May 2007 Archives

As I mentioned in my initial Tulsa 1957 post, I wanted to be able to create maps showing where things were back then. I finally figured out a relatively easy way to do it, using Google Earth, and I found a number of online tools to minimize the amount of development work I would need to do.

My first exercise was to create a KML file showing all of the more than 400 restaurants listed in the classified section of the 1957 Polk Directory of Tulsa. The usual GIGO warning applies. If the Polk Directory was wrong, the file will be wrong.

I would like to add, but have not yet added, non-duplicate entries from the Southwestern Bell Yellow Pages. I'm limited there because a quarter of a page from the "Cafes" section of the 1957 phone book was torn out.

Google Earth makes it possible to include all sorts of information in a map -- with enough time and energy, you could include images of newspaper and phone book ads and building photos.

To build the file I used Excel to enter name and address, then used an online tool called BatchGeocode to convert each address to a latitude and longitude and to create a KML file, which Google Earth can read. I had to do a bit of tweaking to get the icons I wanted, and the Geocoder had trouble with some addresses that no longer exist (e.g., the 100 block of South Main, the 500 block of East Brady and East Cameron). (I pre-modified Sapulpa Rd and Sand Springs Rd addresses to the modern day names of Southwest Blvd and Charles Page Blvd.) For some reason, Pennington's Drive-In wound up in the south Atlantic Ocean, but I fixed it.

Google Maps can load and display small KML files, but not a KML file with 400 entries. So you'll need to have Google Earth installed on your PC to get the full effect. In Google Earth, you'll be able to hover over an icon to see the name, and click on it to see the address. Here again is the link to the KML file of Tulsa's restaurants in 1957 which you can download and use in Google Earth.

For those without, and until I can figure a dynamic way to display the map online, I've provided some screenshots from Google Earth below the fold. One is zoomed out to show the location of all restaurants in the city, the other is zoomed in to provide more detail between Pine and 36th, Union and Harvard.

A cool idea for future implementation: Google Earth is able to display a fourth-dimension -- time. If you could compile the restaurant listings for each year, you'd be able to move the time slider back and forth and watch as one restaurant replaces another, and as restaurants move out toward the suburbs. What an amazing way that would be to visualize the development and undevelopment of the city over time.

Speaking of undevelopment, notice some of the clusters of restaurants. There are eateries on nearly every block downtown, and there's a linear cluster extending north of the expressway -- that's Greenwood -- the Black Wall Street of America. There's a cluster along Quanah / Southwest Blvd in west Tulsa (another urban renewal removal). Sheridan Road was the key commercial link between the airport and the rest of the city.

I hope to post more KML files in the future, covering places like drug stores, groceries, churches, beer joints, bowling alleys, and movie theaters. It would speed up the process if some of my readers were willing to help transcribe phone book entries. I'm not quite set up to accept help, but in the not too distant future, I will be able to send you an image of a page from the Polk Directory and a template Excel spreadsheet for you to fill in. Let me know if you'd be willing to help in that way by e-mailing me at blog at batesline dot com.

And as always, if seeing the name of an obscure restaurant stirs some memories, drop me a line and tell me about it.

Pictures after the jump:

Just a programming note: Because of the holiday and because of transporting my son downtown for the Tulsa Boy Singers appearance on KOTV Tuesday morning, my weekly conversation with Gwen Freeman and Chris Medlock was postponed until Wednesday morning. I'll be on at 7:40, and there will be all sorts of local issues to discuss, including the Council's vote on immigration policy and the failure to land the Big 12 basketball tournament until 2013 at the earliest.

Remember the living as well as the dead, writes Paul Greenberg:

There is nothing we can do for the dead now, but there is much we can do for the living. We can ask where they are, and how they fare, and see that they, and their families, are cared for. And when they are stacked in hospitals like so much cordwood, put out of sight like something indecent, we can demand more than a few showy dismissals of those who were supposed to be in charge.

We can ask, we can demand to know, what is being done for them and theirs. Now. For people do not live in some abstract realm - like the past or in politicians' speeches or on the television screen - but in the here and very now. In waiting rooms. In hospital wards. In veterans' homes.

Let this be a memorial day for the living, too. And let us live it, too. For today is also a day for family picnics and block parties, for good times as well as solemn rituals, a day to make the most of.

Today's mix of joy and sorrow, the quick and the dead, the grief and pride - it is all as it should be. Life is to be celebrated even as we remember the dead.

It is a day for laughter. Laughter is a better memorial than tears. It is the ordinary sounds - of children at play, of families uniting, of old stories retold - that are the best memorial. For it is the ordinary joys of freedom, not the grandiloquent ideals, that generations sacrificed to assure. So that Americans can walk the way we do - openly, freely, unafraid, even blessedly unaware. So that we can look one another in the eye and say what we think. So that any man can look his boss in the eye and tell him to go to hell. And any woman do the same. So we can strike roots where we are or light out for the territories. For this is a big country, and all of it is still the land of opportunity. This is the land where freedom grows. This is its native soil, its natural habitat. It thrives here. But not, as this day reminds, without sacrifice.

