January 2005 Archives

School board elections


Oklahoma school board elections are a week from tomorrow, February 8.

Here's what you need to do:

Enter your address and find your precinct and school board district here.

Now that you know what district you're in, go here to look at sample ballots (or see the direct links below) and see who's running and what issues are on the ballot in your district.

Here are the school board seats:

Bixby, Office 5
Berryhill, Office 5
Liberty, Office 5
Tulsa, Office 2
Tulsa, Office 3
Union, Office 5

Everyone in Union district also has a bond issue to vote on. Here's that ballot.

In addition to the races for common school board seats, there's a race for a seat on the board that governs Tulsa Technology Center. The district is mainly south and west of the Arkansas River and I-244, plus far south Tulsa and north Bixby -- you can see a map here and you can see a profile of the incumbent board members here.

Tulsa Vo-Tech, Office 7

If you're a candidate for one of these offices, write me at blog at batesline dot com, supply me with your contact information and a brief summary of why you're running, and what you'd change about your school system, and I will post your information on this site.

I have been haunted all week by this Dustbury entry and by the entry by Susanna Cornett over at Cut on the Bias to which Charles G. Hill links. Here's part of what Susanna wrote:

Sometimes I think about what my life would be if I had made other choices - gone to a different college, married young, become a police officer or stayed with journalism. Perhaps it's an artifact of turning 44 this year, well and truly at middle age and past the place where some paths can be chosen. I've discovered that living life the best way you know how brings regrets and sadness and mourning the loss of things you were never quite sure you wanted, or don't even know now if you want them. It is the narrowing of possibilities that hurts, the knowledge that if you did decide you wanted a certain path, it is already irrevocably closed to you, slipping away behind you when you were looking for something else.

I have those regrets, and I've spent some time and tears mourning the things that never were and now never can be no matter how much I might wish for them. ...

I think, in the end, the issue is not what I have chosen until now. It's uncertainty about what to choose for the future, whether the sense of inevitability is less a truth than just that I can't see over the sides of the rut I'm in. I begin to see that my problem is not so much that choices have closed, but rather a failure to actually choose at all. Is it the flexibility to take advantage of new opportunities? Or is it a mercurial nature easily drawn aside from one path to pursue another, and another, and another, a jane of all trades but master of none? Is it the road less traveled, or the path of least resistance?

For his part, Charles writes:

The video game test

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Former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist used a series of thought experiments or "tests" to help people think about whether a proposed development was really going to help the process of revitalization:

  • The postcard test. Is this building something you'd see on a postcard trumpeting the unique qualities of your city? Norquist did several companion slides comparing old historic buildings in the city's center (such as the library) with their new, uninspired counterparts in the suburbs. Lacing his talk with ample humor, Norquist labeled one particularly ugly new structure 'a monument to totalitarianism.'

  • The parade test. Is your street design and the buildings that frame the street a place you could imagine the public congregating for a parade or similar public festival?

  • The century test. Is the building designed to last? Will it be around 100 years from now? Is it attractive enough that you'd even want it around 100 years from now?

Oklahoma City's Downtown Guy makes a comment that suggests an additional test of urban design goodness:

One more random thought: if there is no interest in downtowns or hip urban locales, why is it that the most popular video games don’t feature races and other adventures with backdrops of big box retail shopping centers? Think about it – the coolest video games all take place in urban areas where the architecture is anything but suburban. What’s capturing the attention of today’s youth – you got it – they want to be downtown.

Let's call it the "video game test": If the cityscape isn't cool enough for a popular video game, it isn't cool enough for our city.

Downtown Guy also discovers a map of the Great Plains and that that's where Oklahoma City is. Interesting to see the way the boundary curves around and through Tulsa. That same entry lists an MIT professor's tips regarding design review, a process used in cities that have urban conservation districts, where proposed new developments in existing neighborhoods are evaluated for compatibility with the neighborhood's character. Charles G. Hill, whose Surlywood estate is located in such a district, has some comments on the same topic here.

Tulsa doesn't have any design review districts, as such. We have historic preservation districts that are strictly residential and are concerned with maintaining the appearance of the appropriate period on a home's facade. Urban or neighborhood conservation districts focus less on the building in isolation and more on its relationship to other buildings and the street. The focus is not on preserving buildings of historical significance, but on preserving any valued characteristic of a neighborhood. It would be a great tool for preserving the small and shrinking parts of our city that are truly urban and pedestrian-friendly.

Sunday linkage


Iraq the Model celebrates Sunday's elections in Iraq.

(My understanding is that each Iraqi voter had to show photo ID and have his index finger stained with blue ink. Is there some reason we can't do that much to prevent election fraud here in Oklahoma?)

Karol of Alarming News links to a new blog called Save the GOP (which I've added to the blogroll). The blog calls itself "An Internet Home For Movement Conservatives" and the banner features photos of Ronald Reagan, Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, and former Pennsylvania Congressman Pat Toomey, which will give you an idea of their target audience.

Karol also participated in a blog symposium over at Right Wing News on blog ethics and the economic prospects of blogging.

John Butler tells us about his church's food ministry to the poor and the principles behind it. He also links to a great radio program on Radio Trent, one of the BBC's regional stations, featuring classic Motown and Northern Soul.

If you've been hearing about the "peak oil" problem, there's a good discussion about the gravity of the situation and its potential impact, over on the TulsaNow forums.

This news is about a week old, but it escaped my notice at the time; perhaps you missed it, too. It reinforces my sense that the Republican Party's leaders at the national level fail to understand the source of their strength and electoral success, and that there is a structural basis to this failure that needs correction.

During a conversation this morning at church, I received the disappointing news that an abortion advocate has been elected by the Republican National Committee as its new co-chairman. JoAnn Davidson of Ohio was nominated to the post by new RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, who had been the chairman of Bush's re-election campaign and was nominated by Bush to replace Ed Gillespie as head of the committee. Davidson has been a board member of Republicans for Choice, the pro-abortion pressure group within the GOP, since that organization's founding in 1990.

Davidson's nomination received opposition from pro-life members of the RNC. In order to gain the desired unanimous approval, she promised committee members privately not to speak at organizing or fundraising events for pro-abortion groups and to back the President's agenda publicly. In other words, she'll keep quiet about her abortion views and focus on political nuts-and-bolts, for which she's reputed to have some talent. From news reports I learned that her predecessor was also a supporter of abortion rights, news to me -- so it certainly is possible for someone to serve in that position and be a good team player by keeping quiet on matters of disagreement with the mainstream of the party.

Her colleagues at Republicans for Choice have higher ambitions for her tenure as RNC co-chairman. Their home page declares: "We look forward to working with her to help make sure the concerns of pro-choice and moderate Republicans are heard within the Republican National Committee Headquarters..."

(More about Davidson, and why this move is wrong on principle and wrong politically, after the jump.)

Happy Homemaker Jan remembers outdoor skating and other winter delights from growing up in the Upper Midwest:

I spent a good part of my childhood in the north: Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. We always had some good snow up there, and snow was never a deterrent for outside play as it seems to be here in Oklahoma. We played outside all day in the snow, coming in only for tomato soup and hot chocolate. ...

As I recall, many friends had small ice skating rinks in their back yards. Before it froze, the rink bottom and sides were laid out (much like a kiddie pool) and it was filled with water. The whole thing was a couple inches deep. When it froze, we would just lace up our skates and go around all afternoon.

That's just a taste -- read it all, and I've posted a comment there, too.

Jan also tells of sharing her love for snowflakes (and snowflake photographs) with her son's kindergarten class.

From A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, Chapter 20:

Our Father which art in heaven, we Thy children are often troubled in mind, hearing within us at once the affirmations of faith and the accusations of conscience. We are sure that there is in us nothing that could attract the love of One as holy and as just as Thou art. Yet thou hast declared Thine unchanging love for us in Christ Jesus. If nothing in us can win Thy love, nothing in the universe can prevent Thee from loving us. Thy love is uncaused and undeserved. Thou art Thyself the reason for the love wherewith we are loved. Help us to believe the intensity, the eternity of the love that has found us. Then love will cast out fear; and our troubled hearts will be at peace, trusting not in what we are but in what Thou hast declared Thyself to be. Amen.
(As quoted in Putting Away Childish Things, by David A. Seamands.)

Tulsa Tribunal hits the east side


Just got word from Mom and Dad that they received the Jim Mautino edition of the Tulsa Tribunal in the mail today. Mom said it was disgusting, and if it's at all like the edition from a couple of weeks ago targeting Mautino's fellow City Councilor, Chris Medlock, I can well imagine.

Medlock has posted images of his Tribunal on his blog -- pages 1 and 4, page 2, and page 3. It's all smear tactics, but I'm especially appalled by the "news analysis" on page 4 that calls Chris "the Councilor in a Columbine Trenchcoat." The name suggests that, like the bitter outcast teens who murdered 12 of their fellow students and one teacher before killing themselves, Medlock is a self-loathing sociopath, a loser and a loner, filled with envy, bent on destroying anyone more successful than himself. The same article slyly suggests he may dream of writing "My Struggle," which is the English translation of Mein Kampf, the title of the book Hitler wrote before his rise to power.

Those of us who know Chris and consider ourselves his friends (and there are lots of us) know that he is gregarious, quick with a joke, and unafraid to poke fun at himself. He has put his career on hold out of a desire to devote himself to public service.

I was just talking to a neighbor about the recall and its chances for success. In the process, I just about convinced myself that the secretive recall backers will consider the effort a success even if it falls short at the ballot box. Their aim is to put public officials and their families under such emotional pressure that they will choose either to play ball with the special interest groups or won't bother to run at all. Keep praying for Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock and their families, and pray that when someday they've had enough, other men and women of intestinal fortitude will step forward to take their places.

Below, I've updated the entry about Friday's press conference of Republican officials opposed to the recall, to include the names of additional anti-recall elected officials. You can read Chris Medlock's comments on the press conference here.

Friday night linkage


Worth your while:

Bobby Holt of Tulsa Topics is writing about the 15th & Utica zoning controversy: What Does a Zoning Travesty Look Like?

Discoshaman says "Team America: World Police" was "was one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time." (I agree, although the version he saw was apparently not as foul as the American original.) He also continues to keep us abreast of the latest political developments in Ukraine under new President Yushchenko. And there's this well-written entry tying the anti-intellectualism in certain segments of the Charismatic movement to a faulty understanding of the components of human nature.

His wife TulipGirl continues her watch over various forms of spiritual oppression in the evangelical world, such as Gothardism and Ezzoism. Her post on Gothard's ATI -- explaining that it isn't so easy to move on from such an experience -- includes some very thoughtful comments from her readers.

Dustbury has so much good stuff I can't even begin to summarize it. Just go read what Charles has to say.

Tulsa Today ties it all together


Tulsa Today publisher David Arnett ties together all the threads -- the recall, the Great Plains Airlines mess, various zoning controversies, and the Chamber's use of economic development funds -- in one massive article. Worth a read.

I drove through the snow to be at Tulsa County Republican Headquarters at noon today for a press conference announcing the opposition of 14 Republican elected officials to the effort to recall Tulsa City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock from office. The parking lot was full, and the room was packed with the public officials as well as the entire Republican Central Committee and many leading Republican activists.

In the room to speak against the recall were Mayor Bill LaFortune, State Senators Randy Brogdon, Brian Crain, and Jim Williamson, State Representatives Rex Duncan, Fred Perry, and Dan Sullivan, and City Councilor Sam Roop. Unable to attend, but indicating their opposition were State Senators Mike Mazzei, Scott Pruitt, and Nancy Riley, and State Representatives Dennis Adkins, Pam Peterson, and John Smaligo. Councilors Medlock and Mautino were also present.

(UPDATE: Chris Medlock's website additionally lists State Representatives Sue Tibbs, John Trebilcock, and John Wright as opponents of the recall. Altogether, that's the entire Republican legislative delegation from Tulsa County, with the exception of Mark Liotta, Ron Peters, Ron Peterson, and Chris Hastings. I'm inclined to think Liotta's name was inadvertently omitted.)

I took sketchy notes. Everyone made the point that no matter whether you agree with the councilors on every issue, the accusations against them aren't worthy of negating the vote of the people. Here are some highlights:

Sen. Brogdon said the backers of the recall should stop it immediately, calling the effort "selfish" and "destructive." His opposition to recall is especially noteworthy, since he was mayor of Owasso, a suburb that has been at the center of the criticism of the Council majority over annexation, extension of water lines, and suburban water rates.

