March 2005 Archives

Bearing witness

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Dave Curell, one of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) pastors who kept vigil outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo was starved to death, committed an act of civil disobedience by trying to enter the hospice without the permission of the administrator and spent the night in the Pinellas County jail. In a lengthy entry, he describes the work they did outside the hospice, the decision for civil disobedience, and what went through his mind as he went forward with that decision. He sets the scene shortly after their arrival:

In this environment our role was quickly defined. As we told people we were pastors we were welcomed and invited to do what pastors are supposed to do: care for the sheep. The lack of pastoral presence was obvious from the first. As one man we met early put it, “Where are the pastors? Where the hell are the pastors?” Even the Roman Catholic faithful welcomed us as they lamented the absence of their priests. They were as sheep without a shepherd.

The days were long and the ministry opportunities were constant. It was as if everyone there--police, protestors, and press--had their chest cavities opened for work on the heart. We were all laid bare by the reality that a woman who had committed no crime was being dehydrated and starved to death in the building next to us and that the “justice” system of our country had ordered it.

On the eighth day after Terri's death sentence began, when hope of government intervention was all but gone, Dave made the decision to get arrested. He spent some time writing a statement and praying in his hotel room then returned to the hospice:

I finished writing and got into the car to drive back to the protest site. My head started spinning. I arrived, greeted David Bayly, and told him of my intentions. For the next hour I was on overload. David introduced me to a reporter and I gave her my statement. I proceeded to the gate and invited anyone who was interested to hear my statement before I entered. My friends were there and a couple of members of the press. I remember one cameraman vividly because he would not point his camera at me and it was obvious that he despised me. I am thankful for this man most of all because he humiliated me to such a point that, as I began the process of my arrest, I was completely undone.

I've been reading Witness by Whittaker Chambers and am nearing the end of the book. That last sentence strikes me as something Chambers could have written. If Curell had gone forward for arrest filled with pride and self-righteousness at his bravery, the witness he bore would somehow have been cheapened. Instead, he went to his arrest as a broken man, representing the broken state of a nation in which a woman could be starved to death by court order.

Curell finishes his account by recounting the cool reception he received from his five-year-old daughter, who had learned of his arrest. I encourage you to read the entire article.

Herb Beattie (herb.beattie AT sbcglobal.net) sent along a summary of Tuesday night's meeting about the rights property owners have when AEP/PSO (our local electric company) comes onto the property to cut back or remove trees:

THINGS HOMEOWNERS SHOULD KNOW WHEN AEP/PSO ENTERS YOUR YARD:
  1. The homeowner owns land within easement, subject to utilities’ rights to use the easement for the delivery of services.
  2. Within an easement, AEP/PSO has an obligation to act reasonably.
  3. Within an easement, owner and AEP/PSO have an obligation to accommodate each other.
  4. AEP/PSO have a right to access an easement to trim trees by traveling across owners land to get to the easement, but they shouldn’t injure your property when the cross or when they are working.
  5. Outside the easement, the homeowner owns the land completely, and has a right to reasonably eject trespassers (including AEP/PSO). The homeowner has a right to be free from encroachment on her lands.
  6. AEP/PSO’s representatives will tell you they can cut out to 15 or 20 feet or more from the power lines.
  7. AEP/PSO does not have a property right that allows them to cut beyond their easement - most residential easements in Tulsa are 7.5 feet on a single property.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Know where your easement is and how big it is.
  2. Take photos before, during and after the cutting.
  3. When you get a card indicating that AEP/PSO will cut your trees talk to the AEP/PSO forester about where your easement is and where your trees are.
  4. Demand to be on site when the tree trimming is done. You have a right to be there.
  5. Be firm – don’t let them cut outside the easement just because they want to.
  6. If AEP/PSO persists, inform them you will call the police and press charges for criminal trespass.
  7. If AEP/PSO still encroaches over your objections, do call the police, and call your lawyer.

WHAT ABOUT THE LOGS THAT LITTER MY YARD?

  1. Ask AEP/PSO to clean up the litter they create.
  2. If they don’t clean up, call your lawyer.

Thanks, Herb, for passing along the information.

The popsicle test

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Charles G. Hill reports that the American Podiatric Medical Association has ranked 200 American cities for walkability and issued its findings. Tulsa was ranked the 78th of America's Best Walking Cities; Oklahoma City was 123rd, both higher than the eminently walkable Savannah, Georgia (ranked 131st). Charles was surprised that Oklahoma City did as well as that, and I'm amazed at Tulsa's finish in the top half. With the exception of a few neighborhoods that were built before the Model T and have somehow avoided being urban-renewed to death, Oklahoma's two big cities are notably pedestrian-unfriendly.

The 14 factors used to rank walkability include percentage of dog owners, the percentage of athletic show buyers, the percentage who visit beaches, and something called a "Golf Index." Percentage walking to work and percentage using public transportation are factors, too, but the focus is clearly on walking for exercise or leisure, rather than walking integrated into everyday life. (Dog ownership and walking aren't going to correlate strongly in a city of big fenced yards.)

Here's another strange thing: San Antonio plummeted from 9th in 2004 to 132nd this year. And New York City slipped from 2nd last year to 7th this year. The explanation is in a change of criteria. Last year's criteria included Body Mass Index, Urban Sprawl Index, air quality, days of precipitation, and number of podiatrists. Clyde Haberman of the New York Times, in a piece about the new rankings, finds out how the changes affected New York City:

Greater emphasis, for example, is now put on how active people are. One obvious question is whether they walk to work. In New York, 12 percent do, the survey finds. And 51 percent use public transportation - a higher number, it should not shock you, than for any other city in the Top 10.

But do people also walk for exercise, buy athletic shoes, backpack, go to beaches? When those questions are also asked, New York apparently lags behind.

"This was an attempt to look at the phenomenon of walking in terms of the activity being done, rather than the attractiveness of the facilities or impediments like crime," Mr. Fisher said. And so, when all the factors were weighed and allowances made for cities' varying sizes, Arlington, not even on the list last year, found itself No. 1.

The constant shifting of APMA's criteria shows how difficult it is to quantify walkability. The best measure would reflect the degree to which you can integrate walking into everyday, necessary activities. The inverse of that measurement is whether you have to drive yourself to a special place and set aside time to go for a walk. Both measures have to do with city design, and much of Tulsa is designed so that however nice the sidewalks are in your neighborhood, they won't take you anywhere you need to go. The sidewalk may lead you to the main road, but the nearest store is half a mile away along a precarious path between the road and the bar ditch. It's no wonder that there's a link between urban sprawl and obesity.

A friend recently mentioned a simple test for the walkability of a neighborhood -- the popsicle test: Can a child safely walk from his home to the store to buy a popsicle? The absence of this kind of walkability means a loss of independence for children, the disabled, and the elderly who no longer feel confident behind the wheel of a car. It also gives us less flexibility to cope with rising fuel costs -- we can't choose to walk to the corner store rather than drive to the supermarket.

At the very least, Tulsa needs to be sure that we protect the few neighborhoods that still possess this kind of walkability and encourage new development that's made for walking.

Sorry that comments weren't open on this entry. It was inadvertent, and now it's fixed.

From Blogs for Terri: She passed away at around 10 a.m. Eastern Time this morning. There is word that her parents were not allowed to be with her at the end.

May the Angels lead you into paradise;
may the martyrs greet you at your arrival
and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem.
May the choir of Angels greet you
and like Lazarus, who once was a poor man,
may you have eternal rest.

Roemerman on Record

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Steve Roemerman has joined the merry band of bloggers working to hold Tulsa city government accountable. His blog, Roemerman on Record, is only a day old, but he's already posted an insightful critique of KOTV's coverage of the recall petition signature issue, which you should read. Steve has been active politically out in Council District 6, helping get Jim Mautino elected in 2004. Welcome to the blogosphere, Steve.

If you're a Tulsa blogger, particularly if you write about local matters, and I don't have you on my blogroll, drop me a line. (Even if you already have -- I get busy and things fall through the cracks at times.) I won't guarantee that I'll add you, but I will certainly take a look at what you have to offer.

The Map Room links to Hipkiss' Scanned Old Maps. The site owner is scanning and posting maps from books in his collection, like this map of London, suburbs, railways and postal codes, from the 1922 Bartholomew Pocket Atlas. He also has links to other online collections of maps old and new, and offers an RSS feed, so you can easily find out when he has a new map available for your perusal.

There's a new blog called Mapping Hacks, which is also the name of an upcoming book from O'Reilly Associates. The focus of blog and book is the democratization of mapmaking. I've long had the yearning to make my own maps, particularly for political purposes, but the tools for the task have been expensive and cumbersome to learn. That's all changing, and the open source revolution is behind the change.

A couple more cool map links:

Here's a collection of historical maps of Ireland. These maps will be especially helpful for someone working on Irish genealogy. The collection includes maps of Irish baronies, which have been hard to find outside specialist libraries.

And here's an online British Museum exhibit called "The Unveiling of Britain," revealing through maps the evolution of the understanding of Britain's shape from A.D. 800 to A.D. 1600.

Hat tip for all of the above to The Map Room.

Jan, the Happy Homemaker, a fellow Okie blogger, has posted a wonderful response to a visitor who came to her blog via the Google search "how to be happy as a homemaker":

No matter your situation in life, it is a temporary season. Why not make the best of it? Homemaking (and motherhood) are really fleeting, but they are important. It is as if each task you undertake is a stitch in the great quilt of comfort that covers our nation. Your family may not realize all that you do, but they benefit nonetheless... just as you benefit from the works of countless others whose work goes unnoticed by you. Take pride in your own work, not seeking praise from others.

She links to a Homeliving Helper entry on combating depression, with questions and points to ponder (for everyone, not just for homemakers -- go read it), and has a couple more tips of her own.

In her Blogger profile, Jan writes, "At one time I was deep, but currently I'm just enjoying life and spouting out fluff. Maybe I'll be deep some other day. Maybe not." Jan is too modest. There's plenty of fun fluff (more motel postcards!), but she's deep, too, more days than not.

The same accounting firm that audited the Tulsa County Industrial Authority also audited the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority (TCCJA), and Urban Tulsa covered it in their March 17th issue, in a story by G. W. Schulz entitled "Who's Minding the Jail?"

After bond indebtedness from construction of the county lockup was retired in 2001, $12 million remained. The report shows the Justice Authority finished off what was left of the $12 million this year, $1.6 million, and continued on into the red reaching a $2.9 million deficit, which the authority has scrambled to cover with funds from other county entities. In other words, the authority this year spent $4.5 million more than it took in from sales tax revenue.

The story goes on to describe how the problem was finally uncovered. It also tells why the overview committee for the jail sales tax didn't spot the problem -- the overview committee has no teeth.

Committee Chair Robert Breuning said the oversight board is not permitted to examine the Justice Authority’s major decisions until “after the fact.” He said authority attorney Jim Orbison “scolded” the committee for attempting to inform the authority that the proposed use of a detox center to save money would cost significantly more than had been forecasted.

“Our duty was not to advise, but observe,” Breuning said the committee was told. “But after the fact, there was no reason to observe.”

I had gotten out of the habit of reading Urban Tulsa, but it appears now that they are committed to doing in-depth reporting on local issues. Thanks to G. W. Schulz and Urban Tulsa for digging into this story.

P. S. I'll be on KFAQ 1170 at 7:10 Wednesday morning to talk about the audit of the Tulsa County Industrial Authority.

Kevin McCullough has a sharp rebuttal to an all-too-typical angry attack on those of us who are supporting Terri Schiavo's right to live. Kevin's correspondent hits all the usual talking points, some of which have appeared in comments on this site, and Kevin's response is worth reading.

Kevin has also assembled a moving audio montage about Terri, backed by Phil Collins' "Another Day in Paradise" -- you'll find it here, and Kevin is offering it to any radio host who wishes to use it on air.

Here is a stunning essay in the Harvard Crimson by Harvard student Joe Ford. Joe has severe cerebral palsy, bad enough that people assume he is cognitively disabled because of his articulation and muscle tone. Only have time enough for one excerpt:

The result of this disrespect is the devaluation of lives of people like Terri Schiavo. In the Schiavo case and others like it, non-disabled decision makers assert that the disabled person should die because he or she—ordinarily a person who had little or no experience with disability before acquiring one—“would not want to live like this.” In the Schiavo case, the family is forced to argue that Terri should be kept alive because she might “get better”—that is, might be able to regain or to communicate her cognitive processes. The mere assertion that disability (particularly cognitive disability, sometimes called “mental retardation”) is present seems to provide ample proof that death is desirable.

Essentially, then, we have arrived at the point where we starve people to death because he or she cannot communicate their experiences to us. What is this but sheer egotism? Regardless of one’s religious beliefs, this is obviously an attempt to play God.

Hat tip to Sierra Faith.

Bobby's got the scoop over at Tulsa Topics on the full slate of community meetings for Tuesday -- a meeting on the widening of I-44, a meeting about AEP's tree trimming policies and your rights as a homeowner, and a District 9 meeting about the general obligation bond issue, plus the usual morning of Council committee meetings. No recall related items this week, but the public works committee meeting at 8 a.m. will include status reports on the Vision 2025 projects for the City of Tulsa.

That meeting on tree trimming is sponsored by the Tulsa Audubon Society and a number of neighborhood associations. Midtown Tulsa has a wonderful canopy of mature trees, but they interfere with the power lines during storms. Fast-growing "volunteer" trees often sprout and quickly get established along fences, which often means that they grow right up into the wires. AEP has a program to get rid of tree growth that could cause outages, but they don't have an absolute right to cut down any tree they like, any way they like. The meeting is at 5:30 p.m. at Wright Elementary School, on 45th Place west of Peoria. Here's the description:

This forum has been arranged in response to complaints from many homeowners and other concerned homeowners about damage which has been done to their properties by AEP and its contractors. The speakers will include attorneys who specialize in utilities' and property owners' rights and responsibilities regarding utility easements. They will advise citizens regarding actions they should consider before the contractors arrive on their property and their rights and responsibilities when workers enter the property. They will also have recommendations for owners of properties which are unnecessarily damaged during maintenance activities in the utility easement.

For information, contact Herb Beattie at 749-4586 or herb.beattie AT sbcglobal.net (substitute an @ sign for the word AT).

No one can say now that Terri Schiavo was on artificial life support. She has survived ten days without food or water, and it is reported that she is still responsive to visitors and that there are indications that she is not completely dehydrated. It may be that she is being sustained in some miraculous way, and we need to pray that God will deliver her from the hands of those who seek her death.

Many have said that Terri isn't there any more, just an empty shell, and it's time her family let her go to be with Jesus. There are complaints about the hypocrisy of conservatives for seeking Federal intervention in what should be a state matter. Certain blasé bloggers prefer to shrug their shoulders -- it's tragic, sure, but there are plenty of other tragedies in the world.

Here is what seems so outrageous to me. This is why I cannot let go of this situation: Despite credible testimony that Terri is responsive and therefore not in a persistent vegetative state, despite credible testimony that she could take nutrition and water by mouth, Judge Greer refuses to hear any new testimony, refuses to permit new testing, refuses to consider that his finding of fact from nearly 10 years ago may have been in error. He is so determined that this woman die that no one is permitted to attempt to give her nutrition and water by mouth. If Terri were miraculously to get up from her bed and try to get herself a drink, I wouldn't be surprised if the judge ordered her bound and gagged. Her death seems to be the only satisfactory outcome to Judge Greer.

We need to continue to pray that God would sustain Terri physically and emotionally, as well as her parents; that God would change Michael's heart; and that God would change Judge Greer's heart, too.

Tim and David Bayly, the PCA pastors who have been blogging from outside the hospice, are headed back to Ohio. Their last entries from the scene are well worth reading and pondering. One of these entries is a doctrinal statement on euthanasia, footnoted with Scripture and the PCA's doctrinal standards. (In the excerpt, I've interpolated the text of the footnotes.) The statement makes an important distinction between treatment and care:

Today there are mounting pressures upon medical professionals, pastors, families, and individuals to hasten the death of those under their care or authority. Such hastening sometimes takes the form of direct action, such as a lethal injection. More commonly, it takes the passive form of neglect or withdrawal of the necessary means of preservation of life. (Westminster Larger Catechism, Questions 135,136.) Such means include medical treatment, both extraordinary and ordinary. But they also include basic provisions historically understood as care: warmth, cleanliness, food, water, and love. Christians must distinguish between "treatment" and "care."

Where medical treatment which is not gravely burdensome is necessary for an individual to continue to live, the withdrawal of such treatment--except in cases where death is imminent and inevitable and to continue such treatment would pose a grave risk or cause more of a burden to the patient than it would alleviate--is a violation of the image of God which all men and women bear.

Loving care for all members of the human community is a fundamental Christian teaching and an obligation of Christian discipleship. (1 Timothy 5:4-8; James 1:27) Therefore it ought never to be withheld. This includes providing liquids and nutrition through spoon-feeding or tubes where the patient is unable to take them by another manner. Withholding such necessary means for the preservation of life must, therefore, stand under Scripture's condemnation, (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 25:31-46; James 2:14-17) even in the case of those who are perpetually comatose or in a persistent vegetative state. Christians should also ensure that members of the human community are upheld with the warmth and love of human contact.

Although it doesn't bear directly on Terri's situation, the final post from the site has some interesting observations on the way Protestants and Catholics worked together outside the hospice.

Be sure to keep an eye on Blogs for Terri for the latest news and what you can do to help.

Tonight on KJRH's 10 p.m. newscast, they'll air a story by reporter Glenn McIntyre on last year's audit of the Tulsa County Industrial Authority (TCIA) and what's being done to correct the problems that the audit uncovered. (KJRH is on channel 2 over the air, on channel 9 on Cox Cable.) Glenn interviewed me and at least one of the county commissioners for this story.