A guest appearance by Bob Wills and his fiddle on the country & western showcase "Star Route." Glen Campbell handles the vocals and plays the banjo on the song "Take Me Back to Tulsa."

Listen closely during the first chorus, and you'll hear Bob call, "Circle eight, spread out wide, grab your partner, go hog wild! Sooey!"

The date on the YouTube summary says 1956, but something tells me this is closer to '64 or '65.

This one's even better: Glen and Bob on "San Antonio Rose." There's an extended closeup of Bob playing fiddle. The director doesn't seem quite sure what to do with Bob's hollers. Most of them occur off camera, but he gets one in while they're still in a two-shot and is rearing back for another when the director cuts back to Glen. There's a hilarious look on Bob's face when they catch him hollering on camera, a sort of "maybe I hadn't of oughta done that" expression. And on the next verse, Glen goes up on the lyrics.

The intro says that "San Antonio Rose" "comes as close as any to being the theme song of history's greatest war" and says that over 14 million copies had been sold.

These videos illustrate the shift in focus from the band to the singer. In the Big Band era the singer was a part of the band. (Sinatra started to change that equation.) By the time this TV show was taped, the band was mere backup, and there's certainly no place on screen for a band leader who might distract from the singer with the pretty teeth and hair.

Here's a video I've posted before which highlights the band members as well as the singer: It's Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys from 1946 performing "Goodbye Liza Jane," with Tommy Duncan and the McKinney Sisters singing, and solos by Joe Holley and Louis Tierney on fiddle, Millard Kelso on piano, and the great Junior Barnard on guitar.

UPDATE 2010/03/06: In the comments, some information from an Australian reader regarding this episode of "Star Route":

The clips are from the 1964 Star Route episode "A Salute To Bob Wills" .. the guitarist is Bobby Durham from the Gene Davis Band, who were the Hollywood house band. I say Hollywood as the series was partially filmed in Toronto with a Canadian band.

The regulars, no matter which city it was filmed, were bandleader Gene Davis, featured regulars, Glen Campbell, the Collins Kids, and host Rod Cameron. It was either the Jack Halloran Singers or the Star Route Singers who sang backgrounds on various episodes.

Alas, the videos I posted have been pulled down from YouTube by the user. (Hate it when that happens.)

UPDATE 2013/08/12: The San Antonio Rose video has been reposted! (Still looking for Glen and Bob on "Take Me Back to Tulsa.")


The Tulsa Boy Singers will be on KOTV channel 6 tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 7:50 a.m. to perform some music from their upcoming spring concert.

This coming Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m., the Tulsa Boy Singers will present their spring concert of sacred choral music at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th and Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa. The concert is entitled "Journey through the Ages." The concert will feature many different styles of music including English Choral Music, spirituals, and contemporary hymn settings. Admission is free, and there will be refreshments following the concert. (Donations would be gratefully received and will help defray the costs of the choir's upcoming performance tour of Great Britain, TBS's first international tour in many years.)

Tulsa Boy Singers will also be performing at OK Mozart in Bartlesville on June 15.

TBS has a long and illustrious 59-year history and hundreds of Tulsans have benefited from the education they received in both music and character.

If you are an alumnus, TBS would like to keep in touch with you, to keep you aware of TBS's upcoming concerts and activities. If you're the parent of a boy age 8 and up with an interest in singing, TBS is always looking for new singers, and there will be an opportunity to go through a brief audition following this week's concerts. To contact TBS, e-mail

UPDATE: Click here to watch the video of the Tulsa Boy Singers on KOTV. Leanne Taylor interviews director Casey Cantwell about the group, and the boys sing an arrangement of "Nearer My God to Thee."


Thanks to a helpful reader, I managed to find a cached version of the crime position paper that had been on Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor's campaign website prior to the 2006 election. Just in case it vanishes from there, I've posted the whole thing below, in the extended entry. It would be interesting to know from police officers and other insiders how many of these proposals have been put into motion.

I can still find no sign of Taylor's campaign commercials. If you happened to capture any of them, please contact me at blog at batesline dot com.

UPDATE 2006/05/28 10:30 pm: A reader with inside knowledge of Tulsa Police Department operations e-mailed his point-by-point review of Taylor's plan -- what's been implemented and what hasn't. For ease of comparison, I've added his review below each point.

Also (hat tip to MeeCiteeWurkor), the FOP local has a page devoted to tracking Taylor's campaign promises regarding crime. I'll include their evaluation as of today below each section.

The situation with the cameras ought to be easy and inexpensive to remedy. A simple digital camera ought to be standard equipment in every squad car.

