, and was a classmate of Councilor Susan Neal in Leadership Oklahoma Class XV.

Schuller represented the Guier Woods neighborhood in F&M's 2001 attempt to get zoning approval for a branch at 71st & Harvard. He was a planning district co-chairman back in the early '90s and represented some of his own neighbors to stop Southwestern Bell from installing a cell tower in the bell tower of Southside Christian Church.

The TARE board is very important. Decisions by previous boards have resulted in big trash rate increases in recent years, and the upcoming decisions on the trash-to-energy plant will have an impact on Tulsa's fiscal health and environmental quality for decades to come. The Council should continue to do what we elected them to do back in March -- ensure that the people running our city agencies are doing so with the best interests of the citizens at heart. There's no harm in asking and answering some polite questions.

Tulsa's own C-SPAN


Long before Fox News, before Rush Limbaugh did talk radio, before the emergence of the blogosphere, even before CNN, there was C-SPAN, which gave America the opportunity to see for themselves how Congress works, unmediated by newspapers and TV networks, and unmodified by unanimous consent requests to "revise and extend" remarks in the Congressional Record. C-SPAN marked its 25th anniversary this year. Without even trying, C-SPAN deserves a lot of credit for the end of Democrat rule in the House of Representatives in the 1994 election.

For many years, Tulsa's weekly City Council meetings were broadcast using C-SPAN's channel, preempting the network's programming for as long as the meeting lasts. Now the City has a dedicated channel on Cox Cable Tulsa, TGOV channel 24, which broadcasts the regular City Council meeting, City Council Tuesday committee meetings, and meetings of the City of Tulsa Board Of Adjustment and the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission. The channel also features some specially produced programs, like "This Week at City Hall" and "Talk of the Town". Last week's schedule is online here. I suspect they will follow this general pattern, although adjustments may occur as meetings in a given week are longer or shorter. Up-to-date listings should be on the TV Guide Channel (channel 2 on Cox Cable); TV Guide Channel's listings are also online -- free registration.

This is a wonderful development, as it gives us a chance to see for ourselves what goes on at these meetings and how our public officials are conducting themselves. Bright light tends to send the cockroaches scurrying away, and we've noticed that a camera in the room has an interesting effect. And I imagine this meeting might have been different had the cameras been running.

Speaking of bugs, there are still a few to be worked out. Remember the Saturday Night Live parody of C-SPAN's coverage of a 1992 Democratic Presidential debate? The intro included the line, "Our C-SPAN camera -- the only one we have -- is there." It seems that TGOV only has one camera at its disposal, which it must use at the Council Committee room for those meetings and over at the Francis Campbell Council chambers, where the regular meetings of the Council, BoA, and TMAPC are held. Remember this -- it will be important in a later item.

Catching up with the Council


Between celebrating my son's birthday and playing hosts to some friends passing through town, I've gotten behind on filling you in on all that's been happening down at City Hall. It's been an eventful week or two, and if you only get your local news from the Tulsa Whirled, you don't know the entire story. (Why should that surprise anyone?)

In the next few entries, I'll cover the Council's "grilling" of Stephen Schuller, the awarding of Community Development Block Grants, the attempt to get the Council to reconsider their rejection of Lou Reynolds and Jim Cameron, and the issue of the arena location and eminent domain. If I have any energy left, I'll tackle Ken Neal's hysterical opinion piece in today's Whirled.

Skelly/Froug's update


The Tulsa Whirled's exterior demolition of the Froug's Building, 3rd & Main, is underway.

Protests will continue each Wednesday, 11:30 - 12:30 in front of the Skelly Building, 4th & Boulder.

The Tulsa Beacon gave the Skelly Building front-page treatment, with a photo and comments from protestors. (Story will be replaced Thursday -- sure would be nice if the Beacon would find a way to archive their main stories and keep it accessible.)