Sen. Crain said of Councilors Medlock and Mautino that they are "voting in good conscience, voting their morals and ethics and values."

Freshman Rep. Dan Sullivan (no relation to non-Councilor Randy or Congressman John) said what we have at City Hall right now is healthy debate. "We need people who are willing to ask questions, not people afraid they'll be recalled if they ask questions."

Rep. Duncan, also a freshman, and representing the western suburbs of Tulsa, called the recall "nonsense -- the kind of nonsense that keeps people from seeking public office."

Councilor Roop called the recall "very un-American and very anti-community."

Republican Vice Chairman Brigitte Harper concluded by painting a vivid image of the "people who have been in charge for a very long time." Now that they have lost control of the City Council, they "want to take their toys and go home."

It was an impressive show of unity, although Republican Councilors Bill Christiansen and Susan Neal, and Republican non-Councilor Randy Sullivan were conspicuous by their absence.

During Q&A, KRMG's Marshall Stewart asked whether the recall issue was really partisan. The Mayor allowed GOP chairman Don Burdick to field the question. Burdick said that the Democratic Party isn't involved in supporting the recall, but that the likely outcome, if the two Republican councilors are removed by a recall vote, is that they would be replaced by the two Democrat former councilors they defeated last March, because a majority of the remaining councilors would appoint someone to fill the vacancies, overthrowing the result of the previous election.

Why say no to life?

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A few days ago I wrote a bit about Headline News's coverage of Terri Schindler-Schiavo and the U. S. Supreme Court refusal to hear an appeal in her case, apparently clearing the way for her husband Michael Schiavo to remove her feeding tube and allow her to starve to death.

Dawn Eden published a letter purporting to be from Michael Schiavo (actually it was a satirical piece written by her mom), which generated a lot of comment, including a protest by someone going by the handle "Tulsa Human", complaining that the piece is one-sided and unfair and ignores the "key fact" that "the courts have ruled consistently that Terri Schiavo is in a Persistent Vegetative State, and has been for over 14 years."

I replied in a comment:

I think I speak on behalf of many humane Tulsa humans in thinking that Rachel Rose's satire fits Michael Schiavo's public actions to a "T".

Mr. Schiavo's behavior bears an uncanny resemblance to the pro-abortion types who say a child would be better off dead than adopted out to a loving family. Terri has her parents and a whole community ready to care for her, if her husband would only let them. I understand that he has withheld money for rehabilitation, rehab that might have allowed her to regain the ability to swallow and restore her ability to function in other regards, and might yet if it were permitted to go forward. Someone explain to me why he doesn't step aside and hand her over to the care of those who love her.

It turns out he was given exactly that opportunity, under very generous conditions. Today, Terri's parents, the Schindlers, released the text of an offer (in PDF format) that they made to Michael Schiavo's lawyers back on October 26, 2004. In the letter, Terri's parents and sister ask Michael Schiavo to let them take her and care for her. In return, they would not seek any money from him, they would allow him to keep all the assets of the marriage, including the malpractice awards. If he chose to divorce Terri, he would still inherit, upon her death, any money he is now entitled to as her husband. Terri's parents would forego any legal action against Michael. Terri's parents would be open to any other term Michael might wish to include, short of paying for his "previous legal fees and costs." In short, he could wash his hands of the whole matter, move on with his life, and he would not lose any money in the bargain. For all the grief he has caused Terri's parents, this was an extremely generous offer for them to make, and clearly it was made with no other motive than to do all they can to save Terri's life and to seek to improve her condition.

Michael Schiavo's attorneys verbally refused the offer. Terri's parents hope that he will reconsider.

The website terrisfight.org has a timeline of Terri's ordeal and addresses some of the myths in the case, including:

  • that she is in a persistent vegetative state -- she displays voluntary action and interacts with her environment
  • that she is on artificial life support -- as a letter to the Miami Herald (registration required) says, "There is nothing artificial about getting fed."
  • that years of therapy haven't helped -- her husband has denied her therapy since 1991.

Regarding Tulsa Human's claim about Terri being in a persistent vegetative state (PVS): This article from Crisis magazine describes one neurologist's observations from 12 hours spent testing Terri -- observations that are inconsistent with a PVS diagnosis.

Going through some old notes I found the following list. My mother-in-law was a winner of the President's Community Volunteer Award a couple of years ago (the last one on the list, alphabetically), and this was the list of tips given by the Points of Light Foundation to the winners for dealing with the media:

  • Be honest.
  • Be yourself.
  • Answer the question that you wish they'd ask.
  • Keep answers concise and paint a vivid picture (use anecdotes, positive language, and comparisons).
  • You are in control, so make your point.
  • If you disagree with something the reporter says, speak up immediately.
  • Prepare three 25-word sentences that convey your overall message.
  • Remember who YOU are representing.
  • Don't say anything that you wouldn't want to see in print or played over and over again in a soundbite.
  • There is no such thing as "off the record".
  • You don't have to have all the answers.

I am tickled pink to welcome Cartec Automotive Service as an advertiser on BatesLine. Cartec is coming up on their 14th anniversary in business, and Jerry Kaminski and company have been working on our cars for the last several years. They do a great job, their prices are reasonable, and they let you know your options. Cartec is conveniently located just off the Broken Arrow Expressway at Harvard. The phone number is 918-747-1840. Give them your business, and let them know you read about them on BatesLine.

(Advertising on BatesLine is cheap, by the way -- only $20 a month. Click here to learn more.

I'm amazed it's this low

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I am nerdier than 81% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

The summary said:

High-Level Nerd. You are definitely MIT material, apply now!!!

I'll keep that in mind.

(Found via Joseph Hertzlinger, who is much nerdier than I am.)

Large mammal invades Tulsa home


Dawn Eden, Petite Powerhouse, was a guest in our home last weekend. I'm sure you're all wondering what it's like to have such a highly-ranked and popular blogger under our roof. In a nutshell: It was fun to have her around, and I think she had a good time, too.

The kids liked having someone new in the audience, although they were baffled that she didn't take them up on their repeated invitations to play Super Mario Kart. One night, Joseph read her part of the last chapter of The Horse and His Boy (book 3 of C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia) -- a little more her type of entertainment.

During her visit, Dawn made use of the extensive Bates Library, particularly the Reformed Theology and mid-20th-Century Comics sections, perusing some Francis Schaeffer and rereading some favorite stories from the Pogo Revisited collection.

She ate well: Metro Diner on Thursday night; the Fountains lunch buffet on Friday; homemade potato leek soup and baked salmon, prepared by my wife Mikki on Friday night; Sunday lunch at Chimi's; and a feast at the home of some friends from our church on Sunday evening; plus scrambled eggs on toast (her favorite breakfast, she said) every morning, fixed by me.

It really was cool to be simul-blogging a mere 10 feet from each other, and to know I was the first person in the world to read the latest Dawn Patrol entry. The downside: Thinking, "I wonder if Dawn has posted anything since I checked last," and realizing, "No, she went to bed an hour ago." I won't reveal her trade secrets, but I will tell you she is lightning-fast at finding what she wants to blog about and turning it into an interesting and beautifully written post, while yours truly slogs along trying to find a simple way to explain a zoning controversy. That's why, in the ecosystem of the blogosphere, she's a Large Mammal (albeit petite) and I'm a mere Adorable Little Rodent.

"What's she like in real life?" you ask. One of her more endearing traits -- one I hope to emulate -- is that when she likes something, she says so. She is quick to express appreciation and praise, and that's a nice quality in a house guest.

Another cool thing about her visit: Having someone who's written liner notes for over eighty '60s pop music CDs providing commentary and trivia as you listen to an oldies station.

Dawn has posted the first installment of her recollections of the trip, covering her visit to the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore. She's also posted some fascinating photos of celebrities (here, here, and here) who have joined NARAL's "I am Pro-Choice America" bandwagon, and a biting piece of satire on the Schiavo case by her mom, proving that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

UPDATE: Dawn expresses amazement that I failed to mention that she blogged in her jammies. In fact, I did, and for the record, she was very modestly attired in a blue plaid flannel nightgown, which was so modest as to conceal even her feet.

Dawn has posted Part 2 of her Oklahoma travelogue.

I about flipped. I had tuned in late to the live broadcast of the Tulsa City Council and as the meeting ended, I heard Council Chairman and non-Councilor Randy Sullivan say something like: "On Tuesday, please remember the unrepresented citizens of District 7." Had Sullivan finally become embarrassed by the fact that he hasn't lived in his district in over a year? Had he resigned?

No. Nothing as good as that. He'll be out of town Tuesday when the Council will have a special meeting to vote on placing a charter amendment on the same April ballot as the general obligation bond issue. The amendment will allow Tulsa to have city ordinances that require council supermajorities in certain circumstances. You'll recall that the City Attorney's office claimed that the Charter's requirement of a majority vote to approve ordinances precluded any supermajority, and thus the provision was null and void that required a supermajority for zoning changes protested by a sufficient number of nearby property owners. At the time, the councilors universally expressed their regret at how badly the 71st & Harvard zoning protest had been handled, and universally expressed their support for fixing the problem. We will find out Tuesday which councilors were in earnest and which were insincere.

In the meantime, District 7 residents continue to be unrepresented even when Randy Sullivan is in town. I am still amazed that so far there hasn't been a movement by District 7 residents to protest his absence from the district. If you're a District 7 resident, I'd love to know if you think Sullivan should continue to serve, despite his non-resident status, and if so, why. Drop me a line at blog at batesline dot com.

From Monday's DelGiorno show


In case you missed it, here, in MP3 format, are Michael DelGiorno's Monday morning interviews with Dawn Eden and with me, as heard on Talk Radio 1170 KFAQ. Warning: Files are large (3.5 MB and 2.4 MB respectively). These will only be available here for a few days.

The evolving ethics of blogging


Tulsa attorney (and my friend) John Eagleton sends along a Wall Street Journal article about the growing clout of bloggers (the story reports an estimated blog audience of 32 million people) and the debate over ethical standards, particularly involving objectivity and disclosure of financial interests. The article also touches on a blogger's legal liability -- the bottom line is that you don't need a printing press to enjoy the protections of the First Amendment that you may think only belong to traditional reporters.

The last paragraph contains a usefully simple ethical standard:

All the way back in 2002, Rebecca Blood advised bloggers to disclose their conflicts of interest, publish only what they believe to be true, and correct mistakes publicly. Her counsel to readers? Follow the same rules as one would walking down the street: "Don't make eye contact with someone who seems crazy."

Karol Sheinin of Alarming News is a political consultant, and she has posted the following disclaimer on her home page:

NOTICE: I work at a political consulting firm in NYC. From time to time I will write favorable posts about my clients because I believe in my clients and their causes. Consider this statement as adequate disclosure for all my possible conflicts of interest now and in the future. Additionally, all material on this site should be considered my personal opinion and may not represent that of my employer.

This may seem inadequately specific, but in her situation, disclosure of her firm's involvement with a specific client may violate the client's expectation of confidentiality.

Karol's disclaimer was suggested by a commenter to her blog and slightly modified. It was inspired by her post on Armstrong Williams' allegedly taking money to promote the Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind" bill -- you can read her wrestling with the issue and readers' comments here.

Next month it falls on a Sunday


PogoPossum.com, the official website of the classic Walt Kelly comic strip, is celebrating its first anniversary of operation by presenting the original 1955 strips in which we learn of Churchy La Femme's inordinate fear of Friday the 13th, which is more or less lucky depending on what day of the week it falls on in a given month. (Yes, you read that right.) The site also tells us how Kelly came up with the idea:

Some time in 1955, Walt and Helen Kelly were dining in a favorite restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut with their children -- Kathy, Carolyn and Peter, as well as Kathy's thirteen year old friend, Janet Safarik.

As usual with Walt around, the conversation engaged everyone and covered many subjects. At one point, Janet -- in reply to something long forgotten -- stated, "Well! At least, Friday the Thirteenth falls on a Saturday this month!"

Walt's ears pricked up and his full attention went to Janet. He was delighted! They discussed her concept deeply for a few moments and Walt thoughtfully made some notes on a napkin.

In February 2005, Friday the 13th falls on a Sunday, and I don't remember whether that's lucky or not.

Which war is bloodier?


The latest edition of Charles G. Hill's long-running series, "The Vent," is entitled, "When it's time for Roe to go."