The TCIA is a trust created under Title 60 of the Oklahoma statutes, and among other activities, it issues revenue bonds to pay for county capital improvements. For example, TCIA issued bonds to be repaid by the Vision 2025 sales tax, to allow work on projects to proceed before the 13-year sales tax had generated sufficient dollars. The TCIA is governed by a board consisting of the three county commissioners. Hundreds of millions of dollars pass through the TCIA.

I'll withhold further comment until the story has aired. I appreciate KJRH's initiative in looking into this issue. I've often complained that local TV news departments ignore local government stories in favor of redundant coverage of national stories or local stories that have visual appeal. I give KJRH great credit for pursuing this story and showing the same kind of initiative on a number of other stories recently -- for example, looking at F&M Bank board member contributions to city councilors who were considering the bank's rezoning application.

UPDATE: The audit, which was issued last summer by a local CPA firm, said there isn't any fraud, but there are checks and balances and safeguards missing that leave the system vulnerable to fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. County Commissioner Wilbert Collins said that there's nothing for people to worry about, that plans are in the works to fix the deficiencies, and said (more or less) that we can trust the commissioners to do the right thing.

They used one brief quote from me, that even some proponents of Vision 2025 expressed concerns about putting this much money in the hands of county government. In a part of the interview they didn't use, I pointed out that opponents to Vision 2025 expressed concern about the lack of safeguards, and that Oklahoma county government, which is one-size-fits-all, was designed for paving rural roads and keeping land records, not for handling half a billion dollars.

Glenn McEntyre put together an excellent report, and I appreciate his efforts and the efforts of KJRH to put this issue in the public eye.

Torn curtain

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I suppose if one must wake up feeling utterly hopeless, it's helpful if one has already obligated oneself to lead the congregation in worship on Easter Sunday. Staying in bed and pulling the covers over one's head is not an option.

Not only my mood, but my voice was limping along as well -- Bb and up just weren't there -- but with a little help from my Friends and bit of hot coffee, the voice loosened up sufficiently.

The tonic for my mood was the service itself, which began with the congregation reciting the Nicene Creed. Here is the part that always chokes me up, whether I'm reciting it in English or singing it in Latin:

Who for us men, and for our salvation, descended from heaven.
Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de coelis.

Jesus left the glory of heaven, and did so for us and for a purpose, a purpose He accomplished on the cross. As Ron Dunton, one of our founding elders, prepared to lead us in a time of prayer, he called our attention to the banner underneath the cross at the front of the church, his voice breaking as he did. The banner is partially split in the center, starting at the top, a reminder that as Jesus died, the veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. No longer are sacrifices and priests required to obtain access to God, but Christ as our great High Priest, offered Himself as a sacrifice once for all, so that we might enter into God's presence:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

We have bold and direct access -- not through a priest, not through a saint, not through any other human intermediary, but through the one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. And there does not need to be a weekly or daily sacrifice for our sins -- Christ's one sacrifice is sufficient for all the sins of all His people. (With all due respect to the followers of the Pope who are valiant allies in the fight for the sanctity of human life, I do not know how anyone who has read the Epistle to the Hebrews can buy into the Roman Church's teachings on the sacrifice of the mass.)

Pastor David O'Dowd's sermon was challenging and encouraging (as usual), and when it's online and I've heard it again, I'll write about it and provide a link to the audio.

I wish I could tell you that the afterglow of the service kept me in a good mood for the rest of the day, but it didn't. It took a CD of Charles Wesley hymns on the drive down to keep my mind off my troubles and on things above. That is the daily and hourly challenge.

This week's featured episode of "Round the Horne" on BBC7 is one of my favorites -- "From Russia with Love," from 1965 -- featuring one of their best spy spoofs, in which Kenneth Horne, Master Spy, gets to the bottom of a sudden outbreak of truth, which is threatening the British way of life. Horne listens in horror as the outbreak hits a radio reporter covering a society wedding:

Reporter (Kenneth Williams): I'm standing in the freezing cold outside St. Borrols Westminster with an unctuous grin on my face, preparing to give you snobs at home details of yet another dreary society wedding, between Daphne, the eldest daughter of the Duke of Stokely, and Alistair Twick, the son -- he says -- of that senile old pantaloon, the Earl of McWhirter. And here they come now, the spotty fat bride, her face suffused with acne, clinging desperately to the arm of old Blubberlips, the chinless wonder. What an array of glittering nobodies are here today! Yes, what a waste of everybody's time. Still, if I do it often enough, I might cop for a knighthood.

As befits the genre, Master Spy Horne finds time for a bit of romance:

We clung together passionately. My mouth searched for hers, and found it exactly where I'd suspected it would be -- under her nose.

The episode also features an interview with King Grunt-Futtock of Peasmoldia, an autonomous kingdom within Great Britain, who introduces Buttercup, his "good lady wife" and queen consort: "We'll waive the kissin' of her hand, seein' as how grubby it is."

You've got Monday and Tuesday to catch this one before the next episode is broadcast on Wednesday. You'll find it on the BBC7 Wednesday "listen again" page.

By the way, keep your eye on BBC7's listings for radio adaptations of great books. A week or so ago, they serialized C. S. Lewis's Perelandra, and at the moment they're in the midst of G. K. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday.

I've recently blogrolled Publius Pundit, a group blog with the ambitious mission of "blogging the democratic revolution." There's a lot of material today on the situation in Venezuela, photos of the crackdown on a protest in Belarus, and this entry about protests in Mongolia, pointing to a Gateway Pundit item, pointing to this News 24 story. The protests were inspired by the successful revolution in Kyrgyzstan and are over government corruption and the diversion of public money. Publius Pundit will be a regular stop on my daily tour de blogs.

Twisted kid lit

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Some comic relief for a Saturday -- two galleries of Children's literature, Part I and Part II.

youvebeenreplaced.jpg

Hat tip to Random Mentality.

You can find video of the first of the four speeches I made at Thursday night's City Council meeting over on the Tulsa Topics media page -- click on "3-24-2005 City Council Meeting," then select either the video from TGOV or the video that Bobby of Tulsa Topics shot. And here are some more of Bobby's thoughts about the meeting, and how we should respond by focusing on the District 5 council special election.

Mee Citee Wurkor was inspired to add a soundtrack to my speech -- a song by a local punk band called the Beer Mongers. His entry on the meeting is here, with a link to his version of the video.

There were many excellent speeches. The people who spoke were inspired by a love for their city and outrage over the way the Bought and Paid Four, the City Attorney, and the City Clerk ignored the law for the sake of giving control of the Council back to the Cockroach Caucus. If you missed it, it should repeat daily through Wednesday. The TGOV schedule for next week isn't online yet, but it should look something like last week's.

This morning on KFAQ I made a statement that I believed to be correct but was inaccurate. Jim Burdge was NOT on Terry Simonson's 2002 mayoral campaign team. (It had been my understanding during the campaign that he was.) Terry informs me that he did not have a campaign manager as such, but the members of his campaign team (including Janet Sullivan, Ky Vargus, and Tom and Debbie Gutmann) each handled certain key tasks. Burdge was not involved in any of the campaign meetings, and as far as Terry is aware, Burdge was not given any work to do for the campaign. My apologies to Terry for my error. I will repeat my correction on KFAQ on Monday morning.

Good Friday

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This prayer seems especially apt today. It's from the Good Friday liturgy (from the 1978 Episcopal Book of Common Prayer): "for all who suffer and are afflicted in body or in mind." It should remind us to pray for Terri Schiavo, and for those around us who suffer from grave disabilities. What are we to pray for them?

That God in his mercy will comfort and relieve them, and grant them the knowledge of his love, and stir up in us the will and patience to minister to their needs.

At noon our time tomorrow, Terri Schiavo will have endured a full week without food or water. That's about the time many Christians will gather to remember the three hours of darkness that fell as Christ hung on the cross.

I encourage you to attend a Good Friday service, even if it isn't at your usual place of worship. Although we are free as Christians to observe special days or not, it is a good thing to set aside a special time to meditate on God's great love for us, that while we were His enemies, He sent His Son to die for us, to pay the penalty for our sins. It is a good thing to gather with believers all over the world to celebrate this day of victory -- the day our Redeemer accomplished our Redemption, and purchased for Himself people from every tribe and tongue and nation. If you cannot come to a church, the Good Friday liturgy linked above could be used for your own private devotions.

Few aspects of worship move me so much as those hymns which direct us to meditate on the Cross and Our Lord's wounds, which He suffered out of love for us.

Do you have trouble believing that God could love you? Look at the Cross!




See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?




Crown Him the Lord of love!
Behold His hands and side!
Rich wounds, yet visible above,
In beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky
Can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye
At mysteries so bright.




And can it be that I should gain
An interest in my Savior's blood?
Died He for me who caused His pain,
For me who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou my God shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread:
Jesus and all in Him is mine.
Alive in Him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine.
Bold I approach the immortal throne
And claim the crown through Christ mine own.

In an Council meeting filled with Biblical quotations and allusions, this was my favorite. It was uttered by B. J. Benbow as a closing admonition to the "Bought and Paid Four." It was apt both for the date and for the analogy.

Purim began at sundown tonight, the feast that commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from the extermination planned for them by Haman. You'll find the story in the Book of Esther. The evil counselor Haman sought to destroy all the Jews because Mordecai, a wise counselor who had saved the King of Persia's life, refused to bow down to Haman. For Mordecai in particular, Haman had a 75-foot-high gallows built. Because of Queen Esther's, Haman's plot was discovered, the king had Haman hanged on the gallows that had been built for Mordecai, and the enemies of the Jews were routed. The holiday is celebrated with utter joy, undiminished by sorrow, and as the story is read out, the congregation blots out Haman's name each time it is read with boos, hisses, and noisemakers.

By ignoring the clear requirements of the City Charter in their rush to get rid of two of their colleagues, Councilors Baker, Sullivan, Christiansen, and Neal set precedents that may come back to haunt them. The City Clerk failed to fulfill his obligation under the Charter to verify that the petition signatures correspond to those in the voter registration records. The four councilors who voted to affirm the Clerk's finding of sufficiency not only made themselves complicit in his malfeasance (as Brad Colvard pointed out), but when their constituents start a recall effort against them, they've set a low standard for verifying the petitions.

The other precedent set tonight was calling a resolution by another name so that it could pass with only four votes. As attorney Steve Denney pointed out, the vote to affirm the City Clerk's finding of sufficiency qualifies under every legal definition of a resolution. Under the Charter, therefore, approval required a majority of the Council -- five votes -- not just a majority of the quorum present. The vote was 4-2 in support of affirmation for both petitions. The City Attorney's office had opined that this was sufficient for approval. The matter will likely end up in District Court.

The City Attorney's office said that the Council was bound by the charter to pass the resolutions calling for elections now that the petitions have been affirmed. Nevertheless Councilors Turner and Henderson voted against both resolutions, and as resolutions the 4-2 or 4-3 vote in favor was insufficient for passage, an obvious fact even acting City Attorney Alan Jackere can't deny. The vote against is justified because the vote to affirm the petitions was insufficient, as noted above. Turner and Henderson were joined by Chris Medlock on the final vote -- with all items pertaining to his recall already decided, he could safely participate in the discussion and vote on Jim Mautino's recall election. The votes against calling the recall elections will also no doubt find their way into District Court.

I have to give great credit to Jack Henderson and Roscoe Turner, men of character who would not be cowed by threats of lawsuits or the defaming they'll likely get at the hands of the Tulsa Whirled. They understand that they sit on the Council by the will of God and that they are there to do what is right, whatever the consequences. I dare say if either of them were Governor of Florida right now, he would not be playing "Mother May I" with Judge Greer. They understand that they have a responsibility to uphold the charter even if it means ignoring bad advice from the City Attorney.

If you didn't catch the meeting live, you should look for the replay on TGOV 24 this weekend -- Friday evening at 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 8 am. There were many excellent speeches, and the comments by the councilors were very revealing.

Bobby of Tulsa Topics has his initial reaction to the meeting -- "the night my faith in city government died."

We need you down at City Hall once again, if you possibly can be there, to stand up for two City Councilors who are doing the right thing, and to stand up against those who are ignoring the clear language of the City Charter to push this recall through. Meeting starts at 6, but be there early. The items are toward the end of the agenda, but they may get through the early items -- mostly routine -- very rapidly. If you're interested and willing to speak, please come early and seek out Rick Westcott, chairman of Tulsans for Election Integrity, as we'll only be allowed a limited time to make our case, and we'll need to coordinate our efforts.

If you need something to get you riled up, read Chris Medlock's latest entry about the latest blatant example of media bias in today's Tulsa Whirled.

For your morning amusement, a funny (but a bit sad) piece by a Church of England vicar on the bizarre vows and readings people want to use for their weddings these days, in place of the poetry of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

He, with the David Beckham haircut and clothing hanging about him in like manner, wanted to stand at the chancel steps and begin his lifelong vows with the immortal words,
Ever since we met last year in the disco…
This is the sort of degraded demotic that ought to qualify this bloke for a place on the Liturgical Commission. We didn't get as far as her reply. They took kindly enough to my advice -
Sorry dears, this is the Church of England. Have you tried Blind Date?

- and shoved off.

Read the whole thing.

The Boar's Head Tavern

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I have just started exploring this Christian group blog, which introduces itself with the following words:

On February 7th, 2002, a diverse group of Christians started a wide-ranging weblog conversation. Today, that conversation continues and you're invited to pull up a chair. Welcome to the Boar's Head Tavern.

It's an interesting mix of topics. As the name suggests, it's not a particularly solemn place. Worth noting in the sidebar is a good collection of online devotional resources.

Go check it out.

Terri Schiavo roundup

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David Bayly
has all the day's developments from outside Terri Schiavo's hospice.

Dr. Boyle at CodeBlueBlog is a radiologist. He has looked at the CT scan of Terri's brain from 1996 and takes issue with the oft-repeated assertion that Terri's brain has "liquefied":

First of all, the University of Miami's appellation for this scan is inaccurate. "Cortical regions" are not and can not be filled with spinal fluid. The sulci (spaces between cortical ribbons) are enlarged secondary to cortical atrophy and these sulci are filled with cerbrospinal fluid.

The most alarming thing about this image, however, is that there certainly is cortex left. Granted, it is severely thinned, especially for Terri's age, but I would be nonplussed if you told me that this was a 75 year old female who was somewhat senile but fully functional, and I defy a radiologist anywhere to contest that.

I HAVE SEEN MANY WALKING, TALKING, FAIRLY COHERENT PEOPLE WITH WORSE CEREBRAL/CORTICAL ATROPHY. THEREFORE, THIS IS IN NO WAY PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT TERRI SCHIAVO'S MENTAL ABILITIES OR/OR CAPABILITIES ARE COMPLETELY ERADICATED. I CANNOT BELIEVE SUCH TESTIMONY HAS BEEN GIVEN ON THE BASIS OF THIS SCAN.

He notices a shunt in her left ventricle, and that raises all sorts of questions, questions that can only be answered by a repeat CT scan, as well as an MRI and a PET scan. He sees all the classic signs of hydrocephalus.

Dr. Boyle also looked at the 1991 bone scan report:

Certainly IN A CHILD (which Schiavo, obviously was not), the combination of posterior rib fractures, vertebral compression fractures, and distal femoral periosteal elevation is ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY DIAGNOSTIC for child abuse and any radiologist who missed this diagnosis would be subject to disciplinary action from his peers and state licensing board.

The Evangelical Outpost points out the effect on this case of Florida's abolition of common-law marriage and adoption of no-fault divorce laws.

David Wayne, the Jollyblogger, asks if Christians are viewing this situation, and in particular, Michael Schiavo, from a cross-centered perspective:

Viewing Michael through a cross-centered lens won't change the sinfulness of his actions. Viewing Michael through a cross-centered lens won't change our obligation to rescue those being led away to slaughter. Viewing Michael through a cross-centered lens won't change our obligation to voice our opposition to the laws that make the starvation of a person like Terri possible.

But we are also faced with how we are to respond to Michael as a person. Put more precisely, how does the gospel guide our response to Michael as a person? If all should go his way, how should the Christian community react to him in the future? ...

I fear that, for the rest of Michael's life, Christians will be praying for his comeuppance more than they will for his salvation. Christians will be mostly concerned that Michael receive justice for his part in this rather than mercy.

I also fear that Michael will receive a lifetime of hate messages from professing Christians. ...

I have to confess that, until now I have not looked at Michael through gospel eyes, or through a cross-centered lens. I have committed the sin of moral indignation, forgetting that I am the chief of sinners. I have also forgotten my favorite of Jonathan Edwards' resolutions:

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. July 30.

None of us should dare think that Michael has sunk to a level of "vileness" to which we ourselves have not sunk.

Read the whole thing.

(Hat tip to Michael Spencer, posting at Boar's Head Tavern for the links to the Evangelical Outpost and Jollyblogger entries.)

My friend John Eagleton, an attorney here in Tulsa, just called me with an idea for saving Terri Schiavo's life, now that the Federal appellate court has ruled against the Schindlers' appeal. He says it will require some guts on the part of the executive branch, either in Florida or at the federal level, and a prosecutor willing to fudge a little.

Everyone is guilty of breaking some law. A prosecutor could charge Terri with a crime, issue a warrant for her arrest, and take her into custody, at which point the state would be responsible for maintaining her well-being until she can stand trial. That would mean medical care and food and water. The state would not be allowed to starve to death someone in custody awaiting trial. Of course, the trial would have to be stayed until such time as Terri is competent to defend herself.

Seems to me that venue would matter in this case -- the prosecutor would have to cooperate, as would the judge to whom her criminal case would be assigned. Which crime is used for the charge would matter, too. How would you keep Michael Schiavo from bailing her out so he can continue to starve her to death?

Motel postcards!

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Jan the Happy Homemaker has gone all Lileks on us, posting motel postcards. More please! (And higher res, too, if possible. The Pow-wow Lounge needs to be seen in all its glory!)

Briefly noted

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As Dave Barry says, "I am not making this up." X-ATI Guy links to the website of Wait Wear, which offers a line of pro-chastity T-shirts and underwear. The underwear comes in bikini-cut, "bum bottom classic" and boy brief styles and sports slogans like "No vows, no sex," "I'm saving it," and "Traffic Control: Wait for Marriage."