Architect Paul Uttinger has a great letter in this week's Urban Tulsa. Some key paragraphs:

The Tulsa World and Lorton family are great supporters of the performing arts, but there is an opportunity now for them to become true champions of the building arts, where a reinvigorated city center and good urban design are paramount. The argument is not one of private property rights. As owners of the Skelly Building, the executives of World Publishing are free to do with their property as they see fit.

But in a true city, there’s an underlying implication that private property owners will develop their land with civility and with respect toward the public. When a building such as the Skelly is taken down, the general public expects something better to be built in its place. In the urban context, a parking lot is not better than a building.

Even as a vacant structure, the Skelly provides two important street walls facing Fourth and Boulder. With the Skelly Building removed, the south side of the World Building will be exposed to public view. In its current condition, the south face of the World Building is far more unattractive than the vacant hulk of the Skelly.

There seems to be someone with a viable proposal for buying the Skelly Building and making use of available tax incentives to redevelop it as housing. But will the Whirled entertain an offer?

Finally, someone has made a "modest proposal" as an alternative to demolishing downtown one building at a time.

Joseph is 8


Today was Joseph's eighth birthday. He woke up excited and ready to go -- Grandma (my mom) was taking him to Petco to buy a couple of hermit crabs and all their accessories. He has studied and enjoyed the toads and the tadpoles and the goldfish in the backyard, but he has never before had a real pet. Now Rocky and Rainbow are in an aquarium in his room. He is determined to know everything about them and the right way to take care of them.

Next Grandma took him and a friend he made in her neighborhood to the Oklahoma Aquarium. We have a membership, and he loves going there. The highlight of the visit was the new stingray touch tank. Joseph loved feeding the stingrays at SeaWorld Orlando and was a little disappointed that there weren't any at the park in San Antonio, so it's exciting to have these gentle and graceful creatures so close to home. Grandma let him pick a small item from the gift shop. He thought about getting a box of shark's teeth, but thought he might lose them one by one, so instead he picked out a shark's tooth necklace, reasoning he'll be able to keep track of it better.

Grandma brought him home, and his other Grandmother and his Great Aunt Mildred took him and his little sister swimming at the neighborhood pool. After a rough start last summer (early morning swim class outdoors in early June -- not a pleasant experience), he has become confident in the water, especially with his new goggles and flippers, but even without.

Back at home, Joe took his crabs out of the cage and watched them walk around. They're quicker than you might think.

For his birthday dinner, Joe asked for Grandmother to broil orange roughy. He also wanted some plain spaghetti with butter on it -- a favorite. There was also corn on the cob and fresh green beans. Joe's spaghetti-eating style is not elegant -- using a fork to scoop the ends of a dozen noodles into his mouth then working the rest of the noodles in with his lips and teeth -- didn't bother me, but I could see it was getting on Grandmother's nerves a bit. If I don't correct him, Grandmother will be upset -- we're spoiling him. If I do correct him, Grandma will be upset -- too much criticism about trivial things. Granddaddy (Grandmother's husband) solved the problem by saying, "It's his birthday." Leave him be.

Blowing out the candles (all eight in one blow), "Happy Birthday", and cake -- a chocolate cake with black Spiderman webs traced in the icing, and a Spiderman figurine perched in the center -- and ice cream followed.

Then the gifts. He remembered to thank everyone without being prompted. One of his favorites -- a K'Nex building set. He has loved to build since he started working with Duplos before his second birthday. I gave him David Macaulay's book, Building Big, which he seemed quite pleased with. I also gave him The Magician's Nephew, the first book in the Narnia series, which we'll read together, both of us for the first time. Over the last year, Joseph has gone from reading most things aloud to reading silently most of the time. One of his summer reading books was a biography of John Glenn -- nearly 200 pages, and he finished it and enjoyed it. He was excited about getting a little Intel video/digital camera -- takes lower-res images and a few seconds of video, which you can download via USB. Grandpa gave him, and installed, a headlight and a taillight for his bicycle.