He provides some useful perspective:

But consider this: in the first twenty-two months of the Iraq war, we suffered about 1400 troop deaths, all of whom were mourned. In twenty-two hours, about three thousand "fetuses" are put to death, and this is considered business as usual.

Now that's what's disturbing. Even some Democrats find it horrendous. The old mantra of "safe, legal and rare" fails on at least two counts: abortion is hardly rare, and if you happen to be the one aborted, it's not even slightly safe.

UPDATE: Don Danz sends along this comment:

There must be something with liberals not having a bloody clue. Your entry (Which war is bloodier?) made me think of an interview Jimmy Carter did with Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball, where President Carter said that the Revolutionary War was "the most bloody war we've fought." The Revolutionary War is, of course, known for being the exact opposite--the least bloody war we've fought. The article is here. And, I blogged about it here.

"Television for Masochists"


I was getting a tire replaced today, and there was a Whirled from Friday in the waiting area, which was fine -- since I don't read the Whirled I hadn't seen it yet.

At the bottom of the front page of the Satellite section is a sharply-written column protesting the treatment of men on cable channels like Lifetime that target a female audience. The writer is Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Hannah Hartney. (TSAS is a charter school.)

Fifteen-year-old Hannah has the genre nailed:

The channels have taglines such as “Television for Women,” which suggests an empowering, positive message for the ladies. Yet whenever I flip past that channel, I see women being “empowered” by being clocked over the head with a telephone, dragged around by her hair and being forced to listen “Television for Masochists” might be a more apt designation. Or perhaps, “Television for Femi-Nazis Who Fly into a Vicious Rage at the Slightest Whiff of Testosterone,” since Public Enemy No. 1 in the majority of these movies is the male half of the population.

According to this Menstrual Militia, if a woman is in any sort of relationship whatsoever with a red-blooded straight male, he will either:

A. Abuse her / her children
B. Kidnap her / her children
C. Squeeze the toothpaste from the top end of the tube instead of the bottom
D. Try to get her money . . .

. . . ergo proving that men are ruthless devils and should be shot on sight — but not until the end of the movie, of course, when he’s
holding your children hostage and the bad ’80s rock soundtrack is at its peak.

(If I were adhering to DNF*, I'd have a pithy closing observation, but I don't and so I can't.)

*Dustbury Normal Form.

"That's messed up"


I was in McDonald's multitasking lunch -- having a salad, reading Witness, and watching the big screen showing CNN Headline News out of the corner of my eye.

They ran a story about the Supreme Court's decision to deny certiorari in the case Jeb Bush v. Michael Schiavo. The Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case means Michael Schiavo will be able legally to murder his wife Terri by having her feeding tube removed and thus starving her to death. The Headline News story showed home video of Terri, with eyes open, smiling, reacting, at the same time the newsreader referred to her as "comatose."

A McDonald's employee, a young woman who was sweeping the floor nearby, saw and heard what I described, looked up at the TV, and said to no one in particular, "That's messed up."


A website devoted to saving Terri's life -- terrisfight.org -- is down at the moment, swamped with traffic. You can read a statement from the Terri Schindler Schiavo foundation, responding to the Supreme Court decision here. And Ace has a few comments on the subject.

Hill's angles


Charles G. Hill can say more in 10 words than I can in 1000. For example, here's his take on the passing of Johnny Carson.

If you can handle a bit of double-entendre, read his take on the arraignment of former Creek County District Judge Donald Thompson.

Red dirt ranger


As a resident of Oklahoma's Green Country, where our dirt is a lovely dark brown and we enjoy an abundance of non-Martian vegetation, I can laugh at this item on Sean Gleeson's blog.

One question for the scientists involved: Weren't the tumbleweeds and prairie dogs a tip-off that something was amiss?

Friday was the monthly luncheon of the Tulsa County Republican Men's Club. My wife Mikki and Dawn Eden came along with me. The focus of the program was a preview of the upcoming legislative session, with brief remarks by each of nine state legislators that were present. I was a bit concerned that our guest might find the program a bit dull, but Dawn said she found it very interesting and encouraging to hear about the reforms the Republican legislators propose. I'm sure she was encouraged to hear about plans to pass a "trigger law" -- a law to ban abortion in Oklahoma that would be made effective -- triggered -- if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.

The surprise highlight was a statement by Mayor Bill LaFortune at the conclusion of the meeting. He again emphatically stated his opposition to the recall of Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino. He announced that he would be organizing a press conference for the following Friday, and inviting and encouraging all Republican elected officials to join him in publicly announcing their opposition to the recall.

LaFortune also spoke about outgoing Tulsa Metro Chamber Chairman Bob Poe, who ripped the City Council majority once again, while praising the Mayor, in an ungracious swan song earlier in the week. LaFortune said that Poe was going around behind the scenes trying to stir up the business community against him, and that Poe, a lifelong Democrat, praised LaFortune in his speech as a way of alienating the Mayor from the Republican grassroots and weakening him politically for his re-election bid.

These are encouraging developments. I only wish the press conference were being held on a day when more people are likely to be watching the evening news and reading the paper the following day. People tend to detach from the news on the weekends, and if folks don't see the video and read the story in the paper when it happens, it will be as if it didn't happen.

(Mr. Mayor, if I've gotten any details or nuances wrong, feel free to put a press release out on your website, and I'll be happy to link to it.)

The Mayor also expressed support for bringing the jail back under the man who was elected to run the jail, Sheriff Stanley Glanz. As a member of the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority, the Mayor has a say in who will get the jail contract.

Blogger Bash recap


Had a great time at the first-ever bash for faith-friendly Oklahoma bloggers. About 14 folks showed up -- Don Danz has the list here and here . (Browse around to see several of his entries about the event.)

Dan Lovejoy has some great pictures here, with links to larger versions.

The event was instigated by Dawn Eden, who over the years had come to know a number of Oklahoma bloggers and wanted the chance to meet them in real life. Dawn spent the morning with her longtime penpal (or should that be electron-pal) Charles G. Hill, seeing the city and doing some shopping for old vinyl.

Don Danz was liveblogging the event, and nearly everyone made an entry or two, enjoying the free WiFi available at Will's Coffee, which is in the lobby of the old Will Rogers Theater on N. Western Ave. in Oklahoma City. (More info about the coffee house here.) It's a good adaptive reuse of a great building. The theater itself has been converted into a banquet hall. Many of the original decorative fixtures are still in place, including a mural depicting scenes from the life of Will Rogers.

Oklahoma City's Will Rogers Theater was designed by the same architects (Jack Corgan and W. J. Moore) for the same theatre chain (Griffith Southwest Theaters) as Tulsa's old Will Rogers -- Tulsa's was built in '41, OKC's in '46. (The Hornbeck in downtown Shawnee may be the only Corgan-designed theater in Oklahoma still in operation as a movie theater.

Several folks brought laptops, which gave us a chance to show off our blogs. Dwayne (AKA Mike Horshead) and lovely wife Barb showed us some of his wonderful photos of classic neon signs -- a passion shared by many present. (Check his various "Photos" categories on the right-hand side of his home page. Here's one stunning example: Ritz Bowling in Salt Lake City, Utah.)

Wild Bill of Passionate America brought along his son Brandon and brother Mike (both budding bloggers as well). (Wild Bill has a photo of the Wienermobile, which had been parked down the street.)

It was great to see John Owen Butler, whom I'd met before through PCA circles. He told us about his new blog, PsalmCast, which links to recordings of psalm-singing. It's set up with an RSS2 feed for podcasting -- listening on your portable audio device.

Jan, the Happy Homemaker, has an entry about the event here and a photo here. After the bash broke up, Jan, Dawn, and I went next door to Sushi Neko and shared a boatload of sushi (picture below), and then Jan had us over to her beautifully decorated 1920s home, where we met her husband and her two adorable boys. Dawn and I had the privilege of looking through the collection of Valentine cards, dating back to the early '40s, that she's been featuring on her blog. (What she's posted so far is in her January archive.) Dawn and I are Pogo fans, so it was exciting for us to see one of Pogo's larger cousins on Jan's backporch, contentedly eating cat food, with no apparent fear of predators.

Sean Gleeson was there, too, but he hasn't blogged about the event yet. And Brett Thomasson doesn't even have a blog, but it was nice to have him there, too.

Photos after the jump.

Blogger Bash underway

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I'm here at Will's Coffee on Western Ave. in Oklahoma City, using Dan Lovejoy's PowerBook. Right now I'm listening to several OKC-based bloggers singing the B. C. Clark Jewelers jingle. We're having a great time, and in a few minutes we'll be going down the street to pose in front of the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile. (Update: Didn't make it outside in time to get to the Wienermobile -- enjoying the conversation too much to budge.)

Don Danz has a list of the attendees and several of us have been live blogging. (I'll add links later -- can't quite get the hang of this Apple keyboard, although I'll say that my site looks even better on the PowerBook in the Safari browser.

Guess who's come to visit?


HFFZ also relays contact information for Yorktown Neighborhood, which is fighting rezoning of a lot in a historic preservation district for a bank parking lot. They'd like homeowners from all of Tulsa's historic preservation zoning districts to speak at the TMAPC hearing on Wednesday, February 2, at 1:30 p.m. in the City Council room, to defend the integrity of these historic districts, weak though the ordinance is.

TMAPC tries sleight of hand


Homeowners for Fair Zoning is continuing to keep an eye on the situation with the planned F&M Bank branch at 71st & Harvard. The lawsuit over the improper handling of the neighborhood's protest petition is still pending, but in the meantime F&M Bank is making preparations to build -- and they apparently want to build something different than what the TMAPC and the City Council approved at the end of 2003. Here's what the HFFZ website says about it:

On January 5, 2005, at TMAPC's 1:30 p.m. public hearing, John S. Denney presented the following objections to approval of the bank's plat and related restrictive covenants. The essence of the objection is that the TMAPC approved and recommended approval to the City Council in this P.U.D. of "permitted uses" for the property which did not include the two office buildings. The Council then approved the TMAPC's written recommendation which did not include the offices. If the City Council finds that this is indeed a change from the original P.U.D. approved by the Council, it will be free to deny the plat and P.U.D. amendment and block the building of the two office buildings. Without the office buildings, the project will likely have to be scrapped.

Rather than correct this problem through the proper channels (which should include TMAPC and Council approval for a major amendment), the TMAPC attempted to pretend that something different was actually approved:

Without notice to HFFZ or anyone other than the bank, TMAPC had added a proposal to the agenda, styled as a "correction," to retroactively amend the minutes of the August 27, 2003, TMAPC meeting where the "permitted uses" for P.U.D. 687 had been adopted. It was these minutes which were submitted for approval by the City Council and which formed the basis for the City Council's approval of this P.U.D. With the current language for the "permitted uses," the bank's ability to build is strongly in doubt. Hence, the effort by TMAPC to change the minutes.

When challenged on this attempted sleight of hand, did the TMAPC chairman blush and sheepishly apologize?

Despite not being given notice of the agenda addition to change the minutes, Mr. Denney caught the item, filed a written objection and waited approximately 2 1/2 hours until this item (placed as the last item on the agenda) was reached. When he got up to speak, TMAPC's anti-neighborhood leader, Joe Westervelt, tried to prevent him from speaking and informing the public of what TMAPC and the bank were trying to do. HFFZ will try to get a sound clip from the verbal exchanges between Mr. Westervelt and Mr. Denney. The public needs to become aware of the heavy-handed tactics used by Mr. Westervelt and TMAPC.

Westervelt was reappointed in 2002 by Mayor Bill LaFortune, over the strong objections of neighborhood leaders. Westervelt is himself a developer -- not a bad thing in itself, but he verbally abuses many of those who come before the TMAPC with objections to proposed zoning changes. His arrogance was on display during a February 2004 TMAPC hearing, a story you can read here.

Westervelt is up for reappointment -- his term expired on Tuesday. When Westervelt was reappointed in 2002, Mayor LaFortune assured me that Westervelt was contrite about his rude behavior and promised to do better in future. The Mayor assured me that if Westervelt got out of line again, he would personally go down to the TMAPC meeting and register his objection. Westervelt has gotten out of line, but the Mayor hasn't done a thing about it. Now he has the chance to appoint someone fair and open-minded to the TMAPC to replace Westervelt. The word around town is that the Mayor is trying to figure out how to recapture grass-roots support. If he reappoints Westervelt, or appoints someone else just like him, the Mayor can kiss grass-roots support adios, goodbye, auf wiedersehen.