Erick Stakelbeck's latest report on Hot Air is an interview with Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Jasser, a cardiologist living in the Phoenix area, was born in Wisconsin and served 11 years as a Navy medical officer. He believes faithful Muslims are freer to practice their faith in America than in any other country on earth and that Islam is not incompatible with American notions of liberty.

In his interview with Stakelbeck, Jasser discusses the "flying imams" and their lawsuit against the "John Does" -- the passengers who alerted the crew to the strange behavior of the Muslim clerics. Jasser's organization is helping to fund the defense of the "John Does" in a lawsuit brought by the imams. One of the imams leads the largest and oldest mosque in Phoenix, and Jasser used to attend Friday prayers there, but was offended by the imam's use of the pulpit to preach his political opinions. Jasser believes the imams' lawsuit against those who blew the whistle on them is an attempt to stop our "front line of defense in the war on terror." "We need to find a way to immunize our citizens to reporting things because we need their eyes and ears."

Jasser also addresses the compatibility between Islam and a free and open society and discusses the film "Islam vs. Islamism."

It's encouraging to know that there are voices like Jasser's out there opposing the use of Islam to achieve political ends. It's in the country's best interests to give attention to organizations like AIFD and to people like Jasser and Tulsa's Jamal Miftah as a rallying point for American Muslims who object to the politicization of their faith.

And before you argue that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim or that moderate Muslims aren't true to their faith, please read this article by Jasser, in which he argues that anti-Islamist Muslims are key to winning the War on Terror:

Whether many pious Muslims acknowledge it or not, non-Muslims who believe that ‘the religion of Islam is the problem’ are growing in numbers. I can either dismiss their arguments as “Islamophobic” as so many do, including the Islamists, or I can begin to address some of the central issues raised positively in the spirit of understanding, logic, and most importantly in the spirit of American security....

Most should understand that strategically, identifying ‘Islam as the problem,’ immediately alienates upwards of one quarter of the world’s population and dismisses our most powerful weapon against the militant Islamists -- the mantle of religion and the pulpit of moderate Muslims who can retake our faith from the Islamists. The majority voices in the middle, the non-Islamist and anti-Islamist Muslims who understand the problem, have to be on the frontlines. They cannot be on the frontlines in an ideological battle being waged, which demonizes the morality of the faith of Islam and its founder, the Prophet Mohammed. We cannot win this war only on the battlefield. Political Islam has a viral recurrence in the form of an infection which needs a Muslim counter-jihad in order to purge it. Thus, we cannot win this ideological war without the leadership of Muslim anti-Islamists....

It is important to be academic about this assessment and not assume that what appears to be the silence of the majority of Muslims equates to agreement with the Islamist leadership who exerts a stranglehold over the community. We are doing our national counterterrorism efforts and Muslims a disservice if we assume that the ‘lowest hanging fruit,’ which comprise all currently Islamist organizations (CAIR, MPAC, or ISNA - to name a few) and their proportionally limited membership speak for all American Muslims. Their silence on the need for reformation and the need for Muslims to lead an anti-Islamist effort from within our faith community represents their own Islamist agenda of the members and donors but does not represent the general Muslim population.

MORE: From the perspective of Britain, Christopher Hitchens explains the problem with governments recognizing and validating radical Islamic leaders while ignoring moderates like Jasser.

It means that they find, to their annoyance, that the most extreme elements in their community are being recognized as interlocutors instead of themselves. I've heard a lot of secular Pakistanis complain that the cops, when they think we better go talk to the community, walk straight past them and head for the imam at the mosque, assuming that he's the one they want to talk to. Which means, of course, pretty soon these are the people who'll be handing out the welfare payments. They'll become the go-to people. Because they'll have a grant from the taxpayers, and they'll be the administrators of it. They will become the reps. It's a big, big mistake. We're going to regret it hugely.

That quote is from an interview given in conjunction with Hitchens's article "Londonistan" in Vanity Fair, about the growth of Islamic radicalism in the British capital.

I'm not sure what to think of this review of Legends of Country Music: Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. I think the reviewer likes the music, but I'm not sure:

Of all the subgenres of country music, perhaps none has dated as poorly as Western swing, the New Deal amalgam of jazz and the string band.

Does he mean that the music has aged well? That it doesn't seem out-of-date? That it has a certain timelessness? Or does he mean that it has nothing to offer modern listeners?

Then there's this line. See what sense you can extract from it:

It's saddening to the extent that Wills' bucolic big banditry sounds positively atavistic in the countrypolitan-on-steroids present, even to a listener who loathes latter-day Billy Sherrilloid abominations like Garth Brooks and Shania Twain.

And this parenthetical comment, about Wills's use of horns and drums

(Such orchestral eclecticism might otherwise position Western swing as the country subgenre most likely to interest country haters, but for the fact that such haters hilariously seem to regard the Stratocaster as the sonic alpha and omega of Western Civilization.)

might make sense, except that Wills's guitarist and arranger Eldon Shamblin played a Stratocaster, one that was given to him by Leo Fender himself, who was a fan of western swing.