It's been a busy summer for Joe, a sign of things to come if we aren't careful. This week is Vacation Bible School at our church. He spent a week at a day camp at Bella Vista, spending the nights with his Grandmother and Granddaddy. He spent another week here in town at Camp Invention's session at the University School. He spent a week with his cousins in OKC -- the mornings they were in his aunt's summer art camp -- she teaches elementary art in one of the public school district's there. Then we had our week as a family in Texas. It's been a lot of fun, but there hasn't been much ordinary time.

At 50" and 52 pounds, Joe is right at median height for his age, but a bit on the skinny side. His blond hair has darkened a bit, but it's still golden. He is still affectionate -- loves to sit in our laps and snuggle, loves to get and give hugs. I am awfully proud of him, and I'm blessed to get to be his dad.

Scott Sala of Slant Point, one of the bloggers invited by the RNC to cover the Republican National Convention, caught my earlier entry about security and the situation that the media (including invited bloggers) may be afforded more liberty than the delegates, in terms of what we are permitted to bring with us into the convention hall. He wrote a sympathetic reply:

While I sympathize, especially since delagates are perhaps the most-enthusiastic Republicans in the country, and they merely want to be confortable and have fun and record a few memories for posterity, I understand security concerns as well. I guess I think of it as a sports event, with very much the same policies people are subject to every weekend around the country. Yeah, it sucks, but in many ways that's the world we live in - and it was this way long before 9/11.

But some of this delegate's concerns are due to his discovery that bloggers will be allowed to bring in the items listed above. This of course is due to the status of media being given to select bloggers.

What he says makes perfect sense if you start from the assumption that "delegate" is just a fancy way of saying "spectator," "fan," or "cheerleader." Scott's reference to delegates as "perhaps the most-enthusiastic Republicans in the country" suggests that he makes that assumption. Most people who watch these conventions on TV have never attended a precinct caucus, or a county, district or state convention, and probably haven't given much thought to how the delegates got there, or why they are there. It would be reasonable to assume that the only people who matter are the speakers and the media there to cover them.

The celebration will be fun, as will being there in person to hear the President and other leading lights of the Republican Party, but I'm sure people at home will be better able to see and hear the speeches. I am not going to New York, and spending money on airfare, hotel, and restaurants just to be a prop, a warm body in the stands, or a member of the cheering section. I am going for the same reason I attended the county, district, and state conventions -- to participate in setting the course of the Republican Party for the next four years. The delegates are there to vote on four items -- a presidential nominee, a vice presidential nominee, a platform, and the party rules for the next four years, including the rules governing the 2008 presidential nominating process. The first two items are foregone conclusions this year. The second two don't attract much attention, but they matter greatly.

A Council that can say "no"


Tulsa is a city where the conventional wisdom says the only way to accomplish anything is to agree with everything. Many public figures who opposed the Vision 2025 tax increase kept their opposition to themselves for fear that their opposition would jeopardize the projects and causes they supported. I'm amazed at the number of times a public official has told me he felt unable to vote according to dictates of his conscience.

So it was heartening to see the City Council decline to reappoint two members of the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority (TMUA). I have nothing against Jim Cameron and Lou Reynolds, but the recent discussions over annexation and extension of water lines to Tulsa's booming suburbs have revealed a difference of basic philosophy between the Council majority and the TMUA board members. The Council majority believes that the City of Tulsa's water authority ought to be first and foremost concerned with promoting the City of Tulsa's growth and prosperity. The TMUA seems bent on promoting growth outside Tulsa's city limits.

Article V of the City Charter describes a Tulsa Utility Board, a board of six members plus the mayor ex-officio. This board has a great deal of power -- if the board passes a rate increase, the Council is bound by charter to approve it.