Setting aside Westervelt's behavior, the fact that the TMAPC would consider rewriting history is appalling. A TMAPC that insisted on the utmost precision in the neighborhood's protest petition should not be allowed to call "do-overs" on their recommendation to the City Council.

A friend forwarded this week's update from the Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program, with links to lots of interesting articles about urban policy. The lead article is by Heywood Sanders, the nation's leading expert on the convention industry, and once again, Prof. Sanders has dared to compare the promises made by those promoting new and expanded publicly-owned convention centers to the actual numbers generated by these facilities. It's a declining industry, but cities persist in believing that convention centers will bring a return on investment. They don't.

Report Urges Caution on Convention Centers

In the last decade, state and local governments have made massive commitments to tourism and conventions, hoping to jumpstart local economies and boost downtowns. Unfortunately, this spending—some $2.4 billion per year nationally—may target a business in decline.

A new analysis by Heywood Sanders for the Metropolitan Policy Program shows that the convention and tradeshow business is ailing, that the decline began even prior to 9-11, and that a large number of new cities are entering the competition for these events. The upshot: As with stadiums and sports teams, state and local leaders should think carefully before making big bets on these facilities. Simultaneously, they should consider other options for scarce public funds, such as attracting and increasing residential life and 24-hour activity in business areas.

In that vein, several other recent program publications have also examined what works—and what doesn't work—in local and regional economic development. One discussion paper notes that the information technology revolution extends far beyond the technology sector to encompass not just tech companies in Sun Belt locales but all kinds of companies in "old" as well as "new" economy sectors. Similarly, another reportreviews how five smaller regions in Washington state have sought to broaden the impact of the 1990s tech boom beyond Seattle by investing in broadband infrastructure and linking local research institutions to the local economy.

By contrast, a more skeptical publication assesses the structure and nature of the biotechnology industry with an eye to local development prospects. The report concludes that the extreme concentration of the biotech industry and its high demand for capital, talent, and cutting-edge research make it a long-shot economic panacea for most regions.

As Christopher Leinberger, a key player in the resurgence of downtown Albuquerque, will show in an upcoming policy program publication: The most effective downtown and local economic revitalization strategies don't focus on a single venue, but rather on a holistic approach to development that includes arts and entertainment, housing, retail, restaurants, and a strong office economy.

Note that last item -- last night at the TulsaNow annual meeting, an urban planner commented that Tulsa's leaders seem to think that it's enough for downtown that we're building the arena, and no one is thinking about how Denver Avenue will develop, or what kind of development is needed to connect the arena to the Blue Dome district and the Brady district. TulsaNow's members are certainly thinking about the holistic approach, as are some sharp people in the city's urban development department, but it hasn't trickled up to the people who can make it happen.

More linkage

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Discoshaman has a post about Ukraine President-elect Yushchenko's program for reforming the government there, focused on ending corruption, with steps such as cleaning up the way state-owned businesses are privatized, and cleaning out the tax code to make it reasonable enough that people and businesses will pay their taxes.

Discoshaman also links to this very interesting post, on developing an evangelical method for sanctification. It looks like worthwhile reading anyway -- with lots of links to previous entries with supporting material. I'm a bit too tired to tackle it at the moment.

I must say that the notion of a "method" for sanctification strikes the wrong note with me. Ultimately, God himself works sanctification in the hearts of his elect through means of his choosing. We're learning about one of God's tools for sanctification in a new Sunday School class at our church -- namely, marriage. The class, called "Sacred Marriage" (based on a book by Gary Thomas) asks this question: "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?" I can truthfully say that being a husband and a dad has revealed rough edges of my soul in need of sanding, edges that would never have been exposed had I remained single.

And if you need help finding a godly wife, X-ATI Guy comes to the rescue with a Biblical Guide to Wife-Finding -- and he has links to more about relationships in the strange little subculture he studies -- and it rings all to this one-time Campus Crusader.

Lileks offers his help to Blue Staters trying to understand what makes Red Staters tick. And he continues his latest creative project -- trying to imagine a life from a collection of matches (in alphabetical order).

Diplomad is a new addition to my blogroll -- it's the creation of members of the Republican Underground within the U.S. State Department. Here's an interesting post on foreign aid and unintended consequences.

Neon blooms on 41st Street



It was nice to see the lovely neon sign belonging to Argie Lewis Flowers installed and lit up at the florist's new location on the southside of 41st east of Sheridan.

Argie Lewis was, until last fall, our neighborhood florist -- the photo above was taken at dusk in February 2003, when the store was still at Mayo Meadow Shopping Center. It was one of four interesting neon signs at the center -- the Center's own sign, the Better Price Store (neon and running incandescent lights), and Huey's Shoes. The end is apparently near for Mayo Meadow -- the center's neon sign, once scrupulously maintained in working order, has been allowed to go dark one element at a time.

Mayo Meadow Shopping Center, designed by architect John Duncan Forsythe, may just reach its golden anniversary. A Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market is slated to replace the center, with an outbuilding to house Yale Cleaners, the only current tenant that will remain. Huey's Shoes has closed forever, the shoe repairman is moving, Better Price has reopened as Marc's All-Mart in the old Woodcraft Furniture location at 51st and Sheridan, Ming Palace is now Ming's at 73rd and Memorial, in an old McDonald's store.

Good news at 15th and Utica: Tulsa Preservation Commission denied a request to demolish a home in the Yorktown historic district and turn it into parking for a new Arvest Bank branch. The bad news is that this is really only a stay of execution. The TPC can only delay demolition of a historic structure for 60 days.

Charles Norman, the attorney for Arvest, was quoted as saying, “This development [the new bank and the accompanying demolition] will end up helping the neighborhood by stabilizing its corners and encouraging residents to improve their own properties.” In fact, while the bank itself may be a good thing for the neighborhood, the encroachment into the residential area and the demolition of historic properties will undermine the value of surrounding properties. Homes that once faced other historic homes will now face a flat sheet of asphalt. People will be less likely to invest in maintaining and improving their homes without the assurance that historic standards will be enforced. Particularly vulnerable are the smaller homes along Victor Avenue and along the north side of 16th Street.

Charles Norman is right that infill development will be needed "to make Tulsa's core flourish," but it has to be done in a way that preserves the positive aspects of the neighborhood's character. The bank could have gone in at 15th & Lewis, in place of the vacant supermarket building, or it could have gone in without drive-thru lanes, using the extra space for parking and avoiding the need to demolish homes in the historic district.

One of the TPC commissioners says that the development would save the neighborhood from something much worse that could go there. That argument has often been put forward by Charles Norman himself. Mr. Norman, as City Attorney at the time, was the primary author of the zoning system we now have, and he continues to have a great deal of influence over its evolution and application. If you think about it, the message is, "The zoning code I created is so inadequate for infill development, so open to incompatible development, so insensitive to the character of existing development, that you should be grateful that what my client is proposing is only mildly incompatible."

The system is broken. The zoning code was designed for sprawling suburban development on vacant land. It has been patched more times than a six-pack-a-day smoker trying to kick the habit. It's time to replace it with something that works for our present circumstances.

Tulsa Topics has more here.

KFAQ: streaming for what's right


By the way, you can now listen to KFAQ online. (Hooray!) You have to be running Internet Explorer to install the application that lets you listen. (Booo!) It's a proprietary system called SurferNetwork, which is a bit disappointing; if it were RealAudio, I could use various means to record it to disk. Still, I can listen when I travel, which hasn't been possible before. I think that SurferNetwork addresses some rights and advertising issues that might have prevented us from having the feed at all.

Thanks to Brian Gann and KFAQ for making it happen.

KFAQ broadcasts the Michael DelGiorno show live between 5:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. (Central Time) then rebroadcasts the most recent show over and over again until the next show begins. You should be able to hear my Monday morning bit live at 6:40 a.m., then again at 10:10 a.m., 1:40 p.m., 5:10 p.m., 8:40 p.m., then Tuesday in the wee hours at 12:10 a.m., and 3:40 a.m.

TGOV for all?

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Reader K. A. Hruzer writes to note that TGOV, Cox Cable's local government access channel, has rather limited access:

I'm frustrated that I cannot see/listen to our City Council Meetings.

TGOV is a COX Cable proprietary offering, which is good. However, less than 1/3 of local residents subscribe to COX Cable. Besides omitting those disproportionally too poor to afford a cable subscription, newer technologies such as VOOM, DISH or DirecTV are on the increase. None of these people have access to our local government activities in this manner.

I'm sure the powers that be wish to minimize this form of coverage; at least keep to the minimum definition of any 'Open Records' requirements.

I expect more.

In fact, it is not expecting too much that minutes of Council meetings be posted on the City Council website and archived for research purposes. A full transcript taken from the video would be even better. For that matter, streaming video posted.

IAC, it irks me that I have to wait for the 'Whirled' to 'report' their version of events, then, try to decipher what really happened.

This morning, I had the thought that better live coverage of the Council meetings should be strived for. The COX thing is good, and should be commended. But, the access is too limited. I wondered if you might try to influence your friends at KFAQ to do a live audio feed on the meetings? I don't know a thing about markets, time slots, etc. with regard to radio. The 6:00-7:xx time slot might be an important one for their revenues. In that light, even a replay late that evening would be better than none. And, those of us wishing to use exact quotes would be satisfied.

Anything which makes us less dependent upon the 'Whirled' for our information is good. Sure, blogs are good, too. But, they often don't get updated for days and are also subject to perspectives and opinions. So, the horses mouth is always best.

K. A. makes a great point. TGOV is a major breakthrough for citizen awareness of city government, broadcasting meetings of the Council, Council committees, the Board of Adjustment, the planning commission, and the Airport Authority, as well as some special programming. At the same time, because it is only offered through the local cable system (as a condition of their franchise agreement with the City of Tulsa), satellite subscribers and rabbit-ears users don't have access.

I don't see KFAQ preempting Laura Ingraham to broadcast commercial-free Council meetings. Anyway, you miss a lot without the visuals to let you know who is speaking.

Streaming video over the Internet would be the way to go -- it would be accessible at public libraries and at home for broadband Internet subscribers. Citizens would be able to watch the latest meetings any time, rather than just during designated rebroadcasts. And it would be possible for bloggers and others to link to and comment on specific excerpts.

The technology is not cutting edge, but there would be some cost involved to set it up and to pay for the bandwidth and the server software. Video is already being converted to digital format -- you can buy DVDs of Council meetings.

Remembering Oklahoma's freedmen


Okiedoke links to a post by Sister Scorpion about black history in Oklahoma, including the freedmen -- black slaves of Oklahoma's Indian tribes who were freed after the Civil War and granted tribal membership. These freedmen founded a number of towns in Indian Territory, mainly in Creek and Seminole lands. They were joined by blacks who came to participate in the land runs that opened Oklahoma Territory. There was even hope of making Oklahoma a black state -- a place where African-Americans could enjoy self-determination and freedom from official and semi-official persecution. (It's sadly ironic that the first law passed by the Oklahoma state legislature was a "Jim Crow" law.)

Sister Scorpion's post includes a lot of links on Oklahoma black history as well as links related to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Daily linkage


Here's a spot-on parody of National Review's group blog, "The Corner". (Hat tip: Overtaken by Events, which also has news about the tsunami relief effort led by their church, St. Gabriel's United Episcopal Church in Springdale, Arkansas.)

Don Danz remembers Rosemary Kennedy, who died last week. Her father, Joe Kennedy, had her lobotomized as a young woman because she was difficult and emotional.

TulipGirl links to the Positive Discipline Resource Center (aka "Get Off Your Butt" parenting), which aims to help parents to navigate between the Scylla of punitive discipline and the Charybdis of permissiveness. (Turn your volume down before you hit that link -- there's a really obnoxious Shockwave ad at the top of the page.)

The Happy Homemaker has a helpful Biblical parenting checklist -- daily tasks like "Hugged my child and told him, 'I love you and God loves you,'" "Did not expect behavior beyond his age capabilities," and "Praised and thanked my child more than I criticized him." She invites her readers to follow suit with more thoughts in the comments.

Dustbury has an item about pico-hydro -- using small streams to generate small amounts of electricity, not enough to power an American home, but enough to make a difference to a Third World household. This kind of approach can do more good, more quickly than the kind of massive public works projects which have been favored for foreign aid funding in the past. Like micro-credit societies (another effective small-scale alternative to massive economic development programs), pico-hydro encourages self-sufficiency.