I think the reviewer, Mr. Hollerbach, managed to violate every rule in Strunk and White, and he seems more interested in impressing us with his vocabulary and his ability to string words together than communicating any actual information.

This week in UTW, I'm writing about Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor's vanished campaign promises and her failure to deliver on one of them in particular: a more collaborative relationship with the City Council. Her refusal to keep them in the loop about the hiring of an interim and a permanent police chief, her use of private dollars for public actions (like the recruitment of a new chief) to try to circumvent the Open Records act, and her unilateral decisions to commit Tulsa to radical positions on gun control and anthropogenic global warming with which most Tulsans disagree.

Two weeks ago, Kathy Taylor became the 500th mayor to sign the U. S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, which you can read in PDF form here, and you can read more about the agreement's development on the website of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. And here is the Climate Protection page on the U. S. Conference of Mayors website. Taylor's action came without any consultation with the City Council.

And here's a belated link to the previous week's column about the last-minute agreement reached on Fairgrounds annexation, negotiated by Taylor behind the Council's back, and the need for the Council to defend its institutional prerogatives for the sake of checks and balances in local government. In the same column, I also covered an apology by a Tulsa Whirled reporter to the Tulsa Minuteman Project for underestimated their numbers at a Cinco de Mayo counter-rally, and I make my recommendations for Absolute Best of Tulsa Spiritual Leader and Best Family Fun Spot.

MORE: Here's an interesting thread on a national police and law enforcement forum about the Tulsa Police Department and Taylor's criteria for a new chief. The pseudonymous officer posting there claims Taylor is only looking at female candidates. If true, it would be another example of Taylor putting left-wing politics ahead of the public interest.

One of the unusual events of 1957 was the January 6th crash of an American Airlines Convair 240 en route from Joplin to Tulsa. The plane was west of Owasso on approach to Tulsa Municipal Airport. Three crew and seven passengers were aboard. One passenger was killed. The cause of the crash:

Struck trees, hit the ground, and slid 500 ft. after landing short of the runway in rapidly deteriorating condtions. The captain's lack of alertness in allowing the first officer to continue an instrument descent to an altitude too low to permit terrain clearance.

Here is a link to the coverage and photos of the crash from the January 10, 1957, edition of the Collinsville News.

Coffee and music

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I'm working on my column (early deadline this week) at one of my favorite places to work, the Coffee House on Cherry Street, listening to folk singer Terry Aziere. Terry has a very pleasant voice and guitar style, and although my writing doesn't allow me to give him my full attention, his clever lyrics catch my ear from time to time. It's nice to have coffee house music that you can choose to listen actively to or put in the background -- not so loud that it interferes with conversations. Terry is hear each Wednesday at noon and the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evenings.

Speaking of which, Natasha Ball recently wrote a nice tribute to Coffee House on Cherry Street and its "completely awesome" owner, Cheri Asher. (She is, you know.) Tasha links to a Journal Record story about what was involved in setting up the store and getting it ready to open.

MORE: Pilgrim Ramblings salutes CHCS:

Before I get into today’s material, I would just like to plug a special place here in Tulsa. Today, I am writing from The Coffee House on Cherry Street, probably my favorite place to hang out and write. There is always a great feel to the place, people conversing about whatever, using wi-fi, drinking their vanilla bullsh**s (as Larry David describes it). It’s a wonderful environment or aspiring writers, and for those who have writer’s block! I am currently eating the best cheesecake I have had in my life!

Tulsa Police Department's "don't ask" policy regarding illegal aliens is creating a vicious cycle -- fewer reports of crimes by illegal aliens means a perception that Federal support isn't needed.

May 24, 2007

City of Tulsa
200 Civic Center
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74103

Dear Tulsa City Council,

We firmly believe that a change in Tulsa Police Department’s (TPD) “hands off” policy in dealing with illegal immigration is a vital step towards protecting Tulsa from criminal illegal aliens. We are writing to encourage you to adopt a proposal that would permit TPD to ask for proof of citizenship on all suspected illegal aliens encountered by TPD officers in the course of their regular duty. This policy change should also request that anyone who is found to be unlawfully present in the United States by TPD be reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

As you are aware, Mayor Taylor recently introduced a proposal to change TPD’s current illegal immigration policy, which unfortunately would limit the criminal offenses for which TPD officers can call the Department of Homeland Security’s Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) to report immigration violations. By only requiring officers to report illegal aliens who commit felonies, this proposal would prohibit the ability of TPD officers from reporting immigration violations of individuals involved in offenses such as DUI’s, hit and run accidents, simple assault, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, or shoplifting, just to name a few. We urge you to reject this proposal.