I appreciate the intention, and it certainly sends a better message than, say, a thong with a built-in condom pocket, but I'm inclined to think that the pro-abstinence message will be lost once he and she are down to their skivvies. And if there is any hope of stopping the countdown to ignition at that point, it will be undone by the presence of words which invite the other party to gaze intently at the groinal region of the wearer.

As tiny as the lettering is, one of the slogans ought to be, "If you can read this, you're too close."

Wait Wear underwear is available in Atlanta at Tease, 1166 Euclid Ave. and other fine stores nationwide.

UPDATE: Oh, my. Wait Wear wants their customers to send in pictures of themselves wearing Wait Wear products. For their online gallery. Right. Online pictures of teenagers in their underpants is a well-known encouragement to chaste thinking and behavior.

As X-ATI Guy responded to a commenter: "'Chastity is not a joke.' Agreed. But proclaiming your chastity on your underpants is."

Our hope is in God alone

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PCA pastor David Bayly continues his thorough and thought-provoking reporting from the Pinellas Park hospice where Terri Schiavo is being starved and dehydrated to death. From his latest dispatch:

Perhaps one of the more pressing questions facing many at the site is what role disobedience to the law should play in seeking to preserve Terri's life....

The police presence is so heavy--increasingly so as time goes by--that any action seems hopeless practically, and thus only useful as a statement. Yet many are questioning whether such a statement should be made. Should a hopeless-but-righteous action not be taken because it appears hopeless?

On the other hand, the desire of the Schindler family not to have their daughter's suffering become more of a circus is also significant, and until such time as appeals are exhausted, it would seem their wishes should be respected.

Still, there is more.... Terri's case has come to represent abiding and fundamental principles of justice and righteousnes. What is at stake in her treatment by society will influence our nation for years to come.

In the end, while we follow the will of God established in His Word and applied by the Holy Spirit to our lives, our hope remains in Him and His power alone.

Earlier, Bayly posted news from those who have visited Terri inside the hospice and some analysis of the cynical gamesmanship he sees in Judge Whittemore's ruling on the Schindlers' motion to reinsert Terri's feeding tube:

In court yesterday it was clear that David Gibbs was making a charged decision in answering Judge Whittemore's question about Judge Greer's status in his complaint and whether he wanted to attach Judge Greer personally to the complaint. Gibbs hesitated, then stated that he saw no reason to attach Greer personally and only sought to deal with his rulings in his legal capacity as a judge. Though Gibbs did say that he might wish to expand his suit later to include others, including the possibility of charging Michael Schiavo with perjury, he confined himself to the record in his initial filing.

I remember praying for wisdom for David at that point in the trial. It seemed like Judge [Whittemore] was asking, “Are you really going to go after my fellow judge personally?” Today, it looks like Judge Whittemore had indeed set a trap with his insistent questions, a trap which last night he sprang shut by saying that since no new issues were raised there was nothing beyond the previous court record to consider and because that was completely against the Schindler family, there exists no possibility of winning after further review and thus there is no cause for injunctive relief.

Clang. The cynic springs his trap. But it’s not David Gibbs or Terri Schiavo whose soul lies in chains as a result of Judge Whittemore’s legal niceties.

Psalm 140:5-8 (ESV) 5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they have spread a net; beside the way they have set snares for me. Selah 6 I say to the LORD, You are my God; give ear to the voice of my pleas for mercy, O LORD! 7 O LORD, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle. 8 Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked; do not further their evil plot or they will be exalted! Selah

There's more, and Bayly is updating regularly throughout the day.

The Tulsa City Attorney's Office has issued an opinion, authored by Michael C. Romig, stating that there is an irreconcilable conflict of interest for board members of the Metropolitan Tulsa Chamber of Commerce (MTCC) serving on the City's Economic Development Commission (EDC). According to the opinion, the conflict is created by the contract between the City and MTCC. The EDC oversees performance of that contract. The opinion states that the conflict cannot be resolved by abstaining from debate or votes. The City Attorney's opinion is grounded in an Oklahoma Attorney General's opinion last year regarding the state's constitutional prohibition of conflicts of interest (Article X, Section 11).

The City Attorney's opinion says that there is no inherent conflict of interest for ordinary members of MTCC serving on the EDC, but they would have to exercise personal judgment on any given issue as to whether they could in good conscience vote in the interest of the City and not in the interest of MTCC.

Councilor Chris Medlock will be on KFAQ with Michael DelGiorno at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday to discuss this ruling.

It's back. Non-Councilor Randy Sullivan has put the recall of Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock on this Thursday's agenda. Unlike last week, all recall elements will be together at the very end of the agenda, after all other business, and there's a lot of it, because of Sullivan's hasty decision to stop last week's meeting, rather than calling a recess long enough to reassemble a quorum.

There really shouldn't be a meeting Thursday at all. It is Maundy Thursday, a night when many churches (even non-liturgical congregations) hold special communion services to commemorate Christ's Last Supper. (Maundy is from the Latin mandatus, a reference to John 13:34: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.")

This week is also spring break for many area schools, and between that and the holiday it will be a challenge to assemble the kind of crowd we had last Thursday night.

If the election resolutions are approved, the recall election would be held on June 14.

Also on the agenda is a proposed schedule for evaluating proposed amendments to the City Charter. This is not specifically about the amendment regarding zoning protest petitions that was taken off the April ballot, although that is one of the proposals that could be discussed. The Charter requires periodic charter review, and Title 4, Section 308 of Tulsa Revised Ordinances requires the City Attorney to submit a schedule by March 15 of odd-numbered years for considering amendments which would be placed on the general election ballot the following March. The Council can accept, amend, or reject the proposed schedule, but they must act by April 15.

Beat

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About 8 o'clock tonight it hit me, right in the middle of a meeting. I felt totally wiped out, and I think I'm coming down with something.

I am looking at my notebook, and I have a list of 25 things I wanted to blog about. Tonight, you're just going to have to make do with the most pressing news, and maybe a couple of other links. As always, there's a wealth of news and amusement to be found via the blogroll.

"A strange brotherhood"

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Another insightful report from PCA pastor David Bayly, who is keeping vigil outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo is being starved to death by judicial fiat.

Before other observations, we must start with the grave observation that Terri has now been deprived of nutrition and water--has, in a word, been starved--for over three full days. This is incipient murder. No opinion poll, judge, politician or law on earth can make it anything else. May God have mercy on America for this blot upon our national conscience. Judges of America, there is a higher tribunal, a bar before which you will one day answer. But just as Daniel includes himself in his prayer of repentance for the national sins of Israel, so all Americans must seek God's forgiveness for this sin WE are committing.

Bayly observes: "A strange brotherhood of Roman Catholic believers and Reformed Protestant believers has developed at the site." He speaks admiringly of the Christ-like character evident in some of the protesters, such as this man:

David Gibbs, the Schindler's attorney, has a brother who pastors a Baptist church in this area. Members of the church have been wonderfully faithful in demonstrating for Terri. One young father, (what was his first name?) Adams, was exceptional last night. He witnessed with such kindness for hours to the lone anti-Terri protestor (actually, just a hurting young man) that by the end of the night the protestor was saying that he supported Terri and wanted to see her fed.

In an earlier entry, Bayly gives a report from the Federal courtroom in Tampa. Michael Schiavo's attorney is arguing that the law passed by Congress is unconstitutional. Gibbs must file a brief in reply, and it has to be thorough enough to respond to the judge, but ready early enough to help save Terri. For whatever reason, the judge has not granted injunctive relief to keep Terri alive while arguments are heard.

In case you're wondering, yes, Federal Judge James D. Whittemore is a Clinton appointee.

A Psalm and antiphon for Lent

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From Sunday's choral evensong

Psalm 103

The Lord knows whereof we are made.
He remembers that we are but dust.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless his holy Name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.

The Lord knows whereof we are made.
He remembers that we are but dust.

He forgives all your sins
and heals all your infirmities;
He redeems your life from the grave
and crowns you with mercy and loving-kindness;
He satisfies you with good things,
and your youth is renewed like an eagle's.

The Lord knows whereof we are made.
He remembers that we are but dust.

The Lord executes righteousness
and judgment for all who are oppressed.
He made his ways known to Moses
and his acts to the children of Israel.
The Lord is full of compassion and mercy,
slow to anger, and of great kindness.

The Lord knows whereof we are made.
He remembers that we are but dust.

He will not always accuse us,
nor will he keep his anger for ever.
He hath not dealt with us according to our sins,
nor rewarded us according to our wickedness.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
so is his mercy great upon those who fear him.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our sins from us.

The Lord knows whereof we are made.
He remembers that we are but dust.

Like as a father cares for his children,
so does the Lord care for those who fear him.
For he himself knows whereof we are made;
he remembers that we are but dust.
Our days are like the grass;
we flourish like a flower of the field;
When the wind goes over it, it is gone;
and its place shall know it no more.

The Lord knows whereof we are made.
He remembers that we are but dust.

But the merciful goodness of the Lord endures for ever
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness on children's children;
On those who keep his covenant,
and remember his commandments and do them.
The Lord has set his throne in heaven;
and his kingship has dominion over all.

The Lord knows whereof we are made.
He remembers that we are but dust.

Bless the Lord, you angels of his,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
and hearken to the voice of his word.
Bless the Lord, all you his hosts,
you ministers of his who do his will.
Bless the Lord, all you works of his,
in all places of his dominion;
bless the Lord, O my soul.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The Lord knows whereof we are made.
He remembers that we are but dust.

Dawn Eden has released another single, a sunny, fluffy tune she wrote and recorded a few years ago with Michael Lynch -- a bit of '60s bubblegum pop called "Dubblbubbldandylionluv."

I feel certain that it is the only bubblegum tune ever with a "Pogo" allusion in the lyrics.

"Katherine, tell Daddy what we were talking about today."

"I can't tell him the same things, but they'll mean the same things."


"If we drove our car to the bottom of the earth, we'd be upside down, but it wouldn't feel like it. Grabity would push us up a little bit."


"Hayden is my best friend, but he doesn't know what 'kidnapping' means. He's my best friend, but he doesn't even know what it means."

"What does 'kidnapping' mean, Katherine?"

"It means taking a little nap."

As soon as Terri's Law was signed by President Bush, Terri Schiavo's parents, the Schindlers, filed a motion in Federal court to have Terri's feeding tube reinserted. For whatever reason, the assigned judge, James D. Whittemore, did not grant the motion immediately. The hearing will be at 3:00 p.m. at Tampa's Federal courthouse.

David Bayly, a blogger and PCA pastor who has been keeping vigil outside the hospice, writes:

By faith we have the avenue of greatest power at our disposal. Will you join us in prayer to God the Father Almighty for Terri and the Schindler family?

Patsy Brekke posted a comment on that entry worth meditating on:

You are right, we need to look up and out, to the Cross, to Christ, to God the Father of Life first and foremost - not to man, politics, the media or our own wisdom and strength.

Lowborn men are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie;
if weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath...

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
My hope comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
He is my mighty rock, my refuge.

Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge.

from Psalm 62

I may not get the international linkage and fan mail that some bloggers do, but there are perks to being a blogger with a focus on local news. Most bloggers have to be satisfied with kind words via email or in the comments, but I am privileged to get real hugs, pats on the back, hearty handshakes, and face-to-face words of thanks and encouragement. For all that, I want to express my appreciation to you, dear readers. It makes it all worthwhile to know that what I do here matters to you.

The House just adjourned, having passed the Senate version of Terri's Law (S. 686) by a vote of 203-58. All but a handful of Republicans voted in favor, joined by about 40 Democrats present. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.

It's not every day I get a big hug from a County Commissioner, and I wouldn't necessarily welcome a hug from any old County Commissioner. But I was proud to receive one from Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller as thanks for my part in shining the light of public scrutiny on the competition for a nearly $100 million five-year contract to operate Tulsa County's jail. On Friday, the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority (TCCJA) awarded the contract to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Department.

Shortly after the vote, Miller and Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune spoke at the Tulsa County Republican Men's Club's monthly luncheon. They were exultant that control over the jail had been returned to a public official who is accountable to the voters for law enforcement and public safety, not to corporate shareholders. The Commissioner was kind enough to acknowledge me from the podium as she spoke to the club; after her speech she came over to deliver the hug.

When she first contacted me a week and a half ago about the issue, Miller felt that deals were being worked to give the contract once again to Correctional Corporation of America (CCA), the company that has run the jail for the last five years. This time, CCA was over $2 million per year more expensive than the low bidder, but they were allowed to submit a second, lower bid, which excluded the cost of utilities, courthouse transportation, and certain medical expenses, cost shifting that would be borne by the county. It was a low bid in name only, but the sense was that CCA would have the support of five of the TCCJA commissioners. (The TCCJA includes the three Tulsa County Commissioners, the mayor of Tulsa, and one suburban mayor from each of the County Commission districts -- currently Broken Arrow, Collinsville, and Glenpool.) Miller felt she could support either the GEO Group, the low-bidder, or the Sheriff's Office, only a few hundred thousand dollars higher than the GEO Group. LaFortune was committed to the Sheriff's Office.

Blog survey

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TulipGirl had this, so I thought I'd give it a try here. Put your answer in the comments or email me at blog -AT- batesline DOT com.

1. How often do you check my blog?

2. Do you have a blog of your own? If so, what is the link? If no, why not?

3. Why do you visit my blog?

4. What are some other good blogs that you read?

They're back!

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I hear singing in the backyard! The toads have returned, a bit later than last year.

Watching C-SPAN's coverage of U. S. House debate on Terri Schiavo bill. Jim Moran, a Democrat from Virginia, speaking from the well of the House, told his colleages that 10 courts and 19 judges have heard all the testimony in the case and all reached the same conclusion. Utter baloney -- only one court and one judge heard all the testimony and saw all the evidence, and that's the heart of the problem.

Barney Frank, D-Mass., is managing the opposition to the bill. He just declined to give one of his speakers a turn, reserving time for later, making some comment about an imbalance between the two sides, which would seem to suggest that there is more support for congressional intervention in this case.

If you don't have access to cable TV, but do have broadband, you can watch the debate via C-SPAN's website.

When I read something like this, I feel like I was born too late and missed out on all the good stuff. Jeffrey Hart, who at age nine had a season pass to the 1939-40 New York World's Fair, remembers the fair, "the last great fair, innocent in its faith."

It believed in Progress as a comprehensive idea. We no longer have that kind of belief. We believe in advances—in transportation, medicine, communications, computers, longevity, and so on, but not in Progress as a central animating idea, one that gives meaning to life.

Hart takes us inside the Perisphere to Democracity, the planned model city (residences, industries, and offices carefully segregated from each other) of America's future, then out to the Amusement Zone with its parachute rides, Zombies, and freak shows.

Hat tip to Power Line's Big Trunk, whose entry includes links to an earlier essay by Hart and to a collection of images from the fair.

Semper ubi sub ubi

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I was proud to find myself blogrolled under the heading "eclectic" on a blog called Semper ubi sub ubi. (Ask a Latin-speaking friend for a translation of that profound motto.)

Although I'm not a cigar smoker, I like this quote from the top of the page:

I have enough trouble keeping the Ten Commandments, I don't need to add an eleventh one ... and I fully intend to go home tonight and smoke a cigar to the glory of God.--Charles H. Spurgeon

Trust is a fragile thing.

Trust is essential to any human endeavor involving more than one person (which is to say, nearly every endeavor worthy of pursuit), but it is easily broken and once broken it is almost impossible to mend.

You can go from treasured friend to arms-length acquaintance and not realize it's happened until it's too late. It's like being demoted, but someone forgot to copy you on the memo. Good will is gone, and its absence is evident in body language and tone of voice. Warm smiles are replaced by chilly glares.

It comes down to this: Before, your actions and words were given the benefit of the doubt. Your good intentions were assumed. After, your actions and words are viewed with suspicion of dark motives, and actions and words from the past are reinterpreted in accordance with this new, negative theory of you.

And here's the worst part: Every effort you make to find out what went wrong, to mend fences, to seek restoration is viewed through the same lens of suspicion. Far from patching the hole, your efforts only dig it deeper. What sounds like a simple, reasonable explanation as it leaves your mouth reaches your erstwhile friend's ear as defensive and evasive.

(UPDATE: Dawn Summers posted a "not so random thought" a couple of days ago that captures this situation perfectly -- "I was there when we became friends, where was I when we became strangers?")

What can bring about such a dramatic change, in the absence of any intentional breach of trust? A seed of doubt, watered by imagination, is all it takes. The seed may be planted by accident, the misapplication of past experience, or it may be planted deliberately by someone seeking to destroy a friendship or an alliance.

In the battle for the Tulsa's future, the coalition of reformers is made up of people who are just getting to know each other, and the bond of trust is not yet fully formed. We are vulnerable to attack at this point, and we must guard against it.

Thursday night's City Council meeting didn't go the way anyone expected. Allies inadvertently ended up working at cross-purposes, but some observers jumped to the conclusion that there had been a betrayal, that some sort of deal had been cut to the disadvantage of the Reform Alliance. The seed of doubt was planted and imagination watered it. I'm hopeful that efforts to root it out quickly were successful.

Brethren, we need to watch and pray, because we are surely under attack. And we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

Google News shows nearly 200 news stories covering a study recently published in the Journal of Adolescent Health. The story the mainstream media seems so anxious to report is summed up in the Tulsa Whirled's headline: "Virginity pledges are ineffective in curbing teen STDs, study finds." The story in the Whirled is actually out of the Washington Post, where it bears the slightly more balanced headline, "Teen Pledges Barely Cut STD Rates, Study Says."