The Tulsa Utility Board may exercise full, complete and exclusive rights, powers, and duties in performing each and all and every of the things to be done and performed in the construction, extension, improvement, operation, management, and maintenance of the waterworks system and system of sanitary sewers and sewage disposal plants of the city. It shall be the mandatory duty of the Tulsa Utility Board to fix and establish rates and prices for services rendered and commodities sold sufficient to meet the mandatory provisions elsewhere provided in this Article and it shall be the mandatory duty of the Council to approve all such rates and prices herein authorized to be fixed and established by the Tulsa Utility Board. The Tulsa Utility Board may enter into such contracts necessary for the performance of its duties and may appoint, employ, and contract for the services of superintendents, attorneys, managers, hydraulic, civil and management engineers, and such employees necessary for the performance of its duties, all subject to the approval of the Mayor.

In 1984, the City of Tulsa signed a 50-year-lease with the Tulsa Metropolitan Utility Authority to operate and maintain the city's water system. The TMUA was created as a public trust with the City of Tulsa as the beneficiary. You can read all the details, including the lease agreements and amendments, here, in Title 39, Chapter 3 of Tulsa Revised Ordinances. I haven't gotten all the way through it yet. I have the impression that the membership of the Tulsa Utility Board and the TMUA are identical, although I don't know that for sure. But it appears that they always meet together.

Given the power wielded by this board, when unelected board members are at odds with the City's elected representatives, it makes sense for the elected officials to use the power at their disposal to effect change, since the elected officials are directly accountable to the voters. In this case, the City Council used its power not to ratify the Mayor's reappointment.

The Cockroach Caucus was scandalized by this development, according to articles in Friday's (jump page here) and Saturday's (jump page here) Whirled. The common thread of their comments seemed to be that mayoral appointees deserve reappointment by default. There were complaints, too, that the rejection came without any indication that the reappointments might be in jeopardy, although as I watched a rerun of the committee meeting (on Tulsa Cable channel 24) earlier in the week, I noticed that councilors were asking some detailed and pointed questions about the operation of the TMUA. It was funny to read Tom Baker's complaint that the five voted "no" without hesitation or discussion, given that his vote and the votes of others in the 71st and Harvard case came without a coherent explanation of their decision.

Balloon failure, 1980


The news that the founder of the American Muslim Council pled guilty today to engaging illegally in business with Libya, and last Thursday night's balloon deployment failure at the end of the Democrat National Convention brought back memories of 24 years ago, when Libyan connections overshadowed another Democrat convention, and the balloons wouldn't fall that year either.

You may recall that in 1980 Sen. Ted Kennedy had challenged President Carter for the nomination, and although Carter had the lead coming out of the primary season, Kennedy refused to drop out.

Toward the middle of July 1980, Billy Carter, presidential brother, acknowledged that he was being compensated by the government of Libya to serve as that country's agent. By the end of the month, the White House and the Attorney General had admitted to knowing about the connection, the Senate had announced plans to investigate, and a "dump Carter" movement began to build momentum. Democrat leaders could smell disaster and were afraid that Jimmy Carter would take down the whole party with him -- and they were right to be afraid.

Still, Carter had enough pledged delegates to assure his renomination. There were calls from Democratic congressmen and governors for Carter to release the delegates pledged to him, so that they could vote their consciences. The convention opened with a rules debate -- over Rule 16(c) if I recall correctly. A contemporaneous account by Rick Brookhiser was rerun on National Review Online this week:

At stake was a proposed rule requiring delegates to be bound by the results of the primaries and caucuses that chose them. It was of course the final consummation of the campaign reforms so zealously sought by the party's liberals, and the Carterites insisted righteously on enjoying the spoils of success at the polling booth. In the heat of the moment, Senator Ribicoff even declared "we can't take from a man what he has rightfully won" — an outburst that challenged fifty years of Democratic social policy, but never mind. Supporters of the "open" (that is, brokered) conventions were forced into equally contorted postures. By binding the delegates, warned Governor Carey, the Democrats would be forsaking a "tradition of 150 years," and somewhere in Heaven Burke smiled on his newest disciple. Senator McGovern challenged the rule on the grounds that it wasn't democratic enough — delegates committed to a previous decision could not carry out the "present convictions of the people." He did not say whether, moved by his own present conviction, he would now retract his vote against allowing the states the same privilege with regard to the ERA.