In order to bring more federal resources to Tulsa, more calls must be placed to LESC reporting immigration violations; they can be reached by calling (802) 872-6060. ICE has repeatedly told us that the Tulsa area has low numbers of illegal alien apprehensions by local law enforcement because proof of citizenship is often not asked for and not reported to ICE, thus depressing the perceived number of criminal illegal aliens residing in our communities. By allowing TPD to report all immigration violations to ICE during every incident with illegal aliens, this will bolster our case for a permanent ICE office and presence in Tulsa, to help alleviate the strain on our communities, and local law enforcement budgets. TPD is one of the largest police agencies in the state and the simple fact is that, without their help in reporting immigration violations to ICE, Tulsa can expect to have difficulty getting a permanent ICE presence and the increased federal resources we so desperately need.

Clearly, we welcome those who wish to come to our country to pursue the American dream through legal measures. America is a nation built by immigrants, who are vital to our culture and society. It is important to note that we are not asking for the Tulsa police to engage in racial profiling. We reject racial profiling as a means to enforce immigration law at all levels of government.

Again, we encourage you to approve this important policy change to permit the TPD to ask for proof of citizenship on all suspected illegal aliens encountered by them, as well as report those violations to ICE. Together we can make an increased ICE presence in Tulsa a reality.


John Sullivan
Member of Congress

James Inhofe
United States Senator

Dr. Tom Coburn
United States Senator

You can register your opinion with your Councilor by dialing 596-192X or e-mailing, where the X is the district number.

The Judge Report passes along this news item:

Democrat John Edwards Wednesday repudiated the notion that there is a "global War on Terror," calling it an ideological doctrine advanced by the Bush administration that has strained American military resources and emboldened terrorists.

Mr. Going's response: A photo he took of the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center. And video of John "F-Troop" Edwards on the O'Reilly Factor from October 2001. In response to O'Reilly's question about how Democrats would respond if the war widens to "maybe Libya, maybe Syria, maybe the Sudan, maybe even Iraq," Edwards pledged that Democrats would be "united with the President throughout this war on terrorism."

Meanwhile, former Oklahoma Rep. Kevin Calvey is happy that Congress has voted to feed him and his colleagues in Iraq for a few more months:

Very decent of Congress to let us serving here in Iraq have bread and bullets, don't you think?

Looks like the Democrats in Congress are not so principled about the war as they previously claimed.

If they really think the war is immoral, then why cave in on the war funding bill?

The answer is that for many of them, this is all a big political game.

More Edwards:

SATIRE: Scrappleface reports on Edwards' plan for Universal Hair Care.

NOT SATIRE: Edwards denies involvement in $400 haircut: “Other people arrange these things, and I wasn’t personally involved in it.”

This may help stir some memories of late '50s Tulsa. Reader John Brandon sent along a scan of a 1958 service station map of the City of Tulsa. He got it as an eleven-year-old, and he marked it up (in black crayon) to show changed city limits resulting from annexation and the recently proposed freeway network. Click this link to open or download the 4 MB PDF of the 1958 D-X map of Tulsa.

(It's nice to find a kindred spirit. I was (and am) fond of collecting and annotating maps, too.)


On the back of the map is a downtown grid, showing the location of important buildings, a map showing the route of the Tulsa Tour, and a county map, which shows the small cities and the locations of several rural schools, like East Central (then at Admiral and Garnett) and Rentie (81st and Harvard).

Here are some interesting things I noticed; please add your observations in the comments:

  • On the county map, the N-S section line roads east of Memorial aren't named and go up in increments of 17, not 16 as they do today.
  • I'm pretty sure that U.S. 169 came down Boston from 11th Street to connect to Boulder Park Rd and the 21st Street bridge. This map shows it coming down Baltimore Ave.
  • On the county map, no Yale between 71st and 81st. No 61st between Sheridan and Memorial.
  • The intersection of 31st and Yale, evidently designed to avoid two grade crossings of the M. K. & T. tracks.
  • Alsuma (51st & Mingo) is still a separate town with its own street names.
  • Other odd street names: Braniff Hills and Broadmoor Hills south of Southern Hills Country Club. Hidden Hill at... well, I'll let you find Hidden Hill.
  • Where does downtown stop? It's a lot harder to tell without the Inner Dispersal Loop.

MORE MAPS: John Brandon was kind enough to scan some specific parts of the map:

The central Tulsa part of the main map (939 KB)
The map's cover (1.39 MB)
Downtown inset showing major buildings (845 KB)
Tulsa County map (619 KB)
Tulsa Tour route map (1019 KB)

I'm working on a story in connection with the upcoming unearthing of the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere time capsule, and I need your help. I want to convey to readers who weren't around then what Tulsa was like and how it was different 50 years ago.