Michael Totten takes a look at reasons behind the widely varying stats produced by various website stat programs. (Hat tip: Alarming News.)

Discoshaman links to an article in Elle magazine about an evangelical Christian conference for teenage girls. Carlene Bauer writes that the conference caused her to reflect on her own Christian upbringing and her rejection of much of it. Discoshaman says there are some valid criticisms and the evangelical world should pay attention.



I discovered, through a perusal of my referrer logs, that someone has set up a domain with a rude name referring to an influential and controversial local business/political institution. Rather than putting up their own content, the proprietor of said site has simply put a frame around my site. If you go to that site, you will see my home page, but with the site's name on the window title.

There is a fix for this, and I will implement it in the next day or two, God willing.

While I have my disagreements with the institution in question -- particularly with its leadership -- I think the use of the word "sucks" is childish and does not improve the tone of public debate.

To the proprietor of the site: Stop framing my site. If you want to criticize that institution, do so in your own words. Feel free to link to and comment on articles that I've written on the subject. But don't try to associate my site with your childish domain name.

UPDATE: I think I've got it fixed. Any effort to frame my site will display a disclaimer, rather than the site itself. And referrals from the offending site are blocked as well.

Reader Ron Warnick thinks the pot is calling the kettle black:

You've called Brad Carson by the name Little Boy Brad, you call the city council minority the Cockroach Caucus, and you call the Tulsa World the Tulsa "Whirled." Yet you say that someone using the word "sucks" is immature?

Physician, heal thyself.

Yes, my epithets (you forgot "Chamber Pots") are meant to put their targets in a negative light, which is also the point behind sitenames using the word "sucks". Saying that something "sucks" is the sort of thing I'd expect to hear from a 10-year-old with a limited vocabulary -- an inarticulate expression of displeasure and frustration. Coming up with "Cockroach Caucus" and "Whirled" involved some degree of creativity and imagination, if I do say so myself. ("Little Boy Brad" wasn't as creative, but he deserved some derisive title in payment for the sleazy smear campaign he ran against Tom Coburn.)

I have a suspicion that the owner of the offending site isn't in fact a critic of the institution, but is attempting, by connecting it with a harshly negative and irresponsible name, to make this site look bad. I can do that all by myself, thank you very much.

Welcome back, Bitweever


After three months of displaying nothing but a blank page to the world, Tulsa blogger Bitweever is back. He says the blog may take off in a new direction to match the new directions in his life. In the past, he's blogged about all sorts of topics, including politics and technology.

(And you're more than welcome. It's the least I could do for someone who took a photo like this, which still graces my computer desktop at home. It's a nice reminder of what we have to look forward to in just three short months -- although I saw some of that already in Savannah this week.)

The Tulsa Whirled reported today that City Council Chairman Randy Sullivan does not live in the district he was elected to represent. While he is still registered to vote at the home of his wife, which is in the district, he has, since December 2003, when his wife apparently gave him the boot, been living in a condominium at 37th & Riverside Drive, in Council District 9, which is represented by Susan Neal.

Randy Sullivan seems to have a problem with the idea of geographical representation. You will recall that Randy was wooed in a hot tub by former Tulsa City Councilor John Benjamin (now a resident of Bixby) to run against Todd Huston, then the councilor for District 8, in the 2002 election. Later Randy discovered that he did not live in District 8, but was in District 7. It was that kind of alertness to public affairs that made him the ideal choice for the Tulsa Whirled's endorsement. The last thing they want on the Council is someone devoted to promoting the interests of the people who elected him. Someone ignorant of the district he represents must be nearly perfect in their eyes. The Council is supposed to be doing their bidding, dadgum it!

On December 1, 2003, Randy Sullivan was apparently asked to remove himself from his place of residence. His district offers a number of residential options, but perhaps he is not that familiar with the district. There are many apartment complexes of varying cost. There are many homes, some of which are for sale. There are a few hotels and inns. There are even condominiums. Surely, if he staying in the district mattered to him he could have found a way to make it work.

Why did he choose to move out of the district?

Sullivan, 48, said he chose the location instead of one in his district because it is close to River Parks, where he likes to exercise.

So what can be done about it? The Whirled story says that the City Charter doesn't require Councilors to be residents, and indeed the Charter only requires (Article 6, Section 7) that a Councilor must have been a qualified elector of the district 90 days prior to filing for office.

So why do I say Sullivan is no longer a City Councilor? State law is quite clear.

Always more to like


I'm on my way back from a few days in Savannah, Georgia, which continues to be one of my very favorite cities. I've been traveling here periodically for nearly eight years and have learned much about the city's history, how they wisely rejected urban renewal and promoted restoration, and how they carefully guard the historic district while accommodating new development. When a junior college wanted to tear down a historic block for their new campus, the city worked to find alternative accommodations and preserved the block. A private college, the Savannah College of Art and Design, has made the historic district their campus, not by asking the city fathers to condemn a hundred acres or so for a campus that looks like a shopping mall, but by buying older buildings that would have had trouble finding a new use and converting them to classroom, studio, and dorm space.

They've made so many good decisions here, that's it's almost enough to make one despair about Tulsa and all the bad decisions that have been made, decisions that have all but killed downtown and still threaten our beautiful older neighborhoods. To make matters worse, Tulsa now has the old guard that made all those bad decisions seeking to destroy the first slight movement toward progressive urban policy.

I am filing this entry from a free Internet connection in the Savannah airport -- that's right, free. They believe in making visitors feel welcome, rather than nickel-and-diming them to death. The hotel tax here -- despite the popularity of the city as a convention and tourism destination -- is only 6%. Same for the sales tax -- only 6%.

Better stop -- time to get on the plane.

No time to write much today, but I will call your attention to the recall thread over on the TulsaNow forums, which has more info on those out-of-state phone calls soliciting signatures for the recall petitions and a tabloid smear called the "Tulsa Tribunal". In that same thread, Medlock responds to the false charge, contained in the "Tribunal," that he opposed what led to the OSU-Tulsa. In fact, as a student leader, he opposed a foolish name change (from University Center of Tulsa to University Consortium of Tulsa) that also would have locked in the consortium concept -- a messy mix of colleges with no clear lines of responsibility -- for the forseeable future. He also fought to give students at UCT the same rights and status as students on the home campuses of the UCT schools.

The aim of the tabloid is to soften people up and make 'em angry enough to want to sign a petition. That tells me that the public relations offensive, fierce as it has been, hasn't been successful at convincing voters that the removal of these councilors cannot wait until the next election.

The tactic won't work for savvy voters, but people who are old-fashioned enough to depend entirely on the Tulsa Whirled and KRMG for their local news won't know any better, although even they might be put off by this over-the-top production.

Will the Tulsa Whirled publish a fair and critical examination of the material contained in this tabloid? Don't bet on it.

Dialing for detractors


I'm getting reports that the pro-recall forces are using an out-of-state telemarketing firm to solicit signatories for their petitions to oust Tulsa City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock. Over on the TulsaNow forums, rwarn17588 writes:

I got a call from a flunkie Monday who's said he's calling on behalf of the Chris Medlock recall effort. My caller ID said it was "unavailable," but after some quizzing he admitted he was calling from outside the Tulsa area. It was pretty obvious he was reading from a script, and reading it badly.

He asked me whether it was OK to send a volunteer out to my house so I could sign a petition on the recall. I replied that I wanted to see the petition and information in writing. He said he couldn't do that. I said, "Well, why not? You can just tell the folks where you're working to mail it to me so I can look it over." He then came clean that he couldn't do that, as he was "far away" and that he was a hired phone jockey for the recall organization. I didn't give my permission to send someone over, but I said I'd consider it. (Gotta keep the lines of communication open for information purposes, even though I'm notoriously hard on telemarketers. I bust their chops, interrogate 'em, and then cuss 'em when they don't tell the truth. I had one who was audibly frustrated and another who hung up on *me.*)

He said he'd call back later in the week. I'll report back if I find out anything new.

Another report, by e-mail:

I answered the phone last night and was greeted by a young woman's voice stating that she was calling on behalf of the Coalition for Responsible Government. Since we live in Councilor Chris Medlock's council district, I asked if she was soliciting my wife and my signatures on a petition to recall Councilor Medlock. When she responded affirmatively, I politely declined on behalf of both myself and my wife [name deleted] who also supports Chris's efforts to cleanup Tulsa's government.

Today, another representative of the same group called our home, again
soliciting our signatures on the recall petition. Judging by the sounds of the voices on the other end of the phone, these are young persons, probably students, making these calls. I would be much more impressed if the "business leaders" behind this recall were dirtying their own hands to solicit the signatures and kept an accurate list of those declining to sign.

It's not surprising that the Coalition for Reprehensible Government 2004 would hire a telemarketing company, as they have plenty of money to spend. I'm surprised that they haven't -- well, I won't say; don't want to give them any ideas.

If you happen to get such a call, it might be interesting to tell them yes, just to see what will happen next.

UPDATE: One of the calls went to a trained stenographer, and Chris Medlock has the transcript.

State of the city


Jamie Jamieson, developer of the Village at Central Park and outgoing president of TulsaNow has written a letter reflecting on the state of the city and the state of TulsaNow to mark the end of his term of office.

Jamie reviews some of 2004's positive developments, including the emergence of other civic-minded groups like Homeowners for Fair Zoning, SaveTulsa.org, and Young Professionals of Tulsa.

He has some choice words for the recall attempt:

TulsaNow exists to stimulate objective civic debate that leads to intelligent strategic decisions about our community’s future. Among the less enlightening of 2004’s small-town politicking is the ongoing ‘recall’ effort to eliminate two of the City’s more inconveniently opinionated Councilors, Medlock and Mautino. This self-serving initiative - denounced by virtually everyone, including the Mayor and Tulsa’s GOP – has the aroma of a rancorous and rattled old boys’ club that’s run out of ideas but resents the harsh light of day intruding into the comforting fug of the locker-room. We see those Councilors as elected representatives asking good questions. Let’s spend more time on the issues in 2005 and less on character assassination.

(If you're wondering, a fug is "a thick, stuffy, smelly atmosphere, especially that of a crowded, poorly-ventilated room.")

Jamie goes on to talk about TulsaNow's 2004 focus on land use issues and focus that will continue into 2005:

Land Use policy affects our health, taxes, traffic congestion, transit options, pollution, zoning, schools … you name it. Our present policies are out-dated and uncompetitive. They’re inefficient, expensive and socially divisive. Bureaucratic rivalries serve to hinder rather than encourage change. Acrimonious ‘Developer vs. Neighborhood’ disputes are just one symptom of the growing pains we’re facing that relate to land use.

He closes with an appeal to get involved:

Now more than ever we need imagination, courage, clarity of vision and a cooperative determination to carry through. The visionaries of the 1920s and 30’s are gone, and we can no longer depend on our founding philanthropists to decide what’s best for us. It’s up to informed citizens to take charge of our own destiny. TulsaNow aims to help by organizing and invigorating working groups of people who come to the table with ideas and solutions.

I was about to say ‘Watch this space’. Don’t. Get involved instead. Start by joining us at www.Tulsanow.org. Here’s to a ground-breaking year of visible progress and rational, purposeful, civic discussion.

Thanks, Jamie, for loving Tulsa enough to get involved and do all that you do to make it a better place to live.

The letter is not up on the TulsaNow website, yet, but I'm sure it will be. (UPDATE: Here it is.) For now, I'll post the full text in the extended entry.

Just a little vane


Another excerpt from Angle of Attack by Mike Gray:

Like all power-plant engineers, the [NASA] Lewis [Research Center] people labored in obscurity; glory in the airplane business went to the pilot or the builder, and nobody ever remembered the guys who designed the engines that made it all possible. One Lewis engineer, Herman Mark, tells the tale of an aviation banquet he attended shortly after World War II where people were asked to say what they did in the war. As other men talked of dogfights over New Guinea and night raids on Schweinfurt, Mark braced himself for the mortification of admitting that he had never left Cleveland. When his turn came, ge stood, embarrassed, and explained that he had been working on engines out at Lewis during the war and all he had really done was to design a little metal vane that redirected the airflow in the B-29 engines and eliminated overheating in the bottom cylinders. He sat down, and the ripple of applause built to a roar as the audience came to their feet. This happened to be a crowd that could fully appreciate the meaning of the term "engine fire."

Just finished reading a fascinating book on Project Apollo, one of a collection of books on the U. S. manned space program that my wife gave me.