How could this possibly be? It appears to hinge upon what teens are taught and made to understand about the meaning of abstinence:

Witness at the vigil

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David Bayly, who is outside the hospice in Pinellas Park, Florida, where Terri Schiavo is put to death by starvation and dehydration, has been posting some challenging observations on the interaction between protesters on both sides of the issue, the media, and the authorities. Here's a sample from yesterday:

...[N]on-Christians at the scene could easily come to the conclusion that Christians trust primarily in the power of government. There was little sense of reliance on a transcendently powerful, sovereign God in press conference performances (though an evening sermon by a Pastor Rob Schenck did provide such hope). Our trust, it seems, is in Messrs. Hastert, DeLay, Bush, etc. The arm of God is puny in the eyes of some, the arm of man all-too-powerful. This attitude seemed reflected in public prayer sessions which occasionally descended into Potemkin prayer villages. Perhaps the desire for ecumenicity blunted the power of prayer times, though ecumenicity was solely Christian and did not extend to denying the name of Christ.

Bayly, a PCA pastor, would like to see more of his compatriots on the scene:

How wonderful it would be to have 100 normal, thoughtful, engaged Reformed evangelicals here to witness. Opportunities are frequent and powerful, but there don't seem to be many here who are seeking to engage the other side. There's a fair bit of niceness to the other side and a fair bit of anger, but not much attempt at engagement.

And here's an observation from earlier today:

Many opportunities to witness here. Fantastic opportunity. Sadly, however, several conversations with media personnel and pro-Michael demonstrators have been cut short by angry and intrusive pro-Terri demonstrators. Dave and I are wearing navy sportcoats, and it may be that pro-Terry demonstrators feel free to interrupt us assuming we're journalists they're helping by adding to the color of our stories.

Pray for Terri, pray for those who are causing Terri's death to have a changed heart, and pray for those who are demonstrating to bear witness in word and deed to God's power and goodness.

I'm at the Lacy Park rec center, on Virgin St. west of Peoria for a reception honoring former U. S. Sen. Don Nickles. The event has been organized by the 2100 N. Owasso Block club, in gratitude for Nickles' help in resolving environmental problems caused by inadequate sewage infrastructure in the area. The reception will be underway shortly and continue until 3 - a chance for you to express your own thanks to Sen. Nickles for his quarter-century of public service. It's also a chance to meet dedicated neighborhood activists like James & Bernice Alexander and Sam Berry, staunch allies in the struggle to make city government work for all Tulsans, not just a favored few.

Also, they're serving food, and it smells really good.

UPDATE: That good-smelling food was homemade smoked beef brisket and turkey, of which I ate way too much. There was some sort of security issue that delayed the senator and in the end prevented him from attending, but the tributes from neighborhood leaders were videotaped to be sent to him later, and it was still a good time.

I should mention for out-of-town readers that Lacy Park is in a predominantly black and predominantly Democratic part of Tulsa, so it might seem remarkable that a conservative Republican senator would be honored here, but it reflects Don Nickles' dedication to fair treatment for all his constituents, whether they voted for him or not. The area had terrible problems with aging infrastructure -- raw sewage backing up into the park, homes, and schools, and brown-tinged tap water. City Hall, then under Democrat Mayor Susan Savage, wasn't doing anything at all to help, so neighborhood leaders went to Sen. Nickles' office.

As Bernice Alexander tells the story, the senator couldn't believe things could be as bad as they were described to him, but they had documentation ready for him, and his response was that no one should have to live with such a mess. He put his staff to work, and the result was Federal oversight to ensure that the City dealt with this environmental hazard -- new interceptor lines, a new sewage treatment plant, new water lines. The determination of the neighborhood leaders and the diligence of Nickles' staff under his leadership saved the neighborhood.

In the absence of the Senator, I was asked, as an officer in the county Republican Party, to speak on his behalf. For all of his well-known accomplishments -- his years in the Senate leadership and his work on landmark legislation -- I know he'd be pleased to know that his work and his staff's work on this neighborhood issue was remembered and appreciated. While I'd rather see local issues handled by local government, this was a case where local government neglect was endangering the health of citizens of this city, and I'm glad that the Senator stepped in.

I'm glad I came. This event is another example of how the walls of suspicion between parties and races and different parts of town are coming down. People are realizing the root problem is bigger than whatever neighborhood issue that first brought them to City Hall in search of help. Democrats and Republicans are coming together to seek for fairness, integrity, and accountability in government. The people who have been using city government for their own ends ought to be very nervous.

I don't have time to write any more than this at the moment:

Any feeling that last night's Council meeting was a defeat for the good guys is without basis in reality.

Any anger toward Councilors Turner and Henderson is entirely misplaced. They were not responsible for the adjournment of the meeting. They have been and continue to be faithful friends and allies of Councilors Mautino and Medlock, and I have complete confidence in them. If you missed hearing what they had to say this morning on KFAQ about what transpired last night, you should make a point to listen online as the broadcast replays. They were on the air between 7:40 and 8:30. 9:40 p.m. Friday is the next time that segment will air, then every 3.5 hours until Monday morning. You can hear my comments (originally made about 6:40) -- they'll next repeat at 8:40 tonight and every 3.5 hours thereafter.

Before you wake up in the morning and jump to any conclusions, you should take time to shave your suppositions with Occam's Razor.

Keeping vigil with Terri

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The defiance of Judge George Greer continues to block every effort to allow some other body to consider the facts of Terri Schiavo's situation, rather than relying on Greer's own very suspect findings of fact. Greer rejected the subpoena ordering the appearance of Terri Schiavo before a congressional committee and ordered the execution to proceed.

As you pray and seek for other ways to help Terri, here are some sources of information, in addition to Blogs for Terri and Terri's Fight:

Last night through the fog of congressional maneuvering, Google News seemed to be the best way to find an aggregate of the latest developments. Here's a link to a Google News search on "Schiavo" sorted by most recent.

David Bayly, a PCA pastor and a blogger for World Magazine, is in Pinellas Park, Florida, keeping vigil outside the hospice where Terri Schiavo is now being starved and dehydrated to death. He is reporting from the scene as news filters out to the crowd gathered there. Tomorrow he'll be joined there by other PCA pastors and World Magazine publisher Joel Belz.

I'm seeing conflicting information about the status of legislative efforts to prevent the starvation execution of Terri Schiavo, which will begin, by order of Pinellas County, Florida, Judge George Greer, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time today.

The U. S. House passed a bill (HR 1332) on Wednesday that would give a Federal court an opportunity to review the facts of such cases. According to the Tampa Tribune, a unanimous consent request to hear the bill in the Senate failed because of the objection of Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a pro-death advocate. The newspaper reported that the Senate succeeded later in passing a private relief bill applying only to Terri, but by then the House had recessed for the month. There's talk of reconvening the House, but many members have already gone back to their districts. Blogs for Terri still seems to hope that this is possible.

Meanwhile the Florida Senate defeated a bill, by a vote of 21-16, which would have set a higher standard for withdrawing food and water from a PVS patient -- there must be either a written advance directive from the patient, or clear and convincing evidence of the patient's wishes. Nine Republicans voted with the Democrats to stop the bill.

As I've said before -- local and state elections matter to the cause of protecting human life. Primary elections matter to the cause of protecting human life. Terri's situation is the result of an elected judge who rejects crucial evidence, the elected sheriff and district attorney of Pinellas County, who refuse to intervene in an apparent case of abuse and neglect, and the Florida legislature, which passed legislation about five years ago categorizing food and water as "life-extending" treatment. Don't assume that if your state legislator is Republican that he's on the right side of this issue.

Palm Sunday Choral Evensong

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This Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m., Coventry Chorale will be singing an evensong service for Palm Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th and Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa. It's a worship service, so of course admission is free. If you've never been part of a sung service of Evening Prayer, you should attend.

The service will include two settings of Isaiah 53:4 -- "Surely he hath borne our griefs" -- one from Handel's Messiah and the other by Karl Heinrich Graun, a contemporary of Bach. According to the sheet music's editor, Graun's Tod Jesu (Death of Jesus) "became so popular that it caused Bach's monumental Passion According to Matthew to be forgotten for an entire century." It is a beautiful piece of music.

The service will also include "Save Us, O Lord," by Thomas Matthews the late choirmaster and organist of Trinity, and settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis by Charles Villiers Stanford. The rest of the standard Prayer Book service -- invitatory ("O Gracious Light"), Psalm, Apostles' Creed, prayers and collects -- will be sung or chanted.

(I'll be reuniting with the Chorale for this service and will be the cantor for the opening collect and responsory. David Rollo says he'll make an Episcopal priest of me yet. I love Anglican liturgy, which is saturated with Scripture and makes beautiful use of the English language. I only wish the whole ECUSA was as faithful to the truth as the old Prayer Book and the 39 Articles.)

Back to that pre-meeting: Tulsa City Councilor Bill Christiansen was concerned about his personal liability over his vote (along with Henderson, Medlock, Turner, and Mautino) to deny the final plat for F&M Bank. Acting City Attorney Alan Jackere had advised the Council that legislative immunity would not apply for that action and F&M could sue individual councilors for violating the bank's right to fair treatment. After an executive session in which the Council conferred with city attorneys, the Council voted 4-4 on Christiansen's motion to rescind denial of the plat, with only Christiansen changing his vote. Without a majority in favor, the motion failed and at this point F&M cannot proceed with construction.

If there is any lawsuit, Christiansen may be the target. By changing his vote, he implicitly admits that he wasn't using his best judgment on his initial vote. The other four voting to deny the plat can fairly and truthfully maintain that their judgment was that there was no scrivener's error on the PUD and therefore granting the plat would have been inconsistent with the approved zoning. The proper remedy for F&M is to seek a major amendment to the PUD.

The situation has inspired a very funny audio montage created by Bobby of Tulsa Topics. Bill Christiansen, Darth Vader, HAL 9000, Don Vito Corleone, Daffy Duck, Regis Philbin, Mr. Spock, Buddy Hackett, and Yoda all in one clip.

UPDATE: Bobby has a first-hand report from the pre-meeting, and a link to a Wiki entry about acting City Attorney Alan Jackere.

Busy and strange night tonight.

While a special Council meeting to consider rescinding the denial of the 71st and Harvard F&M Bank final plat was going on on the 2nd floor of City Hall, opponents of the recall gathered on City Hall Plaza to rally support for Councilors Mautino and Medlock. There were at least 100 people present on the plaza and more had already gone inside to the Council chamber. Standing on one of the empty plinths on the plaza, I spoke to the crowd about their opportunity to speak before the Council, reiterating the main objections to the recall -- the failure of the City Clerk to fulfill his obligations under the charter being the foremost. Rick Westcott, chairman of Tulsans for Election Integrity, spoke briefly and emphasized the need for decorum during the meeting itself. Mona Miller led us all in some chants before we began to file into the chamber, many carrying NO RECALL bumper stickers and yard signs, and a few with homemade signs.

The chamber was standing room only -- every seat taken, and people lined up along all the walls. As we signed up to speak on the recall-related agenda items, the Council staffer informed us that the items had been pulled from the agenda. Medlock was standing next to me as I heard this, and he corrected the staffer, saying that the items would be pulled only if there were no objection from a councilor. It was clear that he was prepared to see the Council proceed to vote on recall and wanted the assembled citizens to be given a chance to speak.

As the Councilors took their seats, Medlock and Mautino received standing ovations. Bill Christiansen and Randy Sullivan received hisses and boos.

UPDATE: There will be a "No Recall" rally at 5 p.m. Thursday on City Hall Plaza. More details as they become available.

Non-Councilor Randy Sullivan has put the recall of Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock on Thursday night's City Council agenda. There will be two votes on each councilor. Tulsans need to be down at City Hall Thursday night for the 6 p.m. meeting, ready to speak out in opposition this attempt to call a recall election on the basis of questionable petitions with questionable signatures. You should be at City Hall by Thursday at 5:45 -- give yourself time to park -- and you should sign up to speak on items 3b, 3c, 7a, and 7b.

(By the way, if there's an event at the Convention Center and they're charging for parking, tell the attendant that you're there for the Council meeting and you won't be charged the $3.)

Here's the first agenda item: "Affirmation or reversal of City Clerk's determination that the petitions and signatures on the supporting petitions seeking the recall... comply with the requirements of the Tulsa City Charter." This has been listed as one of the "Mayor's Items," very early in the meeting, right after a series of appointments and reappointments that should be routine. That's why its crucial to be in the room before the meeting begins at 6:00 p.m.

As City Clerk Mike Kier admitted last Tuesday, he has not fulfilled the charter requirement that he verify that the signatures on the petition correspond with the signatures in the voter registration records. It would be irresponsible for the Council to vote to affirm, and Tulsans need to be present to make sure they hear that message loud and clear.

The second agenda item reads as follows: "Resolution of Notice to the Tulsa County Election Board of a Special Election to be held in the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma on May 10, 2005, to recall... and directing the Mayor to call the election." Note the date. It would be illegal for the Council to act on March 17 to call a May 10 election. State law requires at least 60 days between calling an election and the election date.

Randy Sullivan has included the two election resolutions in the "Council items" section items of the agenda, no doubt intending to inconvenience citizens as much as possible by separating the items as much as possible.

The fact that the "affirmation or reversal" is not described as a resolution to affirm or reverse is a bit of legal trickery. A resolution requires a majority vote of the whole Council -- five yes votes. By not calling it a resolution, the City Attorney's office is making the case that all they need is a majority of a majority -- a majority of whatever quorum happens to be present -- three votes out of five, four votes out of six or seven. Once again the City Attorney's office is opening up the City (and us taxpayers) to a lawsuit by trying to monkey around with the law for the benefit of the Cockroach Caucus.

Please plan to be at City Hall Thursday night.

This was published on March 15, but I'm bumping the date to keep it at the top through Thursday.

Bring your camcorders

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You are encouraged to bring your camcorders and digital voice recorders to tonight's City Council meeting. I have heard that there have been some technical changes to the camera and audio setup in the Francis Campbell Council Room. The kinds of glitches that often accompany such changes may prevent Cox Cable from getting a good recording for rebroadcast. So charge your camcorders and bring them along. Let's make sure every word is recorded for posterity.

Last night the U. S. House of Representatives passed, by voice vote, HR 1332, the Protection of Incapacitated Persons Act of 2005. This bill gives an incapacitated person, or the "next friend" of an incapacitated person (a term that would include parents), the right to pursue a cause of action on behalf of the incapacitated person in Federal district court. The Federal court would be authorized determine "whether authorizing or directing the withholding or withdrawal of food or fluids or medical treatment necessary to sustain the incapacitated person's life constitutes a deprivation of any right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Unlike HR 1151, this bill makes no reference to habeas corpus.

The determination would be made de novo -- that means the court would hear the case as if it had never been heard before and would consider arguments and evidence. In a situation like Terri Schiavo's, it would mean an incapacitated person's life would not be in the hands of one judge only. Yesterday's NRO piece by Rob Johansen documents Pinellas County, Florida, Judge George Greer's shortcomings in considering medical evidence and explains the bizarre reality that Judge Greer's findings of fact can only be reversed by Judge Greer.

Judge Greer has decreed that Terri's slow death will begin tomorrow at 1 p.m. Eastern time. Everything now depends upon the U. S. Senate taking action quickly. Please contact Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (phone 202-224-3344, fax 202-228-1264) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (phone 202-224-3542, fax 202-224-7327) and urge them to move this bill forward. If you're a Floridian, there is legislation pending in Tallahassee that needs your help -- click here for more information.

In honor of Saint Patrick

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St. Patrick is said to have beaten a drum hard and fast, and the din drove all the snakes of Ireland into the sea.

In honor of his feast day...

Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland

... let's help Councilors Jack Henderson, Jim Mautino, Chris Medlock, and Roscoe Turner drive the snakes out of Tulsa's City Hall! Show up at City Hall Plaza at 5:00 p.m. and make some noise at a rally leading up to the City Council meeting which will begin at 6:00 p.m. You'll be able to pick up "No Recall" yard signs and bumper stickers.

If you appreciate the way these four men consistently stand up for the ordinary people of Tulsa, you need to show your appreciation by showing up tonight for the rally and the City Council meeting.

Illustration from Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie de Paola, a wonderful children's book about Patrick's life and legend.

NOTE: Action is urgently needed on the Incapacitated Persons Legal Protection Act. Please contact Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (phone 202-224-3344,
fax 202-228-1264) and Speaker of the House Denny Hastert (phone 202-225-2976, fax 202-225-0697) and plead with them to expedite passage of this bill.

Today on National Review Online, Rob Johansen has a thorough rebuttal to those (like one persistent anonymous commenter on this blog) who claim that Terri Schiavo is in a persistent vegetative state and that her brain has liquefied. Johansen reviews the decisions made by Judge George Greer, the qualifications of the expert witnesses whose testimony he allowed and of those he disallowed. Regarding the PVS diagnosis, Johansen has been interviewing neurologists:

Almost 50 neurologists all say the same thing: Terri should be reevaluated, Terri should be reexamined, and there are grave doubts as to the accuracy of Terri’s diagnosis of PVS. All of these neurologists are board-certified; a number of them are fellows of the prestigious American Academy of Neurology; several are professors of neurology at major medical schools. ...

One such neurologist is Dr. Peter Morin. He is a researcher specializing in degenerative brain diseases, and has both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Boston University.

In the course of my conversation with Dr. Morin, he made reference to the standard use of MRI and PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scans to diagnose the extent of brain injuries. He seemed to assume that these had been done for Terri. I stopped him and told him that these tests have never been done for her; that Michael had refused them.

There was a moment of dead silence.

“That’s criminal,” he said, and then asked, in a tone of utter incredulity: “How can he continue as guardian? People are deliberating over this woman’s life and death and there’s been no MRI or PET?” He drew a reasonable conclusion: “These people [Michael Schiavo, George Felos, and Judge Greer] don’t want the information.”

It's Wictory Wednesday, when hundreds of bloggers ask their readers to contribute to a Republican candidate somewhere in the USA. Today's target of opportunity is Mark Kennedy, running for Senate from Minnesota. Here's Kennedy's website, and here's where you can make a contribution. Minnesota is one of the GOP's best shots at picking up a Senate seat in '06. Early contributions to Kennedy will help discourage Democrat candidates from getting into the race.