If you lived or worked or visited Tulsa in 1957, whether you were a child, a teenager, or a grown-up, I want to hear your memories. You don't have to be able to remember anything earth-shattering. I'm looking for things like favorite places to eat out, your school, your neighborhood (particularly if you lived just north of downtown, in Greenwood, west of Denver downtown, or in the Locust Park area), teen hangouts, where you shopped for groceries, what you did for fun in the summer time. If you remember anything about the big events of that year -- such as the massive May flood, the car burial, the Tulsarama semi-centennial celebration -- I'd like to hear about that, too.

My deadline is the day after Memorial Day, so the sooner I hear from you, the better.

You can post your memories as a comment on this entry or e-mail me at blog at batesline dot com. If you'd rather talk to me than write to me, e-mail me your phone number, and I'll give you a call. Thanks very much.

Mark your calendars. There are a couple of wonderful opportunities to hear beautiful music performed by some very talented young Tulsans.

This coming Thursday, May 24, at 6 p.m., is the spring concert for the Barthelmes Conservatory Music School. Students are admitted to the music school based on musical aptitude, and they receive twice-weekly one-on-one lessons on an instrument and attend twice-weekly classes in music theory. It is a very rigorous program, and this Thursday night is an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of the students' hard work, as selected students each play a short classical piece. The concert is in the Great Hall on the fourth floor of the Bernsen Center, northwest of 8th and Boston in downtown Tulsa.

Then next week, on Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at 7:30 p.m., the Tulsa Boy Singers will present their spring concert of sacred choral music at Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th and Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa. The concert is entitled "Journey through the Ages." The concert will feature many different styles of music including English Choral Music, spirituals, and contemporary hymn settings. Admission is free, and there will be refreshments following the concert. (Donations would be gratefully received and will help defray the costs of the choir's upcoming performance tour of Great Britain, TBS's first international tour in many years.)

Tulsa Boy Singers and some musicians from Barthelmes will also be performing at OK Mozart in Bartlesville on June 15.

From the Mayor's Office to city employees:

I am pleased to announce today the selection of David Bostrom to serve as Interim Police Chief for the City of Tulsa. He will serve in this capacity beginning immediately and until I complete my review of applications and select a permanent chief. I will be making this announcement public this morning at a press conference, but I wanted to let you know prior to that announcement.

David is coming to us with outstanding credentials and will be moving from Wilmington Delaware. He has served in law enforcement for over 35 years and his career includes command roles with the City of Wilmington, Delaware and 23 years with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C.

I am very proud of our Tulsa Police Department and all that they have done to help reduce crime in our community. I have briefed David on the professionalism and qualities of all of our city employees and the many initiatives our police officers have worked to implement. Acting Chief McCrory and the command staff has met with David as well to bring him up to speed on the structure and operations at the TPD.

I want to personally thank Chief Mark McCrory for his service as acting Chief since the retirement of Chief Been. He has served with honor during a challenging time and I sincerely appreciate all of his efforts.

Thank you for all you do to support our city public safety officers and I hope you join with me and Chief McCrory in welcoming David Bostrom to Tulsa.


Kathy Taylor

MORE: From a quick Google, it appears that Bostrom is the former Public Safety Director for the City of Wilmington, Del., and that he left that post in 2000 after a newly elected mayor declined to rehire him.

This column from the Wilmington News Journal by Al Mascitti suggests that Bostrom was hired to deal with a rise in gang-related shootings, and that he tried to implement some form of community policing, but couldn't get the support of the police department, and the mayor that hired him didn't back him up:

There is no connection between a public opinion survey about Wilmington police and the news that David Bostrom will leave his city public safety post. But there should have been.

That Bostrom will depart with his boss, Mayor James H. Sills Jr., is no surprise. He's an outsider, brought here from Washington during Sills' second term, and never had a prayer of building a power base in City Hall....

Bostrom, to his credit, quickly realized the rancorous relations between the cops and the black community posed a greater long-term threat than the drug-related gunfire.

So he tried to institute community policing - a system of strengthening ties between officers and residents credited with reducing crime in such cities as Boston and Washington.

He might as well have tried breeding an attack opossum. His plans for six neighborhood "mini-stations" were foiled at every turn. Though it might be rent by problems with labor and race relations, there's one point on which everyone in the Wilmington Police Department agreed: It's safer to hunker in the bunker at Third and Walnut streets.

Mayor-in-waiting Jim Baker has indicated he intends to let them have their way on this point, and why not? He will have enough battles waiting when he takes office - why tick off the police?

Bostrom might have fared better with backing from Sills, but that would have constituted special treatment from this administration. In eight years Sills never learned how to back away from his liabilities, let alone back up his assets.

In the end, with nothing else to do, Bostrom was reduced to measuring the public's perception of its safety. The $30,000 University of Delaware study found slightly more people felt safer at night in their neighborhoods in 1999 than in 1998. Fittingly, the increase wasn't considered statistically significant.

A story about the new mayor's decision not to rehire Bostrom tells more about his background and the controversy with the police department:

Bostrom said he was not surprised when he received his letter. Baker had said during the campaign that he likely would not keep Bostrom as public safety director.