Angle of Attack by Mike Gray, published by Penguin in 1992, tells the story of the effort to reach the moon as it was lived by Harrison Storms, who led North American Aviation's efforts to build the Apollo command and service module and the second stage of the Saturn V. The astronauts would not have been able to do their heroic and historic tasks had it not been for hundreds of thousands of engineers, machinists, technicians, program managers, and professional worry-warts who solved thousands of problems that no one had ever solved before. Those problems weren't just about strength of materials and vibration and magnetic fields, but even more about managing incredible complexity and turning all these individual efforts into a final working product. Since Apollo was a government program, there's plenty here about managing expectations and playing politics well enough so you can get the engineering job done.

You might think a book about engineering and problem-solving would be dry and dull, but Gray keeps the reader's interest page after page. I finished the book in two days, despite the fact that it mainly deals with aspects of engineering that I know little about. Gray explains his approach in an author's note:

Along with everybody else in the country, I watched those heart-pounding early launches that proved so conclusively that Grissom and Company had the Right Stuff. But even then I suspected that the real story was not up in the cockpit, but back in the hangar where the thing was built.

Unfortunately, the men who built Apollo, like the stonemasons of Europe's great cathedrals, spoke an indecipherable language, and their work -- though almost certainly heroic -- remained shrouded in mystery. The spotlight focused on the astronauts because the bravery of the test pilot was stark and comprehensible.

A few years later, while doing background research for The China Syndrome, I discovered that engineering gobbledegook could be quite easily translated into common English. Engineers, like short order cooks and basketball coaches, talk in shorthand, and if you force them to explain every single abbreviation, what they say begins to make sense.

From the bibliography, you see that the book depends heavily on his interviews, mainly done in the late '70s and early '80s, of key North American and NASA personnel, as well as NASA interviews from the '60s and '70s. Gray weaves together all these different perspectives into a seamless single narrative.

The book even gives us something new to dislike about Walter Mondale.

My blogging has been hindered by the comatose condition of my laptop, but Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock is blogging up a storm.

He relates the story of an effort, in the previous council term, by him and then-Councilor Joe Williams to set up a future growth task force, an idea that gained the support of six of the nine councilors. Here was the rationale behind the idea:

Tulsa's growth could no longer run unabated to the southeast because we were now hemmed in by Bixby and Broken Arrow. As such, the City of Tulsa was going to have to find new areas for growth. Areas that were less appealing for numerous reasons (geographic, geological, demographic, etc.) than the suburbs. Therefore, strategies and plans needed to be devised to compete with market forces that would serve to build up the suburbs and cause Tulsa growth to stagnate.

An idea the city needed to pursue -- how do we keep Tulsa growing and competitive with the suburbs? Why didn't it happen? It had the support of Mayor LaFortune -- initially, anyway:

However, the Mayor didn't want to alienate any councilors and was troubled by the opposition being expressed by Councilors Christiansen, Justis and Sullivan. If I couldn't get at least eight councilors to sign on, the Mayor (I was told minutes before a joint press conference announcing the initiative) would withdraw his support.

Please note that I had six councilors lined up in support, which is more than enough to form a council driven task force while over-riding a possible veto. However, new as I was, I realized that in a strong Mayor form of government, any task force created would be only an advisory panel. As such, it would be far less effective, due in part to the fact that it would be more difficult to lure participation from the business community. Developer cooperation was essential if the task force was to have validity.

The ultimate source of the opposition, which kept the Mayor from endorsing the task force, was an organization with a vested interest in making the City of Tulsa a rotten place to live, so you'll want to buy their new houses in the suburbs. After all, if you're happy with your neighborhood, you might stay and they don't make any money. This weekend we learned that that organization is actively supporting the recall.

Someone asked me recently what it would take for the Mayor to regain the confidence of grassroots Tulsans. I said he'd have to be willing to make some tough decisions that will necessarily inflict pain on some very powerful vested interests that are standing in the way of constructive solutions to long-standing problems and conflicts. For too long, he's made a habit of kissing what he should be kicking. If he doesn't want to be a one-termer, LaFortune has to stand up to the likes of Bob Poe and Jay Clemens of the Tulsa Metro Chamber and Josh Fowler of the Home Builders Association, and make decisions that will benefit Tulsa even if it makes them very angry.

Medlock also answers the question, "Are you a terrorist?" in response to the accusation of recall misleader Jon Davidson.

We've long suspected it, and Ken Neal admitted it in his Sunday Whirled column:

It is a common accusation that the World “never saw a tax it doesn’t like.” There is a lot of truth in that statement.

The point of the editorial is to push for the proposed fuel tax increase for roads and bridges. No one doubts that some of our roads and bridges are in dire shape, but many of us doubt whether giving an ever-larger share of the wealth and income of Oklahomans to state government is going to fix that problem.

Ken Neal regularly advocates for a bigger share of the pie for government. I wonder what percentage of the state economy he would consider to be the limit beyond which government should not be allowed to grow. At what point would he say that the state has as much as it should have and needs to learn to live within its means.

Rather than increasing the state's share of the pie, we need to grow the pie.

Historic non-preservation

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There's a story in Sunday's Whirled (starts here, jump page here) about a revival of plans to build a new Arvest Bank branch on the southeast corner of 15th and Utica. The dispute isn't so much about the bank building itself, which will sit on the site of the old H. L. Moss store, but about the parking, which will replace three homes within the Yorktown Historic Preservation zoning district, and about access from the bank lot to Victor Avenue, currently a residential street.

The dispute is ultimately the result of trying to do suburban-style development in one of Tulsa's few remaining walkable urban neighborhoods. If the bank were built without a drive-through, the parking could probably fit in the already commercialized area at the corner, without the need to sacrifice the historic homes.

The crux of the matter


Dawn Eden has an article about Planned Parenthood's Teenwire website in Crux Magazine, a new online magazine on culture from a Christian perspective, aimed at young adults.

The article, "Everybody's Doing It" is a good overview of what Dawn has uncovered and reported on her blog about her research into what Planned Parenthood is telling teens (and younger) about sex. This quote from the middle of the article seems to some it all up:

At this point, one could be forgiven for thinking that Planned Parenthoodʼs goal is not to prevent teen pregnancy, but rather to sexualize children.

Dawn has a lot for you to read on her blog, including the playlist from her latest DJ gig and an account of a solo carriage ride through the streets of New York, still dressed up for Christmas.

(The title of the former entry, "The Night Ray Stevens Cleared the Dance Floor," reminds me of my one and only stint as a DJ, at a fraternity party the first week of my freshman year. I and another freshman -- who actually understood what a DJ was supposed to do -- filled in for a senior who had been injured in a bike accident. As the party moved into the wee hours, I was determined to chase the last few couples off the dance floor so I could go to bed. I was pretty sure that "I Am the Walrus," with lyrics like "Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye," would kill whatever romance lingered in the air. But two or three couples were still out there, slow dancing, swaying back and forth, as if I were playing, "I Only Have Eyes for You.")

Don't anybody say I've never said anything nice about the Tulsa Whirled. That was a lovely story they ran Saturday on the front of the local section about Dr. James D. Green's retirement. (Article starts here, jump page here.)

Tulsa physician James D. Green has never been a typical doctor — he makes house calls, prays with his patients and doesn't have a computer on his desk.

In an age of standardized care, Green believes in tailoring his
medical practice to meet the needs of his patients.

To many people, he might sound like the perfect doctor, but
alas, he isn't accepting new patients. After more than 43 years of
practice, Green, 71, is closing his office and going into semiretirement.

We've gotten to know Dr. Green and his family through church -- they are wonderful folks. (Dr. Green and I sometimes sit next to each other in the choir, and we share an appreciation for traditional hymns sung to familiar tunes.)

The article mentions that Dr. Green will continue to visit some of his homebound patients, and the Greens plan to travel to Ukraine (as they've done before) to work with clinics and hospitals. Our church has a connection with Ukraine going back about 10 years, when some of our church members did year-long stints as short term missionaries in southern Ukraine, as part of the "CoMission", a cooperative effort among denominational and independent missions agencies and parachurch groups to reach the old Soviet Union with the gospel.

May Jim and Betty Jo enjoy a long and fruitful retirement.

I was listening to a nutrition talk show as I woke up this morning. The host was saying that in Third World countries they don't have a word for "menopause". This is because in these more primitive lands, their diet contains more of some nutrient of which we in the West, with our overprocessed foods, are deprived, a nutrient which staves off the Change of Life.

I may be wrong, but if Third World languages lack a word for menopause, I'll bet it's because women tend to die from poor sanitation, malaria (because we won't let them use DDT), malnutrition, war, natural disasters, and overcrowded buses careening off of poorly engineered roads long before they have a chance to experience a hot flash.

...when the gate agent looks at your eyes and says, "I'm sorry, sir, but you're going to have to check those."

Yesterday's Whirled reported that more members of the Coalition of Reprehensible Government 2004 have emerged from the shadows. (Article here, jump page here.)

A partial membership list was released Friday by a group of primarily business people who are pushing to recall City Councilors Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino.

The list from the Coalition for Responsible Government 2004 reveals no individual names but includes several business associations, a few businesses and references to other commercial industries.

The councilors and their supporters have criticized the group for not revealing its membership.

“Obviously we aren’t going to list individual names because of the terrorist tactics the councilors have taken against individuals. It’s those very tactics that spurred the recall,” coalition chairman Jon Davidson said.

This is contemptible and Davidson should have to apologize. I know the families of two victims of real terrorist tactics, and it's an insult to the memories of real victims of terror to throw such terminology around loosely. If you want to register your objections with Davidson's employer, here's a link to the info you need.

So what groups are involved?

The list released Friday includes the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors, the Home Builders Association of Greater Tulsa and the Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma.

Davidson said leadership boards are speaking for those organizations, which represent about 4,400 individuals.

“Certainly, a majority of the membership are in support of the recall,” he said.

Other businesses named by the coalition are Ameristar Fencing Products, owned by Edward Gibbs, and D.L.V. Enterprises, owned by Doug Vincent.

Davidson said the membership also includes representatives of the hospitality industry, the banking industry and the manufacturing sector, as well as dozens of individuals and smaller businesses.

This is interesting: An attempt to borrow the credibility of businesses who refuse to be named.

Those associations include a lot of members, and I'll bet the membership was never consulted. If you know members of those organizations, you might call and ask if the board speaks for them on this issue, and if not, encourage them to register their objection with those organizations and to make their objection public.

You can go here to find members of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Oklahoma -- select Oklahoma on the state pulldown menu and you'll get the list of 315 members. The Home Builders Association membership list is here. Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors doesn't have a membership list, but I assume that any Realtor in the area is automatically a member -- there are over 2000 Realtors with a Tulsa address.



That's the verdict on my Dell Inspiron 4000 -- the motherboard has failed in some way. They tried swapping everything that could be swapped, but the system continued to freeze during startup.

From Dell's support website, I gather that this freeze-up problem has afflicted many Dell systems, which is why I probably won't make my next system a Dell. And I have to wonder at the problem reasserting itself so quickly and dramatically after I had the laptop in for replacement of the video cable.

I will give Dell credit for one thing -- I have already received my replacement power supply -- less than a week after I learned about the recall. Now if I only had a healthy laptop to plug it into.

Beacon reports on the FAA letter


This week's edition of the Tulsa Beacon (on sale at Steve's Sundries and QuikTrip locations, among other places) reports on the letter the Federal Aviation Administration sent to Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune:

The Federal Aviation Administration has sent a letter to Mayor Bill LaFortune asking him to answer charges concerning City Councilor Bill Christiansen and Jones-Riverside Airport.

The letter is a response to charges by Kent Faith of Roadhouse Aviation, a direct competitor with Christiansen Aviation. Those are the only two companies that supply fuel at Jones Airport.

The letter raises the issue of “economic discrimination and exclusive rights” for the Tulsa Airport Authority.

“I welcome this,” Christiansen said. “It’s time to clear the air. All these accusations have already been disproved in a lawsuit. There is no judgment against me. I want to get past this and get on with the business of the airport.”

Maybe I misunderstood: I thought the accusations were settled out of court, not disproved in court. And the FAA's questions concern the actions of the airport authority in matters that concern Councilor Christiansen's business, but the questions don't directly accuse or question the Councilor's actions, as far as I can tell. I don't see why he should be taking offense.