I learned today from the King of Fools, who attended the Texas Republican Convention as a delegate and with media credentials, that a number of bloggers (including Michele of "A Small Victory", SlantPoint, Wizbang, Captain's Quarters and Matt Margolis) have been offered credentials to the Republican National Convention. The King offers some good convention-blogging advice from his experience -- things like don't forget to eat.

Here's the part of the invite:

For the first time, bloggers will hold an on-site presence at the Republican National Convention called "Bloggers Corner." Positioned near Radio Row, credentialed bloggers will have the opportunity to connect with delegates, guests and other surrogates for interviews, and to provide original content, including multimedia, to their audiences. Through this behind-the-scenes look at the convention's proceedings and events, bloggers will play an important role in telling the story of the 2004 Republican Convention.

Bloggers Corner will be located in Madison Square Garden's Theater Lobby in the corridor adjacent to Radio Row. Electrical outlets, tabled work stations and necessary hook-ups for laptop and other portable computers will be available for high-speed Internet and Intranet access. Main TV monitors will also be accessible in all convention common areas including Bloggers Corner and will carry closed circuit coverage of all floor activities.

Bloggers will be credentialed to move about all media areas with access to the Media Center and the news conference center for briefings.

Now I am pleased to see that bloggers are being accorded this kind of recognition, but as a delegate to the Republican National Convention, I'm starting to feel like a second class citizen. Yesterday, I received a packet of info from the convention, which included a list of prohibited items. These are things we won't be permitted to carry within the security perimeter. Included in the list are laptop computers, camcorders, cameras with long lenses, bags for carrying cameras or binoculars, backpacks of any kind. So it appears that observers of this event -- members of the media, including bloggers -- will be accorded far more freedom and trust than actual participants in the event -- the delegates.

I had really hoped to be able to do some blogging of my own, and even e-mailed someone on the organizing committee asking about the availability of Wi-Fi in the convention hall. I've started to look into wireless web on my cellphone and using Azure or another PalmOS-based Movable Type client as an alternative to the laptop, but there's no guarantee that they won't decide to ban cellphones and PDAs -- the letter emphasized that the list of banned items is not exhaustive.

Most of the other banned items are the sorts of things you're not allowed to bring on airplanes, but the ban on laptops, camcorders, and camera bags strikes me as just not wanting to have to bother screening them, and who cares if the delegates are inconvenienced. It reminds me of the early days of TSA screenings when they were confiscating nail clippers. Umbrellas are banned, too, as are containers of any kind. Given that Madison Square Garden is about a mile from the hotel, I had planned to do what I used to do when I lived two miles off campus in college -- put anything I might need for the day in a small backpack and then plan not to return to the hotel until after the evening session. I suppose I might be able to fit my glasses and contact lens case, Kleenex pack, map and guidebooks, Oklahoma pins for trading with other delegates, business cards, my digital camera, the agenda, platform, rules, and any other bits of paper and ephemera they hand out, and a NY Post somewhere in the pockets of my pants or my official Oklahoma delegation blazer, but a little backpack would make life easier. I'd even settle for one of those transparent backpacks the students have to carry in dangerous schools. It would be nice to be allowed to bring in a bottle (plastic, of course) of Diet Coke and a bag of M&Ms or trail mix, but it looks like that would violate the "no container" rule.

Thanks to SlantPoint for posting the invitation letter, so now I know who at the convention to bug about bringing in my laptop.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from August 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

July 2004 is the previous archive.

September 2004 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]