Mayor James H. Sills Jr. appointed Bostrom in 1997. He came from the Police Foundation, a nonprofit research group. He also served on the Washington, D.C. police force for 23 years.

"I live in the city, so of course I hope the Baker administration is successful in accomplishing all the things they want to get done to improve Wilmington," Bostrom said.

Bostrom oversaw the police and fire departments. Baker has not yet indicated whether Bostrom will be replaced or whether he will instead deal directly with the chiefs of those two departments.

Bostrom's tenure included a clash with the police union over his plan to patrol the city's neighborhoods. An arbitrator in 1998 ruled the plan was discriminatory and based on race. The plan was replaced with one that assigned officers based mostly on their seniority.

Some summer 1995 stories in the Washington Post identify Bostrom as a an inspector in Washington's Metropolitan Police Department and the commander for the 2nd District. Earlier in the year he was identified as commander of the MPD's special operations division. In 1990, Bostrom was identified as director of the planning and research division. In 1983. he was identified by the Post as a captain and assistant commander of the youth division.

An organization called Street Law lists Bostrom as a member of its board of directors and lists his affiliation as International Association of Chiefs of Police. In the 2002 program for the IACP convention, Bostrom is listed as Manager, Community Policing Consortium, part of the IACP's Programs and Research Directorate.

UPDATE: Someone e-mailed MeeCiteeWurkor with the information that Bostrom shows up in the city's computer network address book as "Chief of Police." Is the interim title just a way around legal complications from the lawsuit filed on behalf of the three internal candidates?

INTERESTING THEORY on why an interim has been appointed:

My guess is that he is being hired as a sort of short-term 'hatchet man' - someone to implement possibly unpopular policies. Then after those changes are implemented and the hubbub over them has died down, a new, permanent chief is brought in to maintain things.

A permanent new chief coming from the outside right away and changing things a whole lot would probably only find dissension and low morale after six months. After all, there were 3 people working for you that were qualified and wanted your job.

I think this may be a good move by the mayor.

To use a sports analogy:

Many times the head coach that is hired to replace a long-time head coach has difficulty making it simply because the players and fans are used to the old coaches system. These replacement coaches frequently do not last long, but their replacement typically does because the players and fans are now accustomed to change.

UPDATE: The Street Law program, of which Bostrom is a board member, is an initiative of the Soros Foundation. Hat tip to commenter G. Hanna.

A few links, recently discovered, that illustrate the diversity of western swing and its influences:

First is an Amazon "Listmania" list by Tony Thomas, one of Amazon's top 500 reviewers. The list is entitled "Western Swing: what it is and what it ain't" and includes Thomas's recommendations and comments on 22 CDs and box sets and 3 books. His introduction:

Too many people think of Western Swing as a varient of "Country" music. In fact, the classic Western Swing of the 1930s and 1940s was closer to Jazz and Blues music and was a completely different animal than country music of its time. Indeed, the one time Bob Wills, the greatest Western Swing star, appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, he was almost physically removed for using a full drum kit and smoking a cigar on stage. Go to the net page for each item to read my online reviews that go deeper into the history of Western swing. Besides all this, every one of these recordings is a load of fun to listen to.

Thomas covers albums from different eras of Bob Wills's career (the prewar recordings on OKeh and Brunswick), the Tiffany Transcriptions of the '40s, the MGM recordings from the late '40s and early '50s, For the Last Time from 1973), includes several other key western swing band leaders (Billy Jack Wills, Milton Brown, Spade Cooley, Tex Williams, Leon McAuliffe, Adolph Hofner, Moon Mullican), the western swing revival (Asleep at the Wheel, Merle Haggard, Hot Club of Cowtown), and early influences on western swing (Mississippi Sheiks, Emmett Miller).

This article by Norman Weinstein, called Secret Jazz: The Swinging Side of Western Swing, explains how the sound of a famed jazz trombonist influenced the emerging sound of the steel guitar and how elements of the Delta blues, New Orleans jazz, big band swing, bebop, and progressive jazz found their way into the western swing repertoire. He opens the piece with this: "Western Swing is a musical genre wonderfully described by its leading historian Cary Ginell as 'a bastard child that neither country nor jazz is willing to accept into their own house.'" And here's how Weinstein tries to define western swing: "The simplest way to define the genre is to identify it as a style evolving from a hybridization of black and white Southwestern string band styles encompassing a broad variety of jazz, blues, and country music characteristics."

It should be pointed out that western swing isn't by any means disconnected from country music, but it may be more accurate to call it an influence on country rather than a branch of country music. Country stars from Oklahoma, Texas, and the Central Valley of California grew up listening to western swing and it shaped their sound -- older generation artists like Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens (who in turn influenced Dwight Yoakum), and more recent stars like Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, and George Strait. And while Hank Williams isn't considered western swing, you can hear the genre's influence in his band's use of steel guitar and rhythm guitar.