The three issues raised by the letter have to do with allocation of hangar space, lease rates, apron access, and enforcement of the airport sign policy.

If the Tulsa Airport Authority is engaged in economic discrimination or granting exclusive rights, it could jeopardize federal grant money for projects at both city-owned airports, not only Jones Riverside, but also Tulsa International.

The Mayor and his staff will be tempted to circle the wagons and obscure everything in a cloud of legalese, in hopes that any discriminatory practices will be left undiscovered or at least unprovable. If the Tulsa Airport Authority has been violating FAA rules, it would be better to confess now and correct the problem, rather than get caught after a denial.

You can read the whole Beacon story here on their website until next Wednesday, when it will be replaced by next week's top story.

(I wish the Beacon would set up a blog and use it to file back articles on their site, rather than clear the old articles away at the end of the week. With most of the Tulsa Whirled content limited to subscribers, if the Beacon put all its city reporting online, it could win the Google battle -- be the higher ranked site for information about various city officials and institutions. It would be simple -- use Blogger and have the files FTPed to tulsabeacon.com.)

Thanks to readers K. A. Hruzer and Steven Roemerman for writing with tips on diagnosing my poor laptop's problems. It was reassuring to see that both had similar thoughts on what could be wrong. I've tried reflashing the BIOS to no avail, as well as disabling everything in the BIOS that I can find to disable. I replaced the memory. It passes Dell's diagnostic suite. The next thing to try is replacing the reserve (CMOS) battery, which powers the clock, the BIOS, and the NVRAM. I will keep you posted.

And so to bed


Putting my blogroll in recent-update order has called my attention back to blogs I marked long ago, but haven't read in a while.

You may have noticed a couple of dead bloggers on the blogroll. One of them is Samuel Pepys, the famous diarist of 17th century London. His blog posts the entry from his diary for today's date, 343 years ago.

Here's his entry for January 5, 1661/1662:

(Lord’s day). Left my wife in bed not well . . . and I to church, and so home to dinner, and dined alone upon some marrow bones, and had a fine piece of rost beef, but being alone I eat none. So after dinner comes in my brother Tom, and he tells me how he hath seen the father and mother of the girl which my cozen Joyces would have him to have for a wife, and they are much for it, but we are in a great quandary what to do therein, 200l. being but a little money; and I hope, if he continues as he begins, he may look out for one with more. To church, and before sermon there was a long psalm, and half another sung out while the Sexton gathered what the church would give him for this last year. I gave him 3s., and have the last week given the Clerk 2s., which I set down that I may know what to do the next year, if it please the Lord that I live so long; but the jest was, the Clerk begins the 25th psalm, which hath a proper tune to it, and then the 116th, which cannot be sung with that tune, which seemed very ridiculous. After church to Sir W. Batten’s, where on purpose I have not been this fortnight, and I am resolved to keep myself more reserved to avoyd the contempt which otherwise I must fall into, and so home and six and talked and supped with my wife, and so up to prayers and to bed, having wrote a letter this night to Sir J. Mennes in the Downs for his opinion in the business of striking of flags.

Some things I found interesting in this short entry:

  • Samuel thinks his brother ought to hold out for a wife with a bigger dowry -- more than 200 pounds, which seems a pretty substantial sum for the time.
  • Money is collected for the clergy's pay only once a year, and Pepys gave a grand total of 5 shillings (1/4 of a pound) for the clerk and sexton. (I assume that the church received more substantial funds from the state and from wealthy patrons.)
  • The problem of church musicians choosing unsingable melodies or matching words with an ill-fitting tune has been around for a very long time.

The site is updated nearly every day, and each entry is generously annotated with hyperlinks for more information about the places and people Pepys writes about. It's a fascinating look into another time and place, but one that is not entirely foreign or incomprehensible.

Federal scrutiny of Tulsa's airports continues to expand, with the potential of endangering tens of millions of dollars in federal funds for our two city-owned airports, Tulsa International and Jones Riverside, which was once one of the nation's busiest general aviation airports.

KFAQ was reporting today that on December 22, the FAA sent a letter to Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune expressing concern about charges of discriminatory rules and practices at Jones Riverside Airport designed to favor fixed-base operator Christiansen Aviation over its competitor, Roadhouse Aviation. Christiansen Aviation is owned by Tulsa City Councilor Bill Christiansen. The FAA appears to be looking at the same allegations that were part of the lawsuit Roadhouse owner Kent Faith brought against the City and Christiansen.

Mayor LaFortune has until January 22 to reply, and he leaves today for a 10-day trip to Tiberias, Israel. He has no deputy mayor -- Steve Sewell resigned at the end of last year to go to work for the U. S. Attorney -- and his interim airports director is also City Clerk and Chief Financial Officer of the City.

City Councilor Sam Roop, who is heading up the Council's inquiry into the airports, said that the Council may send its own reply to the FAA if the Mayor fails to respond in a timely fashion. Roop said he had been trying to meet with the Mayor to help with a response, but he had yet to speak with the Mayor.

Roop also reminded the KFAQ audience that, although Phase I of the investigation is complete, the Council's investigation is ongoing, proceeding to look into these allegations of discriminatory rules, as well as the noise abatement program at Tulsa International Airport and other concerns.

Tulsa stands to lose both prestige and money if we don't get this mess cleaned up.

P.S.: I wish I could link you directly to the KFAQ website to hear audio of the interview with Councilor Roop, but they are still "working out the kinks" with streaming audio. I suspect it's a rights and licensing issue, but if it's a technical problem, guys, give me a call!

More from the City Councilors


Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock has posted his second in a series of Frequently Asked (or Insinuated) Questions: "Are you anti-growth?" He raises the point that the city needs to be pursuing and facilitating quality infill development, which makes better use of existing infrastructure than greenfield expansion. He says that to be competitive as a core city, Tulsa needs to be able to offer what the suburbs can't:

What the suburbs have to sell is “new,” “modern” and “safer.” If Tulsa is to thrive as a core city, then we must begin to leverage what Tulsa has to offer. Proximity to the work place, older homes in stable neighborhoods with mature trees and curbs and shopping experiences that can’t be found in the suburbs.

With regard to the proposed north Tulsa County annexation, he points out that it would take to provide that 23 square mile area with the infrastructure it would need. He doesn't say, but I'm sure he knows, that we are still in the process of providing basic infrastructure to the land in the city annexed in 1966, when Tulsa tripled in land area -- most of our first five third-penny packages were devoted to upgrading county roads to city arterials and implementing federal wastewater mandates, and we're still far from done.

Meanwhile, Councilor Jim Mautino has updated his personal website with comments on the recall attempt targeting him and Councilor Medlock:

Why are these individuals attacking us at this time? Quite simply, five city councilors representing the people’s interest are asking some hard questions about the status quo and whether it is truly serving the public’s interest . The answers being received are pointing out deficiencies with Tulsa’s government and the identification of special interests that have been profiting from your tax dollars for years. Obviously they are upset at the possibility their dealings are in the process of being disrupted. For that reason, we are now engaged in this recall process.

The recall process for any elected official in Tulsa is quite simple and the threshold required to actually affect our government is extremely light. For that reason, it is important we all take this affront to our representation seriously and individually participate in stopping the recall process presently underway. See my formal response to the recall petition at Reply to Recall. Call and join with me in resisting the tyranny of special interests who wish to reverse Tulsans’ first choices of Councilors for their districts.

And Councilor Mautino has set up his own blog here. A blog is an awfully handy, low-maintenance means to put out occasional press releases or comments.

(Hat tip to Bobby Holt for the pointer to Councilor Mautino's updated site.)

Dude! You've gone to Dell Hell!


Still battling this freeze-up problem on my Dell laptop. I may do grievous bodily harm to the next person who suggests I just need to reinstall Windows. I am seeing freeze-ups occur when the BIOS is loading, long before Windows is even touched. To prove that Windows could not possibly be involved, I removed the floppy drive, the CD-ROM drive, and the hard drive, and as the BIOS was loading, the thing still froze for several minutes before unfreezing. I'm running Dell diagnostics right now -- it boots to DOS from a floppy -- and it's frozen up six times already, but has only failed one test so far. (The serial port was too speedy, it says.)

In the extended entry, you can see blurry screenshots of the boot screen, where it consistently freezes up -- maybe someone out there can give me a clue:

Orange Bowl consolation


Were the Sooners that bad, or were the Trojans really that good? I stopped watching in the middle of the second quarter, stopped listening in the middle of the third.

At least Oklahomans have this to console us: Our wily Boy Governor, Brad Henry, didn't bet over his head in the traditional friendly wager between the governors of the warring states:

If USC wins the game in Miami, California National Guard troops will receive a side of Oklahoma beef and other Sooner state products.

If Oklahoma prevails, Schwarzenegger will send that state's troops a basketful of Golden State products, including zesty avocados, garlic, strawberries, caviar and salmon. And he'll throw in tickets to some of the state's top ski resorts and tourist attractions, including Squaw Valley and Disneyland.

``We have the finest agricultural products and the most scenic and diverse tourist destinations in the country. And on Jan. 4, we will prove we have the best college football team, too,'' Schwarzenegger said in a statement issued last week.

The California governor will be preparing for Wednesday's State of the State address and won't be able to watch the game. But Henry, a third generation Oklahoman, plans to attend.

If his team loses, Henry will provide a gift basket filled with Oklahoma products, including cornbread, cheese, jellies and chocolate.

Cornbread or caviar? Jellies or Squaw Valley lift tickets? There's a lot of state pride in Gov. Schwarzenegger's wager. Oklahoma's bet reeks of, "Sorry, it's not much, but it's the best we could do." Which is how many of us feel about Governor Henry.

For whom the Dell boils


I just learned today that the AC adapter for my Dell Inspiron 4000 (vintage 2002) has been recalled. In fact, any Dell laptop shipped between September 1998 and February 2002 may be affected.

Q. What is the issue with the Dell C-Family AC Adapter?

A. The adapters could overheat, which could pose risk of fire or electrical shock.

Q. What are the symptoms of the issue?

A. Customers could experience smoke emitting from the AC adapter. Customers could also experience the housing of the AC adapter melting or, in some cases, a flame.

Dell has set up a special website so you can find out if your adapter needs replacement.

In the meantime:

While awaiting a replacement adapter from Dell, customers should unplug the adapter from the wall electrical outlet when unattended. If an adapter shows any sign of overheating, customers should immediately unplug the adapter at the wall electrical outlet and notify Dell.

It's bad enough having to worry about the AC adapter deciding to execute the deprecated HCF instruction, but my Inspiron has started having seizures again. After several months in remission, which seemed to be the result reinstalling an older version of the video driver, the machine has begun again to freeze, sometimes for a fraction of a second, sometimes for several minutes -- the display remains unchanged, typed keys and mouse movements aren't buffered, and the system clock stops, and does not catch up when things start moving again. The only recent change has been replacement of a video cable, but that happened several days before the seizures began again. This can happen at any time, even before the operating system (Windows XP Home) has started to load.

(By the way, the cable was replaced by Wholesale Computer Supply at 5727 S Garnett -- they got it done quickly and for a reasonable price.)

Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune has submitted two new appointments to the Board of Adjustment. The nominees are Clayda Stead and Frank X. Henke IV, replacing Norma Turnbo and David White, respectively. The City Council's Urban and Economic Development committee will consider these nominations today at 10 a.m. in the Council Committee room.

Turnbo's term ended 19 months ago. White's term expired this past May. The Mayor is finally getting around to dealing with these expired terms.

The Board of Adjustment has a significant impact on the quality of life of Tulsa's neighborhoods, because of the discretion the BoA has under the zoning code to grant special exceptions under many conditions. We need good, fair-minded people who will give due consideration to the impact of their decisions on homeowners.

I'm familiar with Clayda mainly from her activism in opposition to sales tax increases in the early and mid '90s. She was also an advocate for building the women's softball fields, and the eastside park where they are located was named Savage Park at Clayda's urging. I don't know anything about Clayda's views on land use. Clayda has also run for City Council in District 5.

Frank X. Henke IV is the son of Frank and Bonnie Henke. I've not met the younger Frank, but neighborhood activists know and appreciate his mother as someone who is knowledgeable and fair-minded about land use and zoning issues and understands neighborhood concerns. Bonnie ran for City Council in District 9 in 2002, losing the Republican primary to Susan Neal by a slender margin. (A last-minute unfair attack circulated by developers via e-mail may have been the deciding factor in that race.) If Frank IV shares his mother's views, he will be a fine addition to the board.