You'll find the list of blogs supporting the Wictory Wednesday in the sidebar on the BatesLine homepage.

Just a reminder -- Tulsa Topics should be on your list of daily reads. The latest entry is an in-depth preview of Thursday night's Council meetings, including an audio clip of what Bill Christiansen was saying about the 71st and Harvard situation last Thursday night. On Monday he posted a detailed preview of the Council's Tuesday committee meetings with links to relevant background information.

It's not all political -- Bobby writes of a visit to Swan Lake, which inspired some research into the 1934 Chicago World's Fair.

Beyond the blog, Tulsa Topics has a media page, with clips from recent public meetings.

You'll also find the beginnings of a Wikipedia of the Tulsa political and business scene. A wiki allows you to register and contribute your own knowledge to the collection. If enough folks get involved in limited ways, it could grow rapidly into a wonderful resource for understanding the background to the news.

On 1170 KFAQ Wednesday morning

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Michael DelGiorno has had a setback in his recovery from hernia surgery, and he'll be recuperating again tomorrow morning, leaving sidekick Gwen Freeman to fill in once again. Gwen has asked me to ride shotgun once again, and so I shall. I expect we'll be talking about the recall, which will be on Thursday's Council agenda, as will 71st and Harvard. Councilor Bill Christiansen is bringing the denial of F&M Bank's final plat up for reconsideration at a special "pre-meeting" out of the public eye, Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Council committee room on the second floor of City Hall. Tune in to AM 1170 or listen online.

My friend Dave Russ sends along a link to this 20-question Southern dialect quiz based on Harvard's survey of regional dialects. The quiz looks mainly at word choice: Is the generic term for a soft drink soda, pop, or Coke? Do you carry groceries in a bag, a sack, or a poke? Is the second person plural "you all," "y'all," "youse guys," or "you'uns."

I had a strongly Southern score, which I partly owe to my Connecticut Yankee eighth grade Latin teacher, who taught us to conjugate verbs after this fashion: "I love, you love, he loves, we love, y'all love, they love."

Dave, a Mobile native, only scored a 60, his dialect no doubt compromised by years in southern California and south Florida. I outdistanced him with a 76. Top that, y'all!

An unavoidable conclusion

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Andrew Dobbs of the Burnt Orange Report, a left-leaning Texas political blog, was appalled by news of infant euthanasia in the Netherlands. His dismay at that news led him along a chain of reasoning to a conclusion he did not expect to reach:

I am reluctant to do this, but I have decided to enable comment moderation. I appreciate your comments, and for the most part the comments have been responsible and constructive.

Over at Councilor Chris Medlock's blog, however, it appears that agents of the Coalition for Reprehensible Government are using anonymity to post slanderous attacks on Chris, the same sort of canards that were used in the Tulsa Tribunal smear paper. I'm not going to wait until these cowbirds try to take over this nest before taking countermeasures.

This is my blog, and we play by my rules. If you want to engage in constructive criticism, that's fine, but you need to be willing to do so under your own name, and you need to supply me with a working e-mail address. Anonymous attacks will not be tolerated. If you don't like my rules, GYOB.

There is one way you can bypass comment moderation -- if you're registered with TypeKey, you can sign in, and post comments without moderation. All other comments will come through me, and I reserve the right to reject any comment for any reason.

Monday morning on KFAQ I reported what Mayor Bill LaFortune has been saying about the upcoming general obligation bond issue -- that your property taxes will be lower than they are now if the bond issue passes.

Turns out it depends on how you look at it. The Mayor is comparing the sum of the last five years, which includes a very high number in 1999, with the sum of the next five years. Here's the city's levy per $1000 net assessed value from FY 1999 through FY 2011.

Actual:

1999 - 13.80
2000 - 12.20
2001 - 12.00
2002 - 11.70
2003 - 11.20
2004 - 11.10
2005 - 10.00

Projected if bond issue passes:

2006 - 10.30
2007 - 11.10
2008 - 12.20
2009 - 12.30
2010 - 13.00
2011 - 12.95

In a nutshell, the bond issue will make your property taxes will go up, but not as high as they have been in the past.

The list of names and addresses on the recall petition against Tulsa District 6 City Councilor Jim Mautino is available via his home page. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and you'll find a link to the list and why he has posted the list on the Internet.

If you live in District 6, you'll want to take a minute to be sure that no one signed your name on your behalf.

At the top of Councilor Mautino's home page, you'll find links for signing an anti-recall petition and for volunteering to help the defeat the recall attempt.

All the cool bloggers are doing it, so why not join in?

By "it," I mean annoying Baltimore Sun columnist Christopher Hanson, who complains that "[a] great many bloggers are... too self-absorbed to focus on keeping the public informed." He calls such bloggers "I Bloggers", who, says Hanson, "owe less to Watergate investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein than to the recently deceased Hunter S. Thompson. His 'gonzo' journalism focused on the writer's precious idiosyncrasies, not on fact digging, and the Blogosphere, too, is a wilderness of self-absorption."

As his first case in point, Hanson cites the Dawn Patrol, which he describes as "Manhattanite Dawn Eden's preening report on Dawn Eden, iconoclastic neoconservative 'petite powerhouse,' illustrated with Dawn Eden glamour photos."

One wonders if Mr. Ever-Accurate Main Stream Media bothered to read the target of his scorn. Dawn Eden is second to no one when it comes to digging up facts and informing the public about America's Death Industry. (Also, she's not a Manhattanite, either by birth or residence.) She does leaven her fact-digging with personal insights, pop culture, and the occasional photo, all of which make it easier to sit still to read about the latest outrages from Planned Parenthood -- a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.

On the other hand, I have to make myself read Eminent Domain Watch every few days. It too is a valuable source of information about outrages -- in this case, outrageous abuse of government's power to take private property for public use. I know nothing at all about Mr. E. D. Watch's personal life, other interests, or motivations for keeping on top of this issue. I'm glad the blog is there, but it's dry as dust.

Here at BatesLine, I make you sit through my personal whims on a regular basis. In order to get to first-hand reports and analysis of local news, you have to put up with a theological essay or a tribute to Bob Wills or Gene Scott or a rumination on the summer I was eight or pictures of the kids or links to cool maps and British radio comedy and photoshopped romance novel covers. You don't like it, you can get your own blog and do things your own way. The day I don't publish something that strikes my fancy, because it might annoy someone who's only interested in hard news, is the day I quit writing because I've completely lost interest.

One of the wonderful things about the blogosphere is discovering that people come in such interesting combinations of interests and experiences. I wrote the following in an e-mail about a year ago:

One of the wonderful things about the blogosphere is it provides a showcase, an outlet, and a means of connection for people who aren't easily pigeonholed. How do you categorize a liturgy-loving Calvinistic Baptist conservative Republican with an interest in urban design and local politics and a fondness for pre-British-Invasion instrumental pop? Much has been written about the way eBay has brought buyers and sellers together for obscure items that otherwise wouldn't have a market, but the blogosphere has provided a place for ideas to come seemingly out of nowhere, gain a hearing, and gain critical mass, in a way that used to be possible only in the biggest cities or on college campuses. You just write about your passions, and people who share those passions write back.

So in the spirit of I Blogging, here are a couple of glamour photos of me, my contribution to the "Annoy Christopher Hanson" campaign, hosted by Charles G. Hill of dustbury.com. And there's a bonus!

First photo: Here I am, atop 30 Rockefeller Center at a party honoring Senator Jim Inhofe, during the Republican National Convention, where I served as a delegate. I'm with Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock (an elected alternate to the convention) and Congressman John Sullivan, two public officials I helped get elected. (Ask them if you don't believe me.) Quite glamorous, n'est-ce pas? (That is your actual French.)

Councilor Chris Medlock, Michael Bates, U. S. Rep. John Sullivan

Click the picture for a larger version. The buttons I'm wearing are from the National Review get-together I had just attended. The one on the left, with the French tricolor, says "Just say 'Non!' to John Kerry," the one on the right says, "Vote for Kerry. Save a hamster." (I don't know what the deal is with the strange reflection on the Congressman's face.)

This next pic is even more glamorous. That's me at the controls of a Dassault Falcon 900 EX EASy, or at least an incredible simulation thereof. The steely glint of confidence in my eye is because I've just landed the imaginary luxury jet, speeding off the end of the runway and through several buildings. (There were no casualties, simulated or otherwise.)

Michael Bates in a Falcon 900 simulator

I think I should get extra "annoy Christopher Hanson" points for that photo, because it was snapped by a glamour photo expert, the preening, iconoclastic neoconservative Petite Powerhouse herself.

And trekking deeper into that "wilderness of self-absorption," here's that bonus I promised, in the spirit of self-indulgent self-promotion: Michael Bates sings! (1.4 MB MP3 file. WARNING: Contains crooning. May cause swooning in bobbysoxers.)

Coming soon: More gratuitous photos of my adorable children.

UPDATE: Charles Hill reports the following e-mail reply from Hanson: "I am trying to be annoyed but am actually flattered by the attention."

Is singleness a sin?

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Last August, Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, gave a speech ("The Mystery of Marriage") to a singles conference in which he suggested that there is something sinful about young Christians delaying marriage. He lays much of the blame at the feet of Christian men who seem to prefer an extended adolescence to shouldering the burdens of adulthood. The speech drew praise, criticism, and ridicule. (Mohler wrote two columns about the speech -- part 1 and part 2. You can find audio of the speech itsef here.)

Mohler's speech has generated a lot of discussion about Christians, churches, and singleness. It also seems to have brought to the surface a lot of frustration among Christian singles, both men and women, as you'll see if you'll follow the "Continue reading" link below.

Michael Spencer has written a lengthy and thoughtful post, partly in response to Mohler, but looking at the bigger picture:

This debate is a small part of what I see as a major evolution within evangelicalism; an evolution toward overemphasizing marriage at the expense of much that is Biblical, good, healthy, balanced and normal in human and Christian experience. From the best of motives, some bad fruit is appearing.

Spencer presents six ways that churches can overemphasize marriage, elaborating on each point:

Thanks, Mikki!

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If you enjoyed hearing me on the radio all last week, there's one person in particular who deserves your thanks. My wife Mikki took on some added burdens so that I could be available all five days for the whole show. Thank you, dear -- it wouldn't have happened without your help and encouragement.

BatesLine recap

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Despite spending 17.5 hours on the air last week, I never had the chance to do my usual BatesLine update. Usually, after we talk about the issues of the day, I get a couple of minutes to highlight other topics I've been writing about. During the normal slot on Monday, we were occupied with the Mayor's speech to the Republican convention, and the rest of the week, Gwen and I were talking to guests and callers. We just never got around to it.

Here then are some non-city-politics highlights from BatesLine over the last couple of weeks:

  • Remembering Abigail, two years later: Remembering the life, death, and triumphant faith of Abigail Litle, who was killed two years ago in a terrorist attack in Israel. If you've never read this, and the articles it links to, please do.
  • Borscht and a cake from Brooklyn: A report about the exotic food served at our church's missions conference banquet.
  • MENDing broken hearts: A victim of abortion speaks at the banquet of a local crisis pregnancy center.
  • Lots of coverage of Terri Schiavo's situation and the efforts to save her from starvation: here, here, and here.
  • Summer at age 8 -- 1972: My memories of summer as an eight-year-old and of a particularly significant event that happened to me.
  • Swinging on a scar: A TV sweeps-month report about "swingers" inspires thoughts about intimacy and vulnerability.
  • Memories of a different kind of swinger -- posts in honor of Bob Wills' 100th birthday here, here, and here.
  • Hunchback nation: How computers threaten to give us all permanent humps and headaches, and what you can do to stop it from happening to you.
  • Go forth, Gruntfuttock, my child: A salute to the classic British radio comedy "Round the Horne" on its 40th anniversary, with a link to where you can hear the program today.

Finally, in doing some research for more recent blog entries, I read through my archive from March 2004. It was an eventful month -- the city elections that gave the Reform Alliance four seats on the Council, along with the court fight that overturned the District 3 Democrat primary. Beyond the local stuff, there was rather a lot of good writing, I thought, and if you're new to BatesLine, wander back a year and have a look.

Go get caught up.

Cast your minds back a few months, when the Council's Reform Alliance majority was concerned to see that property owners got a fair shake from the City as the City acquired land for the new arena between Denver and Frisco, 1st and 3rd. Bob Poe, Chairman of the Tulsa Metro Chamber, claimed that the Council's refusal to proceed with condemnation was costing $10,000 a day by delaying the arena project. There were claims that the Council was part of a conspiracy to obstruct the completion and success of Vision 2025 -- presumably they were being paid by Oklahoma City or Wichita.

Now we know, as the Tulsa Beacon reported this week, that the City can't complete acquisition of the land without the consent of the Federal Government, which owns two parcels and is insisting that the City bear the entire cost of relocation as a condition for selling the land to the City. The City cannot condemn federal property.

The site has plenty of other problems. It isn't suited to encouraging nearby development, landlocked as it is by government facilities. An important entrance into downtown, the 2nd Street exit from the Inner Dispersal Loop, will dead-end into the arena, instead of feeding into a one-way street that runs through downtown, past the Williams Center and the Blue Dome District and connects back into the IDL.

Mike Buchert, Bob Poe, and many others owe the Reform Alliance councilors an apology for accusing them of stopping progress on the arena. That blame goes to whoever is responsible for not working things out with the Feds before the arena location was set in stone.

Part of the price

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Hooah Wife lives in the Tulsa area. Her husband is being deployed to Iraq with the Corps of Engineers. She wrote a few days ago about the effect of deployment on kids:

Anyway, back to children. Sometimes you want to beat them but they really need a hug. That is how it has been at my house lately. I gave all the info for deployment to the counselor at my boy's school. But, unless you have ever lived it, paper can't prepare you for the possibilities. Children go through a rollercoaster of phases with a missing parent. Let me tell you, it can be trying at times. Often times the only ones that really understand it completetly are other military parents. We just expect kids to lash out at some time or have nightmares or anxiety during deployments. I even have a friend whose 10 year old stopped eating. I bitch & gripe a lot on my blog, but that is my healthy outlet. Kids can't necessarily funnel their anger appropriately.

What's that smell?

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Anyone else notice this? The blooming Bradford ornamental pear trees are lovely, but the smell of the blooms is rather, um, pungent. The mildest way I can say it is it smells like old damp dog food.

A lot of Tulsans are angry that the Home Builders Association of Metro Tulsa, dominated by developers based in Owasso and Broken Arrow, are attempting to remove two duly-elected Tulsa City Councilors.

Even residents of the suburbs are dismayed at the HBA's push for recall in Tulsa. If you live in the 'burbs, you may wonder how you can help.

The Tulsa Real Estate Coalition (TREC) of which the HBA is a part, along with the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors (GTAR) and the National Association of Industrial and Office Parks (NAIOP) is not only trying to retake control of the Tulsa City Council, they have either gained or are trying to gain control of suburban city councils as well. TREC's legislative goals are simple -- defend the status quo. The only reform that will be tolerated is that which makes life easier for developers.

Of course, that's their right, to try to influence the political process by helping elect officials who will be sympathetic to their concerns.

But if I were voting for City Council in one of the suburbs -- elections are on April 5 -- I'd certainly take into consideration which candidates received funds or endorsements from TREC or its members.

This morning's Tulsa Whirled features the usual clueless column by Ken Neal, this time about the recall and Tuesday's special meeting where lack of a quorum stopped the Cockroach Caucus from rushing the recall to a May election date. Neal's column confirms something I wrote about him and his colleagues last month:

To the Whirled editorial writers, and their allies in the Cockroach Caucus, city politics is utter simplicity. If it's a "Chamber deal," it must be good, and of course, "everybody in town" thinks it's a good idea. Anyone who disagrees is by definition a naysayer, an anti-progress crank, and therefore is beneath notice, no matter how well he can argue his position. The result is an inbred intellectual environment with imbecility as a predictable result.

Let's just take apart his latest offering, line by silly line. Ignoring the throwaway opening, here's the first substantive point:

How I got started

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You young whippersnappers don't know how easy you've got it. It was a hard life, blogging back in the old days. We didn't have fancy-schmancy tools like Movable Type or WordPress. We didn't even have HTML, or even computers, for pete's sake! Back when I started, we blogged with chalk. That's right, chalk! All I had to work with was a 1 KB chalkboard. Hits per day? Maybe 100. Archives? My archives long ago settled in between the blocks of the parquet floor. You had one chalkboard, and when it was full, it was full. You wanted to write something new? You erased what was there.

The Unfriendly Philosopher, 1981

"3: Mike Bates, the Unfriendly Philosopher, writes yet another satirical comment." -- Eight Acres 1981, p. 72.

Sometime in 1978 or 1979, Carlos Tuttle, then head of Holland Hall's Upper School and teacher of Oklahoma History, delivered a lecture in the school's commons about Washington Irving's book A Tour of the Prairies, in which Irving describes his 1832 journey through what is now northeastern Oklahoma. Mr. Tuttle described how Irving's route took him through what is now Tulsa, and in all likelihood right across what is now Holland Hall's football field. For his talk, Mr. Tuttle made use of a large map of Oklahoma, which was supported by a freestanding chalkboard.

After the talk, the chalkboard remained in the commons through some oversight, finding its way to the corner near the southeast staircase. An upperclassman calling himself the Friendly Philosopher began to write a thought for the day on the board. Before long a senior named Sean Haugh began posting biting and cynical satire on the chalkboard, calling himself the Unfriendly Philosopher. At some point, I became the Unfriendly Philosopher's Apprentice, graduating from my apprenticeship as I became a senior. The board was used for lampooning every aspect of school life, and although I cannot remember the specifics of any articles I wrote, there's at least one reader of this blog who probably can. I wasn't the sole user of the chalkboard -- a number of my friends wrote for the chalkboard as well, so it was a kind of primitive group blog.

The only writings that survive from the period are the class prophecy, which I co-wrote with Alex Eaton and Rick Koontz; Gallway, the April Fools' Day parody newspaper, which Tim Nelson, Rick Koontz, and I wrote and edited; and the speech that got me elected as an at-large representative to the Student Council.

I've added yet another blogroll to my sidebar. I'm now a participant in the League of Reformed Bloggers. That doesn't mean I'm going to stop blogging and take up a more wholesome hobby. I'm as addicted as ever to putting my thoughts up for everyone to see.

"Reformed" in this context means committed to the doctrines of the Protestant Reformation, as expressed by the five "Solas":

  • Sola scriptura: The scriptures alone our rule of faith and practice
  • Solus Christus: Christ the one mediator between God and man
  • Sola gratia: Salvation by grace alone
  • Sola fide: Salvation through faith alone
  • Soli Deo gloria: To God alone be the glory

The Cambridge Declaration, adopted in 1996 by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, explains each of the solas and how they speak to the practices and beliefs of modern-day evangelicalism.

Another entrance requirement for the League is adherence to one or more of the historic Reformed confessions, at least to the system of doctrine taught, if not to every particular. For me that's the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, even though I am a member of a Presbyterian Church in America congregation.

David Wayne, the Jollyblogger, and Tim Challies, of Challies.com, are moderators and managers of the League. There's an aggregator of League posts here.

To learn more about the League of Reformed Bloggers, and how to join if you are interested in so doing, read this entry on Jollyblogger.

Off the air

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Finally, a morning I can sleep in -- maybe as late as 7!

I had a great time this week filling in as sidekick on KFAQ's Michael DelGiorno show, as Gwen Freeman did a marvelous job hosting the show during Michael's recuperation. Adjectives fail me -- not enough sleep -- but Gwen is a great interviewer, and I never get tired of listening to that voice. I hope she gets her own talk show some day. (She's already got her own music show on KXBL Classic Country 99.5, every day from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) It was a privilege to sit in with her, especially during such an eventful week in local politics.

Rush Limbaugh has often said that being a radio talk show host was like having an adult Christmas every day -- that sense of excitement and anticipation. Despite the early hours, I really looked forward each morning to coming in and commenting on the news.

I may regret this, but if you heard the show this week, I invite your critique -- how'd I do? How could I have done better?

I will be back in studio Monday for my usual 20 minutes, hopefully with a recovered Michael DelGiorno on the other side of the desk. In the meantime, you can listen online for a repeat of this morning's broadcast, which featured Scott Pruitt's lecture on George Washington's Farewell Address, and included interviews with Sen. Tom Coburn and State Rep. Pam Peterson, and a look at Tulsa's Altarnet Film Society, which does a monthly screening of independent films with a spiritual theme.

Blogging will be light this weekend as I get caught up with the rest of my life. In the meantime, be sure to sample the blogroll on the right side of the home page.

Carson's excuse

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Mike of Okiedoke links to a fascinating article by Brad Carson about why he lost to Tom Coburn. If I read it correcly, Carson is saying he had to tell different stories to different crowds, while Coburn could campaign with the same message everywhere. I swear I thought the clip Mike posted was a parody at first.

Mike's comments and advice to the Democrats are well worth reading. I may comment after I get some sleep.

A reader of this site who happens to be an attorney writes to suggest that the City of Tulsa hire a forensic document examiner to look at the recall petition signatures and ensure that the requirements of the charter are fulfilled. My correspondent says is familiar with forensic document examination from his involvement in cases involving disputed wills.

Forensic document examination is a long recognized, valid forensic science. The classic textbook is Osborn on Questioned Documents. It is very, very difficult to fool a trained forensic document examiner. A well trained forensic document examiner given known and questioned signatures can determine forgeries pretty quickly. Shouldn't the City Council engage the services of a qualified forensic document examiner to determine whether there are sufficient genuine signatures on the recall petition for there to be a recall? To me it is absolutely inexcusable for the city clerk not to have made an eyeball comparison of signatures on the voting rolls and those on the recall petition.

I'm confident that with a qualified, independent examiner, it could be done very quickly and probably for less than $5K. KFAQ says it stands for what's right, and I tend to agree. We should not be afraid of what qualified handwriting examination of the recall petition reveals. If most signatures are forgeries there would be a huge uproar. If there are sufficient genuine signatures then the recall will have to be fought and won on the merits. I myself would be willing to throw some money into a fund to employ a qualified document examiner independent from the city clerk. The city clerk should have no fear of the examination, and it should not take more than a couple days.

Someone else has noticed that on a couple of petition pages, more than one signature seems to have been signed by the same hand. For example lines 7 and 8 on this petition and lines 23 and 24 on this petition. Compare the way the last name is signed -- my guess is that in these cases one spouse signed for both.

The City would save far more than $5,000 if the petitions prove to be invalid, just in the cost of holding the special elections alone. It would also clear away the recall issue at a time when more pressing matters face city government -- passing the general obligation bond issue in April and preparing a budget for the next fiscal year.

Councilors, if you're serious about adhering to the charter, let's make sure the signatures meet the charter requirements.

The requirements of the Tulsa City Charter are plain as the nose on your face. From Article VII, Section 4, here is the duty of the City Clerk with regard to recall petitions:

Within twenty (20) days after the expiration of the time for filing supporting petitions, the City Clerk shall examine the filed supporting petitions and determine whether each petition and the signatures thereon comply with the requirements of this Article.

What are the requirements with regard to signatures in Article VII?

If the officer sought to be recalled was elected from an election district, supporting petitions to be sufficient must contain the signatures of qualified electors residing in the election district involved equal in number to twenty-five percent (25%) of all those voting in that election district for the affected office in the preceding general election.

The signature of each petitioner on the supporting petitions shall correspond with that appearing on the official voter registration books applicable to the city.

There are three requirements here involving a signature on a recall petition:

  1. The signature must be of a qualified elector.
  2. The signature must be of a qualified elector who resides in the election district. (Note that that doesn't say, "who is registered to vote in the election district." It must be someone who still lives in the district.)
  3. The signature shall correspond with that appearing on the official voter registration books applicable to the city.

So putting those two pieces together, the City Clerk has three things to verify. (1) The City Clerk must verify that each petition signature matches the signature on the voter registration card for the person whose name and address are printed on the petition. (2) The City Clerk must verify that the voter so identified is registered to vote in the district (a qualified elector). (3) The City Clerk must verify that the voter so identified actually resides in the district.

By his own admission, City Clerk Mike Kier has only performed one of the three verifications required by the City Charter.

Mayoral chief-of-staff Clay Bird's comments last night to the City Council about how things are done with state and county petitions are beside the point. Tulsa's recall process is created by our City Charter, and the City Charter places specific requirements on recall petition verification, and if they happen to be more stringent than the rules of other jurisdictions, that's the way it is.

Don't miss Tulsa Topics' excellent coverage of Bird's remarks. Bobby's entry has a link to video of the event -- and it sports a great headline.

Tomorrow morning I'll be back on 1170 KFAQ again with Gwen Freeman.

Between 6 and 7, State Senator Scott Pruitt will continue with KFAQ University -- the sixth in his series of lectures on American history and civics. If you want to catch up, the KFAQ website has MP3 audio and class notes for the first five lectures.

Later, we'll be talking about the pro-life legislation that passed the State House of Representatives last week, and Terri's Law, the Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act, now working its way through the U. S. Congress.

Be sure to tune in from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., or listen anytime online as the show repeats throughout the weekend.

Here are a couple of photos from this morning, during a break. Gwen and I:

Gwen Freeman and Michael Bates

Blogging in a spare moment:

(Thanks to Chip for taking the photos.)

MENDing broken hearts

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Mikki went to the annual banquet for MEND Pregnancy Resource Center this evening along with several friends. (I hated to miss it, but I had to attend the City Council meeting and then rehearse with Coventry Chorale for an upcoming evensong service.)

The speaker tonight was Valeska Littlefield, who has been leading the charge in Oklahoma for informed consent legislation -- to insure that women who are considering an abortion go into it understanding the developmental stage of their baby and the short-term and long-term medical risks. She is executive director of Pregnancy HopeLine, a 24-hour referral network for all area pregnancy resource centers, and Life Network of Green Country. That website provides information for women who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy situation. The hope is that by providing information and support to women in crisis, abortion will truly become rare.

Valeska told about getting an abortion as a young woman, not because she wanted to, but because her parents insisted. When her younger sister later became pregnant, but went to a crisis pregnancy center and decided to keep the baby, her parents kicked the sister out of the house and changed the locks. Valeska resented the fact that her sister didn't get an abortion, but also grew to hate and distrust women, because the woman who was supposed to protect her -- her own mom -- didn't. Mikki got choked up all over again relating this to me.

Some years later Valeska was invited by a friend to attend a fashion show. It was a benefit for MEND, and Valeska learned about the organization and joined a 12-week support class for post-abortive women. She went through the class three times in the process of grieving and healing. Valeska said she's thankful for all those who fight abortion for the sake of the unborn, but she's in the fight for the sake of the women who have been wounded by abortion.

Related resources:

Bye-bye, Dan

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Last night was Dan Rather's final broadcast of the CBS Evening News. One of the funniest tributes to Gunga-Dan is a song by the Evolution Control Committee called "Rocked by Rape," which is nothing more than samples of random words spoken by Rather on the newscast, set to a beat. It earned ECC a nasty cease-and-desist letter from CBS, but as a parody the song is clearly fair use. ECC is offering the song for free download, along with a couple of alternative versions. You can read the nastygram from CBS on the same page.

Time to sleep

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No time or energy to blog tonight. I'll be on the air again with Gwen Freeman on Tulsa's Talk Radio 1170 KFAQ from 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Central time. As always, you're encouraged to check out the blogrolls to the right on the home page. On my main blogroll, the most recently updated blogs are at the top.

Some links of note:

Hmm. Guess I blogged anyway.

Just got an e-mail from the office of Tulsa's congressman, John Sullivan. Rep. Sullivan is one of the co-sponsors of H.R. 1151, the Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act.

In the U. S. Senate, the same bill has been introduced by Florida Sen. Mel Martinez as S. 539. Half of the four co-sponsors are Oklahoma's senators, Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) are the other two sponsors.

Isn't it nice to be represented in Congress by men who know the right thing to do and will do it without needing to be pressured and prompted?

If you are not so blessed, get on the phones to your congressman and senators and urge them to support H.R. 1151 and S. 539 and to help move these bills along through the legislative process. Time is of the essence -- the court order that allows Terri Schiavo to be starved to death is still in force and will take effect in just 9 days.

Here is the Family Research Council's summary of the legislation, which is S. 539 in the Senate:

The right to counsel is a right even criminals enjoy, so why shouldn't Terri and others like her have that precious right? The bill, called "Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act" will not apply to circumstances where an advance medical directive is in effect. Terri never signed such a directive.

The Act simply provides a final avenue of review of the case to insure that a disabled person's Constitutional rights are protected. It is hard to believe that Terri's Constitutional rights have been protected by her husband and his attorney, euthanasia advocate George Felos. Terri's husband has refused to allow her to be represented by separate counsel. He has also refused to allow the rehabilitation therapy that some prominent experts say would help Terri to improve. He has often prohibited her own family and priest from visiting her.

And now the clock is ticking. A judge has ordered that Terri's husband can stop Terri from being fed on March 18. Euthanasia advocates say that she should be "allowed to die" - and FRC agrees. That time will come for one and all! But Terri should not be killed - and what else do you call starvation?

Last Saturday was Tulsa County Republican Convention and the election of party officers for the next two years, the culmination of a process that began over a month ago with precinct meetings in homes all over the county.

The same process for the Tulsa County Democratic Party begins this Thursday night, March 10, at 7:00 p.m. Elections will be held for chairman, vice chairman, and secretary for each precinct. The Democrats will have 20 regional meetings around the county, each of which will host several precinct meetings. As I understand it, these newly-elected precinct officials will then gather to elect a chairman and other county party officials.

If you're registered to vote as a Democrat, you can participate in the precinct elections. Visit the website of the Tulsa County Democratic Party, or phone party headquarters at 742-2457, to find out where your precinct election will be held. If you need to find out your precinct number, try the Tulsa County Election Board's precinct locator on the web, or call the election board at 596-5780.

Rob Johansen of Thrown Back reviews Judge Greer's latest rulings in the Terri Schiavo case, denying nearly everyone of her parents' requests, including the request that she be allowed to die at their home, instead of in a hospice and that she be allowed to receive her last communion by mouth. Greer has yet to rule whether Terri should be fed by mouth when the feeding tube is removed. Johansen shows that these rulings aren't about ending artificial life support but making absolutely sure that Terri ends up dead:

Judge Greer's rulings against the Schindlers on the matter of feeding by mouth and viaticum seem to me most indicative of his frame of mind: By precluding attempts, as a "last ditch" measure, to feed her by mouth, the Judge shows that his object is not merely to stop what he might argue (erroneously) is an "extraordinary" means of support, but to see to it that she dies. One might make an analogy to someone on a respirator: frequently respirators are removed from patients, but sometimes they continue to breathe on their own without support. It is as though a judge were to order not only that a respirator be removed, but that the patient's mouth and nose be sealed with duct tape, just to make sure he can't get any air by any means.

Charles G. Hill writes about the Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act, a bill in Congress that would extend habeas corpus protection to ensure that there is due process when there is a dispute about the wishes or interests of an incapacitated person regarding medical treatment. The constitutional basis of the bill is the Fourteenth Amendment: Under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, "No State ... shall deprive any person of life ... without due process of law...nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

You can help Terri and others in similar situations by writing your congressman and encouraging him to support this bill, H.R. 1151. Here's a link to help you contact your U. S. Representative and your U. S. Senators. And here's the press release from the bill's House sponsor, Dave Weldon (R-Florida).

I falafel about this

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News Hounds, a multi-author blog that watchdogs the Fox News Channel, has been hit with a cease-and-desist letter from Creators Syndicate, demanding removal for an "unauthorized link" to a column by Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.

I'm no fan of Bill O'Reilly, whose arrogance and smugness appear to be genuine (unlike Rush Limbaugh's braggadocio, which is just schtick). My opinion of News Corp. (parent company of Fox News Channel) and of one subsidiary in particular, has dropped significantly in recent weeks. On the other hand, I'm hardly a fan of MoveOn.org, the organization that brought the News Hounds together.

But my feelings about the parties involved and their politics don't matter. A link isn't any more a copyright violation than a footnote is. This is just another meritless legal threat intended to intimidate the critics of Big Media, and I'm glad to see that the News Hounds are sticking to their guns.

(Hat tip: Pennywit.)

Horne-a-rama, first and last

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I just came across an excellent retrospective of Kenneth Horne's two sketch comedy series, "Beyond Our Ken" and "Round the Horne." It's a three-hour program called "Horne of Plenty" and you'll find it on BBC 7's Saturday "listen again" page through this Friday. The program includes the very first and very last episodes of both programs in their entirety, plus details of the history of the shows.

If you ever want to grab a RealAudio program for later listening, there's an excellent utility program called Streambox VCR Suite 2, which you can find various places on the web.

Today's special meeting of the Tulsa City Council ended shortly after it began. I showed up about 2:20 to find the committee room packed. By my count there were over a hundred present -- two deep along the east wall, three deep along the north wall, and all along the other two walls. There were more out in the elevator landing. Many were holding "NO RECALL" bumper stickers and handmade signs. (I did not notice anyone protesting in support of recalling Councilors Mautino and Medlock.) While we were waiting for the councilors to come in, the crowd started some chants: "No recall!" "Verify the signatures!" It was a tremendous show of support.

This morning, at a Tulsa City Council committee meeting on the recall of Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock, City Clerk Mike Kier testified that he has not verified the signatures on the recall petitions against signatures in the Tulsa County Election Board registration records. Article 7, Section 3 of the City Charter states:

The signature of each petitioner on the supporting petitions shall correspond with that appearing on the official voter registration books applicable to the city.

Kier stated that he compared the names and addresses on the petitions with names and addresses in the Tulsa County voter registration database, but no comparison of signatures was performed. He stated that he is relying on the sworn statements of the circulator on each petition that the signatures have been verified. The circulators were either volunteers for or paid by Coalition for Responsible Government 2004 to collect signatures.

Both Councilor Roscoe Turner and Councilor Jack Henderson expressed reservations about the Council voting to affirm Kier's finding that the recall petitions are sufficient before the required verification of signatures has been performed. Non-Councilor Randy Sullivan, who does not even live in the district he purports to represent, spoke of the Council's duty to defer to the wishes of the citizens who live in Districts 2 and 6. Councilor Bill Christiansen also spoke of the Council's duty to set the election.

The Council committee room was packed with citizens in opposition to the recall, and there were outbursts of applause in response to statements by Councilors Henderson and Turner.

Affirmation of the City Clerk's findings of sufficiency and resolutions calling for recall elections on May 10 will be considered at a special Council meeting set for 2:30 p.m. in the Council committee room, 2nd floor, City Hall.

Here's a link to a map of the Civic Center, from the City Council website. City Hall is the 11-story building in the middle of the plaza, labeled 1 on the map. There's meter parking around the base of City Hall and a parking garage a block west.

The Council Committee meeting room is on the 2nd floor of City Hall.

If you're coming from the southeast, it's easiest to take the Broken Arrow Expressway (US 64, OK 51) into downtown, take the Houston exit, go north (right) on Houston, then east (right) on 3rd. You'll find an entrance to the parking garage on your right, and then just beyond that, an entrance to the surface parking area next to City Hall.

Here's Mapquest's map of City Hall's address (201 Civic Center Plaza). If you follow that link, there's a form beneath the map that allows you to get directions from where you are to City Hall.

The Council committee discussion of the recall petitions and elections will be part of the Urban and Economic Development committee meeting, which starts at 10:00 a.m. The special council meeting, when the Council will vote on the recall petitions and elections, begins at 2:30. For the special meeting in particular, aim to be there at 2, so you have time to find a parking spot and get into the Council committee room before the meeting officially begins at 2:30.