If you can't attend in person, I encourage you to tune in to the committee replay on Tulsa Cable channel 24, to see what questions are asked and if there is anything that should be of concern to neighborhoods. Committee meetings are usually rebroadcast between 1 pm - 6 pm each day, beginning the following day. I don't expect the nominations to come before the full Council this week, as the Council is taking more time to vet nominations than was customary in the past.

Before I close, I want to thank David White for his years of service as a member and chairman of the Board of Adjustment. David is a Midtown resident (White City) who regularly attends meetings of the Midtown Coalition of Neighborhood Associations. He has always been ready to answer questions and offer insight into the reasons behind the decisions made by the board. BoA meetings often last far into the evening, and doing the job well requires additional time to study the materials and see the subject property first-hand. We may not always have agreed with his decisions, but we knew that he was diligent and honestly striving to be fair, and that he understood and considered the impact of his decisions on neighborhoods. Thanks, David, for the time you invested in this role.

Sunday morning our pastor challenged us to read the Bible through this year. Here's one site, set up like a blog, to make it simple. They've got several RSS feeds, too, for different reading methods.

The version is the English Standard Version, which stays close to the King James Version, while avoiding archaic language and making use of the best available manuscripts -- it's now the version of choice in our church.

It's been too long since I tried something like this, and consequently I no longer know the Scriptures as thoroughly as I once did. While years past of more diligent study have sustained me thus far, it's like trying to survive on your own body fat, without eating -- eventually all your reserves are exhausted.

Many years ago, my dad read the entire Bible in a single day. He used the Living Bible and the speed-reading techniques he had learned to get through it all in 24 hours. I remember that he had marked time estimates at the end of each book so he could pace himself. He was our little Baptist church's Church Training Director at the time, and the stunt was a way to encourage church members to read the Bible through at 1/365th the pace. How hard could that be?

"Call the Editor", RIP

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On New Year's Day, the Tulsa Whirled announced the demise of the long-running "Call the Editor" feature, which the paper inherited after it drove the late, lamented Tulsa Tribune out of business in 1992, the Whirled having refused to renew their longstanding joint operating agreement.

"Call the Editor" worked like this: People called and left brief, anonymous comments on the news on an answering machine. Someone would then weed through the comments and a selection would be published each day.

The very act of selection creates an opportunity for bias. If calls in support of the City Council majority outnumbered calls in opposition by a 100-1 margin, the paper could publish one of each and claim they fairly represented both sides of the issue, although they would have misrepresented the relative intensity of opinion. Then again, anonymous calls to an answering machine don't represent a scientific sample of opinion. It could make for entertaining reading, but it was never one of my must-read features.

Anyway, "Call the Editor" is an outdated approach to commenting on news articles. So are letters to the editor. Blogs and message boards make it possible for anyone to comment publicly on any Whirled article, and to do so immediately, whether or not the Whirled wants to publish that comment. The only problem now is knowing where to look for that commentary. Someday, someone will set up a website to let you view a newspaper article in one frame and comments on that article in another. For now, I encourage people to register and use the TulsaNow forums.

(And before someone shouts "hypocrite," I plan to add non-anonymous comments to this blog as soon as I can install software to prevent comment spam. This being a one-man operation, I don't have time to be a comment cop. It probably won't happen this week, though. And in the meantime, you can comment all you like over at the TulsaNow forums.)

If you really want to call the editor, you still can: Many of the editorial board members are listed in the phone book, and they all have voice mail at the newspaper.

Here's the reason the Whirled gives for discontinuing the feature, with helpful translations in brackets:

With the addition of Datelines, however, we say goodbye to Call the Editor. Since 1992, when The Tulsa Tribune ceased publication, Call the Editor has been a mainstay on A-2 of the Tulsa World.

We believe that it is time to take a more positive approach to commentary in our community. [We are sick and tired of all of you telling us how rotten the paper is.] Despite careful editing [censorship], we believe — and many of you have told us — that Call the Editor has become extremely negative and divisive within our communities. [Our feelings are wounded. Get the iodine.] Call the Sports Editor, which appeared in the Sports section, also has been discontinued.

We still want to hear from you and give you an opportunity to express your views on everything from the Tulsa World to the world at large. However, we ask that you write your comments to our Opinion section. [That way we can sit on them for three weeks until no one can remember the article to which you responded.]

There, you'll be given the opportunity to put your name with your comments and stand up for your point of view. [If we agree with it.] Editorial Pages Editor Ken Neal plans to run more of your letters [through the shredder], and we look forward to carrying on Call the Editor's history of commentary in those letters.

If the Whirled really wants to end anonymous, destructive, negative, and divisive commentary, they should begin by firing the entire editorial board.

The latest Urban Tulsa includes a lengthy article on the struggle between the City Council's "Gang of Five" and the city establishment. The reporter, Michael Duffy, did a thorough job, and he presents quotes from interviews with City Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock, Whirled editorial page editor Ken Neal, pro-recall Homebuilders Association lobbyist Josh Fowler, anti-recall campaign chairman Rick Westcott, and former City Councilor Darla Hall, along with coverage of the December 17th Council hearing on the reappointment of Jim Cameron and Lou Reynolds to Tulsa's water board and the joint press conference the same day announcing the opposition to the recall of the Tulsa County Republican Party, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa, and the local chapter of the NAACP. Anyone wondering "What's the deal with the City Council?" would get a good overview by reading this piece.

I hope this article is an indication that Urban Tulsa plans to devote more column inches and resources to covering local politics. Some resources devoted to copy-editing would be useful, too: The article mangles some website addresses (it's www.tulsagop.org, not www.gop.org, and there should be a .com at the end of Chris Medlock's blog address), and it refers to KFAQ as a "Christian radio station" -- it's a secular, but faith-friendly, talk radio station.

In the same issue is Barry Friedman's humorous look back at Tulsa's 2004, and an article by Gretchen Collins about retail growth in Owasso and Broken Arrow.

Epiphany service



It was a lovely service. Some say that worship ought to engage all the senses, and tonight's Epiphany Procession managed three of five -- the sight of the candlelight procession, the smell of incense, and the glorious sounds of hymns, carols, and canticles.

The cantor (seen at right) performed his part adequately, despite having to juggle a music book, a pitch pipe, and a lit candle, while also beating time during the polyphonic parts, and wondering whether standing in the exhaust of the thurible would adversely affect his voice. (It didn't.)

My fellow wise men (James Lawrence, Gary Leff, and Brad Wilson) did a splendid job singing Palestrina's responsories, and the Trinity Choir was likewise splendid as they performed "The Noble Stem of Jesse" (another English paraphrase of the German carol better known as "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"), "Eastern Monarchs, Sages Three", "Ab Oriente" by Jacob Handl.

It was a treat to hear Fred Graves, retired professor of theatre at the University of Tulsa, read the the third lesson (Matthew 2:1-9), with his beautiful diction and warm tone. I got to know Fred during his years of service as newsletter editor for the Florence Park neighborhood association and as their representative to the Midtown Coalition of Neighborhood Associations. (He retired from that a few years ago and is still hoping to see the younger folk in the neighborhood step forward to get the association going again.)

The hymns told the story of the wise men and their gifts: "The First Nowell", "We Three Kings" (which tells the spiritual significance of the three gifts), "As with Gladness Men of Old", "What Star Is This, with Beams So Bright." The recessional hymn, "Hail to the Lord's Anointed," shifts our focus from the babe in the manger to Christ, the conquering king:

Kings shall bow down before him,
and gold and incense bring
all nations shall adore him,
his praise all people sing;
to him shall prayer unceasing
and daily vows ascend;
his kingdom still increasing,
a kingdom without end.

O'er every foe victorious,
he on his throne shall rest;
from age to age more glorious,
all blessing and all blest:
the tide of time shall never
his covenant remove;
his Name shall stand for ever,
his changeless Name of Love.

Missing from the service was David Rollo, who is in the hospital. David is the musical director of the Coventry Chorale, a member of the Trinity Choir, and retired vocal music teacher at Holland Hall. David taught a lot of folks in this town to sing and to love singing (me included). As you read this, please take a minute to offer a prayer for his speedy and full recovery. Thanks.

Sunday evening, January 2, at 5:00 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Tulsa with present the annual Epiphany Procession, based on York Minster's traditional service. The service begins with a candlelight procession. Two separate groups enter from the north and south ambulatories, proceed down the aisles to the back of the church, then join together and process to the choir stalls. The smaller of the two groups, a four-voice schola cantorum, represents the wise men, the larger, made up of Trinity's choir, represents Everyman.

I'll be part of that smaller group, singing two responsories by Palestrina, along with three other men from Coventry Chorale. The pieces alternate between plainsong intonations by a cantor (me, this year) and responses in four-part polyphonic harmony. We rehearsed a couple of nights ago, and it sounds wonderful in Trinity's beautiful Gothic Revival sanctuary.

Ours is a relatively small part of the service, which also includes anthems sung by Trinity's choir, hymns sung by the congregation, and readings from Scripture appropriate to the feast of the Epiphany, which marks the manifestation of God's glory in Christ, as seen in the presentation of Christ in the temple, the visit of the Magi, Christ's childhood visit to the temple, and Christ's baptism.

Although Trinity isn't my home church, it's where I've done a lot of singing over the years: Lessons and Carols as part of Holland Hall School's Concert Chorus and Madrigal Singers, weekly rehearsals and semi-annual performances for 15 years with Coventry Chorale. When Trinity started the Epiphany service, Coventry provided the singers in partial thanks for allowing us to rehearse and perform at the church. (By the way, I'm on an indefinite sabbatical from Coventry -- I miss it, but the busyness of politics and maintaining this blog made the weekly rehearsal commitment too much to keep.) There is no better setting in Tulsa for the performance of sacred choral music or the drama of the Anglican liturgy.

The Epiphany Procession is a beautiful service and a fitting close to Christmastide. If you're in Tulsa, I hope you can join us.

Better than a poke in the eye


We've been ringing in the new year watching Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, and Dr. Howard racing through hospital corridors, in the original "Men in Black". There's nothing like the merry cackles of an eight-year-old and a four-year-old, already giddy for being allowed to stay up late, watching classic slapstick. Oh, for the days when anesthesia involved the use of mallets!

New Year's Eve was warm here in Tulsa -- temps in the low 70s. I walked with the kids as they rode their new bikes from Santa to visit some friends a few blocks away. Eight-year-old helpfully observed that the elves forgot to remove the Academy Sports price tag from little sister's bike. That's the sort of thing that can get you dropped from Santa's preferred list of subcontractors. (Santa used to build it all at the North Pole, but you can't beat outsourcing.)

Meanwhile, other bloggers have been busy:

Bobby Holt at Tulsa Topics is pondering the age-old problem of reconciling God's goodness and omnipotence and the reality of pain and suffering, in light of the massive death and destruction dealt by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

Discoshaman and his boys rang in the new year with a bang in the heart of Kyiv, Ukraine, and he's got photos.

Wizbang is keeping up with the ongoing controversy over the recounts in the Washington State governor's race, pointing us to an analysis of ballot count and voter count discrepancies by Seattle blogger Stefan Sharkansky.

It was last reported that there were 3,539 more ballots counted in King County than voters who cast them. The discrepancy is actually much larger.

The 3,539 is only the net. This comes from having roughly 1,500 more voters than counted ballots in some precincts, and about 5,000 more ballots than known voters in other precincts.

The situation in Washington bears a strong resemblance to election discrepancies in Tulsa's City Council District 3 race, complete with spin-filled editorials attacking the real winner for complaining about discrepancies. In Tulsa, however, we didn't have new ballots magically appearing. I don't know what the laws are in Washington, but here in Oklahoma if the number of irregularities exceeds the margin of victory, the outcome cannot be mathematically determined and a revote is mandatory. It's the only way to be sure.

Closer to home, Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock answers the first in a series of Frequently Asked (or Insinuated) Questions: "Why do you hate the suburbs?"

Oklahoma City's Downtown Guy previewed downtown Oklahoma City's New Year's Eve celebrations. And Charles G. Hill of Dustbury has some typically brilliant observations on the decay of Oklahoma City south of the river, concluding with this bit of pith:

The city can wave whatever magic wands are at its disposal, but change comes from the bottom up, one street, sometimes one building at a time.

Well said. And Happy New Year 2005 to one and all!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2004 is the previous archive.

February 2005 is the next archive.

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