On the air again

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I'll be on KFAQ once again tomorrow morning, 5:30 to 9:00, joining Gwen Freeman in studio as Michael DelGiorno recuperates at home. (This morning he just couldn't stand not being in studio for the analysis of Mayor LaFortune's Tulsa County Republican Convention speech.) The special Council meeting on the recall election will be the main topic of the day, along with some of the other highlights of Saturday's Tulsa County Republican Convention. Tune in on 1170 AM, or listen online here.

Today was the 40th anniversary of the first broadcast of "Round the Horne," one of the most enduringly popular radio shows of all time. As you might guess, any popular radio show that had its premiere only 40 years ago is obviously not American. In the '60s, the BBC still produced high-quality original radio entertainment, and they still do today.

"Round the Horne" was a sketch comedy half-hour produced for the BBC Light Entertainment Programme (later BBC Radio 2). It starred Kenneth Horne and a crew of veteran West End actors who could do an unbelievable range of voices and accents. The writers for the first three series were Barry Took, who was instrumental in the creation of "Monty Python's Flying Circus," and Marty Feldman, whom you may know from "Young Frankenstein" and "Silent Movie."

I was first introduced to the show by several of my British co-workers. When I told one of them today about the 40th anniversary, he said, "I used to listen to those on Sunday afternoons when I was a kid. Suddenly I feel very old."

If you like "Monty Python's Flying Circus," if you enjoy clever word-play and double-entendre, you will love "Round the Horne." Trust me.

Time and distractions do not permit a thorough tribute, so I direct you to the BBC 7 website, where you can find a different episode of "Round the Horne" each week. You can listen live on Wednesdays at 8 am, noon and 7 pm London time, or you can go to the "Listen Again" page for Wednesdays to hear the most recently broadcast episode in RealAudio format.

UPDATE: Having now listened to the tribute show I mentioned in this space, I decided to take down the link. It's deadly to comedy to explain it, but it's even deadlier to explain it in a way that serves modern political correctness. You'll enjoy listening to repeats of the original broadcasts much more. If you want even more from the cast of "Round the Horne," listen to "Beyond our Ken," the series that preceded it. The writing isn't as brilliant, but it's still a very funny show. It's on BBC 7 on Sundays.

Now that the light's been turned on, the Cockroaches are trying to scamper under the counter.

The actual vote on whether to certify the recall petitions and call the election will take place at a special Tulsa City Council meeting at 2:30 p.m. in the Council Committee room 201, on the second floor of the City Hall tower. Non-councilor Chairman Randy Sullivan has moved the debate on those matters to a different meeting, making it as inconvenient as possible on any citizens who might wish to be in attendance. The issues will be discussed during the Urban and Economic Development Committee, which begins at 10:00 am in room 201.

The various Chamber hacks, developer's attorneys, and lobbyists will all be there, of course. Harassing elected officials on behalf of special interests is what they're paid to do. It's inconvenient for them to show up during a Council meeting in the evening, and Randy Randy seems to be only too happy to do their bidding, and only too happy to inconvenience the ordinary Tulsans who have to take off work and reschedule appointments to be in attendance.

Please do what you can to be in attendance for at least one of the two meetings, both if possible. Bring camcorders and audio recorders -- let's make sure we don't miss a word or a facial expression.

Randy's in a rush

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Council Chairman and non-Councilor Randy Sullivan has set a special meeting at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Council committee room to vote on certifying the recall petitions against Councilors Jim Mautino and Chris Medlock and scheduling the special elections for May 10. Wednesday is the absolute last day that an election could be scheduled for May 10. It appears that Sullivan is trying to ensure that there will be no TGOV TV coverage (the cameras are already committed to cover the Board of Adjustment meeting), to hold the meeting at an inconvenient time for citizens to come and express their objections, to hold the meeting in an inconvenient location, without enough room to accommodate citizens who object to the recall.

Why push for a May 10 election? Sullivan says it's to save money by holding it the same day as the District 5 election, but there would only be a cost advantage if there were a city-wide election on the same day. Whether the recalls occur on May 10 or at a later date, the city will still have to pay for poll workers for the two districts.

The real aim of rushing the recall is to dilute the efforts grass-roots campaigners and overwhelm them with piles and piles of cash. Instead of being able to concentrate on electing a reform candidate in District 5 and then working on defeating the two recalls, grass-roots workers will have to split their time and energy between three races, giving an advantage to the well-heeled special interests who are bankrolling the recall and who also have a candidate in District 5.

I have heard from people who have seen the petitions that many names were printed, not signed, do not match the signatures in the county election board's records, and in some cases several names appear to have been printed by the same hand. If true, the phony signatures ought to be disqualified.

Chris Medlock has more about Randy Sullivan's manuever on his site.

I urge you to plan to attend Tuesday's special meeting, and as many people as possible should bring camcorders and tape recorders to make sure nothing escapes public notice.

The highlight of the morning session was a 35 minute speech by Tulsa Mayor Bill LaFortune. It was a defense of his record as a reformer and a strong mayor. The recurring catchphrase was, "You should know the facts." Throughout LaFortune referred to himself in the third person as "your mayor." You can download audio of the whole speech from this page.

I'm sure we'll be going over the speech in detail on KFAQ Monday morning. The Mayor defended his trip to Israel, defended his record of action to clean up the airport, defended his appointments to boards dealing with land use (planning commission and Board of Adjustment), reaffirmed his opposition to recall, spoke about positive economic developments, talked up his reactivation of the Economic Development Commission, talked about plans for the river, and laid out the stats showing that Tulsa is on track to be at the ideal number of police officers in a year.

The Mayor said that recall gives the city a black eye, and went on to say that recall "will deter and halt progress worse than any statement or any vote by any city councilor." Someone told me that as he spoke those words, Councilor Susan Neal nodded her head in agreement. I will look forward to Councilor Neal's vote to put off the recall vote on Tuesday, and I will look forward to her public statement in opposition to recall. Councilor Neal stuck around long enough to be introduced with the other elected officials just before lunch, then she skedaddled. I'll give her credit -- Councilors Bill Christiansen and Randy Sullivan didn't even bother showing up.

The Mayor also announced that he will be appointing Mike Bernard, a Vice President of Oral Roberts University, to replace Joe Westervelt on the TMAPC. The Mayor said that Bernard was over the management of ORU's CityPlex Towers (the old City of Faith), which means that we have yet another planning commissioner who is professionally involved in real estate. Where's the balance?

I'll be putting up several posts about Saturday's Tulsa County Republican Convention -- you'll see "TCRC 2005" in the title. The convention meets every odd-numbered year to elect party officials and to approve a party platform. There is also a county convention in every presidential election year.

The usual order of business is to hear speeches from Republican officials in the morning then after lunch to elect party officers and vote on the platform.

The party officers elected for 2005-07 are

Chairman: Jerry Buchanan
Vice Chairman: Joy Pittman
State Committeeman: Michael Bates
State Committeewoman: Charlotte Harer
1st District Committeeman: Jeremy Bradford
1st District Committeewoman: Erin Patrick

The 1st District Committeeman race was the only contested race -- 2002 mayoral candidate Ray McCollum was the other candidate. It was clear that Jeremy Bradford, president of the Young Republicans chapter, had the support of a broader cross-section of party leaders.

Jerry and Joy are going to make a great team. Jerry took a leap into politics a little over a year ago when he decided to run in the special election for House District 67. He didn't win, but he ran an honorable race, and rather than sulk, he volunteered to help build the party organization. He will do a great job with the nuts and bolts of the party. He's also a man of principle, evidenced by his role as a lay leader of the Church of the Holy Spirit, an Episcopal parish at odds with the national church over the ordination of homosexuals. As a spokesman for the congregation, he's demonstrated firmness without vitriol.

Joy was a fellow delegate to the Republican National Convention and served on the RNC platform committee. She's also a heck of a dancer. (Shockwave required, click on DAY 3, then click on DELEGATE DANCE-OFF. That's Joy on the right as the video begins and ends.)

As I was unopposed, I was allowed to make a two-minute acceptance speech, in which I called the delegates' attention to three crucial elections coming in the next few months. (1) The City of Tulsa has a general obligation bond issue for basic infrastructure on the ballot in April, and it needs to pass. It's all about the basic duties of city government. (2) In order to hold on to the District 5 council seat, it's crucial for only one of the seven Republicans who have expressed interest in the seat to go ahead and file for the special election. The election has no primary and no runoff -- it's first-past-the-post. I urged the candidates and precinct leaders in the district to caucus and agree as to which of the seven should be the Republican standard-bearer. (3) We've got to defeat the recall attempts and keep Chris Medlock and Jim Mautino in office. It would be a violation of democratic principles if duly elected officials were replaced in midterm by the appointment of the candidates who lost the last election.

The six elected officials together form the Central Committee of the county party. It's a good team, and I'm proud to be part of it once again.

Chipping away

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I've been watching the TMAPC rebroadcast from last Wednesday. The hearing had to do with removing historic preservation (HP) zoning from a part of the Yorktown HP district in order to make way for parking for a new Arvest Bank.

The lesson to be learned from this and all other contentious zoning issues is that if you can afford to hire Charlie Norman to plead your case, you will get everything you want. Thus has it always been.

The neighbors are rightly concerned that once a few lots have been removed from the district, the precedent will be set for further exclusions. HP zoning was pursued by Yorktown homeowners in order to protect the value of their investment in these historic homes. By mutually agreeing to submit to additional restrictions affecting the exterior of their property, these homeowners were trading the extra expense of maintaining the historic appearance of their property for the guarantee that their neighbors would be doing the same. And certainly they could have some confidence that if the house across the street were to go away, it would be replaced by another house across the street in character with the neighborhood. That confidence was misplaced.

A lyric from Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys that cheered me more than once back in college....

I laugh when I think how I cried over you,
Cried over dreams that weren't meant to come true.
I smile 'cause I know that it's better this way,
And I've found someone else to love,
So go on your lonely way.

The only price I had to pay
Was the few tears that I shed,
And I found out that I need you
Like I need a hole in my head.

When I found out you lied,
Something real inside me died,
And I laugh when I think how I cried over you.

Bob Wills clips

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Here is a minute-long clip of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys playing "Ida Red." (That's Bob playing fiddle -- anyone know who the guitarist and vocalist were?)

You can watch the trailer of the documentary film "Faded Love". The clip includes reminiscences by fans who saw him play and remember it as if it were yesterday and by musicians who worked with him.

UPDATE (4/29/2006): That "Ida Red" clip is one of a series that were filmed in 1951 for television filler. Some were issued as "Snader Transcriptions." There's a bunch of these shorts included with the 100th Birthday Special Edition of "Still Swingin'", a DVD documentary about Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. The band was Joe Holley on fiddle (left-handed!), Cotton Whittington on standard guitar (another lefty!), Bobby Koefer on steel guitar (he still plays the same way 55 years later!), Joe Frank Ferguson on bass, Skeeter Elkin on piano, Paul McGhee on drums, and Joe Andrews doing the vocal. On a couple of the shorts, yodeler Carolina Cotton sings with Bob, and on one (Blue Prelude) Joe Ferguson sings and Joe Andrews plays bass.

Bob Wills blogging

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From the Sundries Shack:

Everyone here who has heard of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys raise your hands.

Good!

Now the rest of you go out and find one of Wills� CDs, listen to it, then come back here and tell the class just how cool Western Swing really is and how it�s physically impossible to feel bad when you�re listening to it.

From SFist, in response to Charles Barkley's complaint about country music in the NBA All-Star Game half-time program:

Now, we at SFist have always liked the Round Mound of Rebound, even when he balled all over the Warriors in the 1994 playoffs, but we were a little bummed out by his larger point: most popular country music sucks. It sucks because it's homogeneous. It's produced for an audience with geographic, racial and economic boundaries, and it (i.e. the music, but now that you mention it much of the audience, too) has little to no regard for what else goes on in music, culture, or really anything. And don't get us started on alt.country, which seems to abide by the following imperative more than anything else: As soon as you're famous or important, stop making records that are fun, or sound like they were fun to make.

If you agree with Sir Charles, too, if you long for boundary-crossing or brio or fun in country-western music, if you are as annoyed by the whole thing as SFist (we annoy pretty easily, so we're skeptical of that last), git along to San Francisco State University the next three Tuesdays (March first, eighth and fifteenth) to celebrate Bob Wills at 100. The inventor of "Western Swing," Bob Wills combined country music with Nawlins jazz, blues, ragtime and traditional Mexican music. He and his Texas Playboys came up with a style that swung just as hard playing "Basin Street Blues" and "Take the 'A' Train" as it did playing "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Hey, Good Lookin'." They came out of the small-groups jazz tradition that gave us Louis Armstrong's greatest work, with the Hot Fives and Sevens, and their bandstand improvisation foreshadowed groups like the JBs and the Meters.

Here's a link to that San Francisco State program on Bob Wills. Anything like that happening here in Tulsa?

The Hypothetical Wren wonders about the lyrics of "Roly Poly":

I was listening to this song on the iPod while I was walking home this morning, and thought, how many songs these days would include the phrase "Daddy's little fatty" in them? As a compliment? Of course, this kid was obviously walking and doing strenuous yard work, so the "bread and jelly 20 times a day" were probably a good idea: the kid was tired. He needed bread, not to mention "corn and taters."

And finally, here's a little something I wrote last November, which includes a little reminiscence from my grandfather. (Grandpa told me once that he didn't dance much at those performances -- he preferred cuddling in a dark corner.)

Sciolist of the Rough Woodsman reports that NBC's Dateline tonight (6 p.m. Central Time) is a two-hour report on televangelist Benny Hinn. The good news is that Michael Horton of the White Horse Inn -- a radio program on theology and apologetics from a Reformation perspective -- was interviewed for the show, and that means there will be some solid Biblically-based perspective on Hinn's practices.

Michael Horton has written some excellent books on Reformation theology and on modern Christian culture examined through a Reformation lens. Unlike many theological works, Horton's books are clearly written and accessible to any intelligent reader. A couple of his books that I've read and enjoyed: Putting Amazing Back into Grace -- the Bible's God-centered view of salvation and the Christian life, and how that differs from the Catholic view and the understanding held by many evangelical believers -- and The Agony of Deceit, an anthology of essays about the heretical roots of many of the teachings of televangelists.

Here is a link to the White Horse Inn's page of resources on televangelism. I can't speak highly enough of the White Horse Inn and Modern Reformation magazine -- lively, high-quality efforts to apply the insights of the Reformation to the situation of modern culture and today's church.

Side-kickin it

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Tomorrow morning on Talk Radio 1170 KFAQ, Gwen Freeman will be filling in for Michael DelGiorno, and I'll be sitting in as sidekick for the whole morning. The show goes from 5:30 am to 9:00 am. You can listen online and hear the show live, or as it repeats over the next 24 hours.

(The first time you click on the "Listen Online" button, you'll be directed to download SurferNetwork player which you'll need to listen online.)

On deck

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Well, late last night I wrote you a quick summary of yesterday's Tulsa County Republican convention, but either Movable Type or I had a malfunction, and it's gone, gone, lost and gone. I'll be occupied until this evening with church and family matters. Tune in this evening for my notes from speeches by Congressman John Sullivan, Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin, and Mayor Bill LaFortune. I'll tell you about the newly elected party officials and about the platform we approved, which includes some strong statements on local issues. I'll also catch you up on the recall and other Tulsa news.

Happy 100th, Bob

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We miss you, Bob, more and more every day.


This is a slight revision of an entry that appeared a year ago. It will stay at the top of the home page through Saturday night -- scroll down for more new entries.

Please read this, read the earlier articles linked below, and please pray for the Litle family and the families of the other victims through this season of remembrance. And pray for real, lasting peace in Israel.

abigaillitle.jpg
Saturday is the second anniversary of a suicide bombing of a city bus in Haifa, Israel, which took the life of 16 innocent people, including Abigail Litle, the 14-year-old daughter of Philip and Heidi Litle, college friends of mine. In memory of her, I invite you to read an article I wrote shortly after the bombing, and an article by her dad, written a month after the attack, about Abigail's triumphant faith in Jesus.

Remembering Abigail, a victim of hate

Remembering Abigail, a victor in faith

In a letter to friends and family just before the first anniversary, Phil told us how Abigail's school planned to remember her and a classmate who died in the attack:

The Christ Presbyterian Church Missions Conference concludes tomorrow. Two of our missionaries will be speaking to the combined adult Sunday School classes. Bob Mulloy is with Tulsa-based Literacy and Evangelism International, assigned to Mindanao in the Philippines. Bob's next assignment is to develop a written language for an ethnic group that is known for piracy and which follows a blend of Islam and animism. This group has about a dozen Christians in a population of over 100,000. The other missionary speaker, Doug Shepherd Jr., will be headed back to Ukraine later this year with his Ukrainian bride Masha and their first child (once first child arrives). The Shepherds will be planting Presbyterian churches for Mission to the World. Doug will also be preaching during morning worship. (For what it's worth, I'll be filling in as worship leader.)

Bob, Doug, and Masha spoke at Friday night's missions banquet. The content was very interesting -- I hope to write about what Doug and Masha said about the gap between the program-oriented approach American mission organizations take to ministry and the things that really had an effect on the lives of Ukrainians.

For now, I'll just mention the food. A good missions conference should introduce you to some unfamiliar customs, words, and sounds, and, if possible, strange food. Friday night's buffet line featured styrofoam cups of hot purplish-red stuff with a dollop of something white and creamy. Hot cherry jello with whipped cream? was the question in the mind of the man who once, in a cafe in Wales, put a spoonful of mushy peas in his mouth expecting to taste guacamole.

It was borscht, of course, and it was good, but then I like beets. The whole meal was Ukrainian. The main course was chicken pilaf, which we were told was really an Uzbek dish that has been adopted by Ukrainians.

Dessert was a cake of many colors, textures, and flavors -- green icing and white cream and chocolate cake and some light brown crumbly stuff (nuts?) and red cherry filling in layers. Apparently you can't get a cake like this in Tulsa, so someone brought it from the Kiev Bakery in Brooklyn, New York. The cake box had a checkmark next to the word крещатик, and I'm told the cake is also known as Kiev torte. I don't know if our cake had a fancy design on the outside -- it was already cut when I got some -- but that page about Kiev torte is a great description of the texture and flavor. I suspect this is the same kind of cake I tasted (and later blogged enthusiastically about) at an event in New York last August.

You hear about homesick folks who have favorite foods from home shipped to where they are -- wings from Buffalo, deep-dish pizza from Chicago, ribs from Texas. I was impressed that someone would think to have this cake shipped in, not to satisfy his or her own yearning for familiar flavors, but to go beyond sight and sound to use another of the senses to connect our congregation with Ukraine, a nation where we've been investing our prayers, our finances, and our people for over the last 10 years.

I found a treasure trove of photos of homes and interiors in the Lortondale neighborhood, a subdivision of mid-century modern homes near 26th & Yale in Tulsa. The collection also has some great neon photos, including what's left of the Mayo Meadow sign and the Sheridan Lanes sign.

The home interior photos show that the neighborhood is attracting the interest of fans of mid-century architecture, who are decorating the interior in the same spirit.

Dolly duz detergent

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Found, in the midst of a short story, while looking for something else. This brings back memories of Saturday afternoons -- the show was one in a series of half-hour syndicated country music shows on KOTV every Saturday afternoon, a lineup that concluded with Hee Haw at 6 p.m.

Houston's favorite TV program was a country and western music review called The Porter Wagoner Show, on Saturday evening. At the appointed hour Mark and I were expected to plop ourselves in front of the TV, lips buttoned. Houston didn't like any noise during Porter Wagoner.

Porter, a Grand Old Opry star, sported a blonde pompadour and custom-designed white suits adorned with giant sequined wagon wheels, horseshoes, and cacti. His singing partner and sidekick, Dolly Parton, was then just a Tennessee mountain girl with a beautiful voice. I thought they looked good together during their duets because they both had bouffant hairdos. (Some time later I found out they actually made a point of dying their hair the same shade of white-blonde.)

Dolly did the Duz detergent commercials, the laundry soap with the free wash cloth in every box. She'd open a package, unfurl a towel, and exclaim, "Looky here, Porter!" This always sent Mark and me into fits of giggles, but Mom shot us dirty looks, so we covered our mouths with our hands.

Each week Dolly performed a spotlight solo, such as her song about being a poor country girl reduced to wearing a coat of many colors, a cloak of rags that her mother had stitched together from scraps. These selections made Houston sentimental. He'd sit there with Rand on his lap, wiping at his wet eyes.

There's some dispute over whether the towels were in boxes of Duz or in boxes of Breeze.

Summer at age 8 -- 1972

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This week's assignment is "You're eight and it's a typical summer's day. Discuss."

Mom, Kay (age 5), and I would all be at home, and Dad would be at work downtown in the new Cities Service Building. Mom was a school teacher, so she was off for the summer, too.

I had just finished third grade, my first year at Holland Hall. I lived in Rolling Hills, just outside the Tulsa city limits and across the Wagoner County line. All of my school friends lived in "Tulsa Proper" -- at least 10 miles away. I don't recall if I saw any of my school friends at all that summer.

On a typical day, I'd be watching game shows on TV. Concentration. (I had the home game.) Password. Truth or Consequences. Three on a Match. Hollywood Squares. To Tell the Truth. Split Second. Let's Make a Deal. You could watch TV all day and never lay eyes on a soap opera.

Swinging on a scar

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This topic isn't on my usual beat, but I have to give credit to a local TV station for handling it with a degree of maturity and depth. It got me thinking about why people would do such a thing, and that got me thinking about the nature of genuine intimacy.

It's not even a ratings period, as far as I know -- maybe February sweeps extends a few days into March? -- but KTUL, Tulsa's ABC affiliate, did a story about "swinging" couples earlier this week. What was notable -- and commendable -- about the story was that, after a bit of obligatory luridness, they spoke to a Christian counselor about the effect of this form of adultery on relationships and emotions:

Naughtie but nice

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File this under "Oh, what a giveaway":

THE BBC’s reputation for fair and balanced reporting was at risk last night after top broadcaster James Naughtie blurted out his pro-Labour sympathies.

In a live chat with ex-Treasury chief Ed Balls — weeks before the May 5 election — he asked: “If WE win the election, does Gordon Brown remain Chancellor?”

He struggled to recover, saying: “If YOU win the election.”

The blunder came on Radio 4’s flagship Today programme. Mr Naughtie has frequently given Conservatives a rough ride in interviews while apparently giving Labour frontmen an easy time.

The veteran anchorman is author of a biography of Gordon Brown and is close to Tony Blair and other Cabinet ministers.

But he surprised his own colleagues yesterday by blurting out his true colours on prime time radio.

I find blatant bias rather refreshing, much nicer than bias concealed beneath a veneer of objectivity. Go ahead, James, purge yourself. Let it all out. We'll all feel much better.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin.

E-mail estate planning

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Ron Coleman calls attention to an aspect of setting one's affairs in order you may not have considered -- what happens to your e-mail account when you die? The parents of a Marine who was killed in Iraq are seeking access to his Yahoo! Mail account. Yahoo! is sticking with its terms of service, under which an e-mail account is closed down and wiped after 120 days of inactivity. Yahoo! terms of service specify that there is no right of survivorship in e-mail. Yahoo! may terminate an account and delete its contents upon notification of the account owner's death.

I feel for the parents, and I can understand why they want access to their son's e-mail -- it's something more of him that they can hold onto. I'm sure they'd also like to let all of his e-mail pals know what happened to him. Ron Coleman suggests that they might be able to seek a court order if there were a "specific compelling reason" for them to need access, and even then someone with no connection to the family should be given the job of sifting through and finding the relevant information.

Were I putting myself in harm's way and wanted someone to have access to my e-mail in the event of my death, I'd put the password in a sealed envelope and file it with my will. And I probably should provide a relative or trusted friend with a regularly updated list of people, to be notified upon my demise, along with their addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses.

Perhaps the parents could ask the court to access the account and send a message to every address found in the account: John was killed in Iraq. You can contact his parents at this address. They would appreciate any memories of John that you could share with them. If you have e-mails from him about his time in Iraq and feel comfortable sharing them with his parents, they would be very appreciative.

I think that would meet the parents' concerns without violating the Marine's privacy.

A number of readers have contacted me over the last few days with questions about the City Council's investigation of the Tulsa Airport Authority (TAA) and the Tulsa Airport Improvements Trust (TAIT). These are questions that should have been answered a long time ago, but for some reason the Council's investigator, Wilson Busby, failed to produce answers for the committee. Key documents that ought to exist haven't yet surfaced. Even if there were no concerns about Busby's connections with pro-recall political consultant Jim Burdge and Councilor (and alleged beneficiary of allegedly discriminatory decisions by the TAA) Bill Christiansen, there would still be a question of his competence, given the lack of tangible progress.

Here are some of the questions that need answering and soon:

Word dissociation

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I have one very spam-ridden e-mail account. I've had the address for over a decade, and it must be in every spam database in the world. About a year ago, I started getting spam that matched a certain pattern.

  • The name in the from line always had a first name, middle initial, and last name.
  • The first and last names appeared to be random words out of the dictionary.
  • The body of the message was usually in Russian, but sometimes in English.
  • The message always seemed to originate from a PC connected to broadband Internet service, no doubt infected with a trojan horse mail relay program.

As evil as it is to write and disseminate a trojan horse, I give these crooks credit for an algorithm that combines random words to generate names that more often than not bring a chuckle.

I wrote about this phenomenon a while back:

The names in the From line are wonderful -- Stying K. Purgative, Mustered O. Behemoths, Headwaters I. Evidence, Circularizing T. Integers, Disassemble H. Imps, Rallies Q. Stratification, Accretions G. Recital -- they are obviously not names, but they have the rhythm of names, reminiscent of the sort that Barry Took and Marty Feldman cooked up for sketches on "Round the Horne", like Isambard Mousehabit and J. Peasemould Gruntfuttock. (Or the Li'l' Abner character, Jubilation T. Cornpone.) So we know the spambot writer is evil, but has a sense of humor.

Below are some genuine examples of these spam names, followed by whatever popped into my head when I read each. Feel free to play along in the comments.

Pauperized A. Classicists

Why I double-majored in computer science.

Vivified E. Washtub

What happened the next time the Sorcerer's Apprentice put on the hat.

Antislavery H. Sarsaparillas

The "Ben and Jerry's Rainforest Crunch" of the 1850s.

Yosemite F. Faun

From the Looney Tunes production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Horseman H. Screaming

"Saddlehorn!! Saddlehorn!!"

Lynching A. Ogles

"What do you mean, 'It is too a crime to look?'"

BlogAds survey

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Blogads, the site that handles advertising for BatesLine and countless other blogs, is doing its annual blog readers survey. It's a chance for bloggers and blog advertisers to learn more about their audience. The survey is 18 short questions and it should take you about four minutes to complete. If you participate, please be sure to use "batesline.com" for the answer to question 16. Thanks.

To participate, click here.

This week's Oklahoma Gazette -- Oklahoma City's alternative weekly -- has a story by Deborah Benjamin about the Tulsa World's legal threats against BatesLine.

For the story, Benjamin spoke to me and to my attorney, Ron Coleman, the general counsel of the Media Bloggers Association.

The story contains the first public comment from an attorney representing the World, Schaad Titus. Titus doesn't address the issue of excerpting (which is what I do) at all, but merely states that it's necessary for those who post articles in full to seek permission first.

Titus explained how, in his opinion, a hyperlink can be a copyright infringement:

He added that direct hyperlinks, which don’t outright copy content but refer to an HTML page where it can be found, also act as a copyright infringement because they “avoid the pay provisions of the Tulsa World’s Web site.” If such links prompted the reader to pay before viewing the content, then the hyperlinks would be acceptable, Titus added.

Note that this differs from the World's earlier assertion: The letter from World VP John Bair said that any link to their content without written permission constituted copyright infringement.

I can't see how a hyperlink can "avoid the pay provisions" of any website. If someone sends me a link to a page on the web, and I can view that page without logging in or being asked for payment, what "pay provisions" were avoided? And how is it avoiding "pay provisions" to pass on that same link to others? If you put something on the World Wide Web and want people to have to pay in order to see it, it's up to you to install the necessary screens. It's a bit like putting elaborate Christmas lights on the outside of your house -- if you put it out there for everyone to see, you hardly have a right to complain when people give directions to your house.

Ron Coleman points out that newspapers could prohibit their registered subscribers from deep-linking as part of the "click-wrap" user agreement. Of course, such an agreement wouldn't be binding on non-subscribers.

I like Ron's comment on how the World is handling this:

“They’re so heavy-handedly telling him, ‘You have no First Amendment rights as regard the Tulsa World: You can’t link to us; you can’t excerpt from us.’ And that’s just not true,” Coleman said. “... It’s just such an incredible emblem of the thick-headedness of old-media monopolies and their own inability to react rationally to a new-media landscape.”

Last October, Deborah Benjamin wrote a Gazette story about blogs as media watchdogs, speaking to me, Charles G. Hill of Dustbury, Mike from OkieDoke, and Alfalfa Bill. That story and this latest piece demonstrate that she understands blogs and their relationship to traditional media. I'm glad at least one newspaper in the state gets it.

Best eats in Tulsa?

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While I'm always happy to have your comments here on BatesLine, if you want to be part of a more interactive conversation about all things Tulsa, visit the TulsaNow Forums.

One of the forums has several active mouthwatering topics about eats in Tulsa:

There's a whole world of great food beyond the chain restaurants on 71st Street. Stop by those topics, contribute your own favorites, and learn about some places you haven't tried yet.

Euthanasia? Not exactly

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A commenter on an earlier entry wrote:

I'm afraid it's too late for Terri Shiavo [sic] for a more political campaign. It should be a lesson to all of us; If you state your wishes for euthanasia, get it in writing.

So the claim here is that Terri Schiavo stated a wish to be euthanized if confronted with the kinds of disabilities she now suffers, and that there would be no controversy if only she had committed her wish to writing.

Assuming that's true, for the sake of argument, is euthanasia what Judge Greer has ordered for Terri in just over two weeks' time?

Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock has posted the list of names of those voters who signed the petition to have him recalled from office. The list is a matter of public record, only now it is easily accessible to the public. Chris has some comments and analysis about the list, pointing out that less than 3% of the registered voters in the district signed the petition. As I noted earlier, less than 10% of those people who bothered to vote the last time Chris's name was on the ballot signed the petition to have him recalled. I'll let you know when and if the list of signers for the petition against Councilor Jim Mautino is made available.

UPDATE: Chris Medlock has posted his account of the story that appeared in the Saturday World.

I can't remember if I've used this analogy on this blog, or perhaps just in other forums, but I've observed that the Tulsa World sometimes operates like a volleyball team, with the newsroom providing the "set" with a well-slanted news story, providing the editorial board just what they need for the "spike" -- the "facts" required to "prove" whatever point the editorial board is trying to make.

A week or so ago Councilor Chris Medlock made an offhand comment, during an off-the-record conversation with a Tulsa World reporter. He mentioned that a high-ranking city official came to him to relay an offer -- support granting an easement over city land for the proposed private toll bridge across the Arkansas River and the recall would be called off. Someone decided to turn the offhand, off-the-record comment into a news story.

More local blogging

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Scott Sala of SlantPoint calls attention to a Roanoke, Virginia, blog which is all about bias in the local newspaper. Entries in the Roanoke Slant features the date and page citation, a brief summary, and the author's comments. It's interesting that the author never quotes directly from the paper, never mentions the paper by name, and never links to the newspaper's articles. You don't suppose he got a cease-and-desist letter, too?

In his comments, Scott points out that he's shifted to more of a local focus:

I think niche blogs will prevail as the hierarchy of general blogging hits a ceiling. As many readers may have noticed, I have turned away from exclusive national and international new towards those plus local NYC issues. I care about it, know about it and am here. I also see an opportunity and somewhat of a void in NYC. Nationally, I'm not that big of a fish. Here, well, I hope to be.

Scott has been all over Thomas Ognibene's Republican primary challenge to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- attending rallies and speeches and providing excellent first-hand coverage (two examples here and here.)

Maps and gender in Narnia

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From the headlines to tonight's bedtime reading:

"That's the worst of girls," said Edmund to Peter and the Dwarf. "They never carry a map in their heads."

"That's because our heads have something inside them," said Lucy.


-- from Chapter 9 of Prince Caspian, by C. S. Lewis

(Hat tip to Captain's Quarters for the link to the CNN story above.)

As one of over 200 bloggers writing to support Terri Schiavo's right to receive food and water, despite her physical handicaps, I appreciate the hard work of the organizers of Blogs for Terri. I admire their efforts to think outside the box -- to find some creative way to break through the fog of mainstream media misconceptions about Terri's condition, to help Floridians understand what is really going on, so that they can apply pressure on all branches of Florida government to see that justice is done. What I'm about to say is offered in the spirit of constructive criticism.


I was pleased to see the effort to place a newspaper ad in the St. Petersburg Times, the daily paper in Pinellas County, where Terri is being warehoused by her husband. The purpose of the ad was to put out the truth about Terri and direct readers to online resources where they could get the details. I was pleased to see that the fundraising effort succeeded. I was disappointed to hear of the Times' threats to censor the ad, but happy to learn that the Tampa Tribune agreed to run it as is.

But when I saw the ad, my heart sank. As I thought about it, I started to think about the problem in a different way, which pointed to an entirely different approach.

Dan Paden, on the badly misnamed No Blog of Significance, has posted notes from the latest lesson from the Sunday School class he teaches at Sheridan Road Baptist Church here in Tulsa: "Can God Fix This?" The lesson focuses on Hosea 14 and is a follow-up to last week's lesson, "Does God Want Me Back?"

Having plenty of blown opportunities and damaged relationships to my credit (or debit, I should say), this lesson piqued my interest. From the introduction:

Maybe you've broken things in your life that don't seem so easy to fix. Maybe you've broken hearts; maybe you've wrecked your financial future; maybe you've wrecked your health, or maybe destroyed your witness. Maybe you've broken things that can't be fixed with a little rubber hose. Is there any hope at all that your mess can be cleaned up?

You'll have to read the whole thing to find the answer.

Dan also has a post about Calvinists and Arminians, asking if anyone really takes credit for his own salvation. He discovers that J. I. Packer made the same point in his book Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, a book I recently re-read. In the same post, he mentions that he has discovered a used bookshop with "a remarkable number of theological books," a shop he does not name. Dan (as if I didn't already have enough books, but anyway), I charge you to tell us where to find this treasure trove!

UPDATE: In the comments, Dan says it's the bookstore next to the dollar theater in the Fontana Shopping Center. That's Quicksilver Books, at the northwest corner of Fontana Shopping Center, off of 49th Street west of Memorial Drive.

Commenter Jeff Shaw makes an excellent point about Mayor Bill LaFortune's accusation that the Tulsa Commerce and Legal News is responsible for the failure to publish notice of the charter amendment election and thus for the removal of the charter amendment from the April ballot:

I would look for an denial from the publisher they made a mistake. It is my view and experience that these type of accidents don't happen on the publication end of things. Legal publications are very very important with regard to due process of law, and they take it very seriously. It's tantamount to malpractice.

If a newspaper fails to run a legal notice as required, public hearings and court proceedings have to be delayed, at a cost to the people and the government body involved. A newspaper that specializes in legal notices would have all sorts of safeguards in place to avoid exposing the paper to liability for failure to publish.

If it is the newspaper's fault, the City should be able to sue for the $100,000 it will cost to hold a separate special election for the charter amendment. The newspaper may even have "errors and omissions" insurance to cover the situation. The charter amendment represents a promise made to the property owners of this city, to restore this protection at the earliest possible opportunity. If the Mayor is serious about keeping his promise to the citizens, he'll pursue damages. Otherwise, we'll have to assume he's more interested in keeping the promises he made behind closed doors to the developers' lobbyists.

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