If you listen to Hank Williams, it was at the peak of Bob Wills' influence, and a lot of Hank's stuff has got Western swing kind of stuff in it, especially the guitar playing, which for me was the whole thing. Like the Texas Troubadours; [Ernest Tubb] is a direct outgrowth of Bob Wills, but it was real country. That's where we came from. On a break, the Texas Troubadours would play hot jazz Western swing, and then Ernest Tubb would come up and go, "I'm walking ..." boom-chucka, boom-chucka. Which is where Junior Brown gets his sound.

That was from Ray Benson, whose band Asleep at the Wheel has led the western swing revival. Plenty of country artists are fans of western swing, and Benson had no problem recruiting country stars to perform on his two albums of Bob Wills music. Here's an Austin Chronicle interview with Benson on the 1999 launch of the second tribute album, Ride with Bob:

Six years ago, in 1993, the Wheel put out an album that was considered a landmark in the band's already storied history: Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills. It was a star-studded collection that not only won the band a Grammy, it also brought together the old masters -- former Texas Playboys like Eldon Shamblin, Leon Rausch, and Johnny Gimble -- with modern-day Nashville staples like Garth Brooks and Suzy Bogguss, and even an oddball or two, such as Benson's old pal Huey Lewis. And they made it sound great; even the bland, middle-of-the-road types who get blamed for country's current sad state came off sounding like diamonds, and the Wheel reached new audiences that had likely never heard of either them or Wills....

Later, Benson explains how his own eclectic musical tastes led him to western swing in the early '70s:

But as a kid, that was my first group there -- see those four kids? [Points at a black-and-white photo on the wall.] That's me at the top in 1960, and we sang folk music, 'cause folk music was big: Kingston Trio, Woody Guthrie, the Carter Family, the Lamplighters. All these musical influences were kind of going around, and then in 1969, we decided to form a band and get back to the land, which is where all the hippies were going anyway; get out and play country music, half because of Bob Dylan and half because of Hank Williams. But I had all these other musical influences. And I loved the blues. I knew everything. I didn't realize that there was compartments to music, 'cause we listened to all this music and we played it all.

So when we got to do this country band, we said we've gotta narrow our focus down. So we just played hillbilly music. And we said, "Wow! We really want to play roots music." That was our rallying cry: "We're going to play roots music!" I hate Led Zeppelin. Really. I hate white guys sounding like wimpy blues singers. But we loved blues. I love Jimi Hendrix. So we formed the band. We started doing this thing, and then the creative urge to play, to jam, to improvise especially, was there, and I couldn't do it in country music. You did a turnaround or half a chord, you know what I'm saying?

All of the sudden, Western swing entered, and I went, "Wow, I can sing hard songs with country themes and play fiddle breakdowns like I've always played in square dance bands. I mean, you could do it all. I could play swing music, improvise jazz however complex you want within the structure they give you, and wear a cowboy hat. That was the deal. That's how it all happened.

Finally, here's an article from the March 13, 1950, issue of Time magazine (bless you, Time, for putting your complete archives online) about the origin of the song "Rag Mop," a top pop hit for Johnnie Lee Wills and His Boys. It all started when steel guitarist Deacon Anderson was in the Army:

"Deacon" Anderson, 26, had worked out a kind of K.P. chantey as he swung his mop. As he explains now: "It's hard to think up words with any sense when you're tired, and I got to spelling out r-a-g m-o-p."

To Anderson, who now plays in a Western band in Beaumont, Texas, the result added up to a song; he gave it a hillbilly beat and tried it on his steel guitar. After the war, he tried to sell the song, but everyone around Beaumont thought the whole idea was just plain silly. Last year he made a recording—he didn't know how to write the notes down—and sent it to a friend with the Johnnie Lee Wills band. Says Tulsa's Johnnie Lee, the idol of the Southwest's square-toe boot and blue-jean set: "At first I thought it was crazy. Then it kinda irritated me." He rearranged it, added some notes and a little pep & polish.

At least some folks think that "little pep and polish" turned "Rag Mop" into one of the first rock and roll records.

St. Louis urban observer Steve Patterson has been traveling through Kansas and Missouri, visiting Garden City, Kansas, Hutchinson, Kansas, Wichita, Kansas, St. Joseph, Missouri, Shenandoah, Iowa, Salina, Kansas, and Lee's Summit, Grandview, and Blue Springs, Missouri.

Every entry has lots of photos (with links to more in his Flickr account) illustrating architecture, streetscaping, and urban planning, and each photo is accompanied with an observation about whether the subject of the photo is good or bad urban design and why. It's like a miniature course in city design.

There's a certain amount of sarcasm and cynicism, but Steve keeps it clean (unlike James Kunstler, whose sharp observations are seasoned heavily with four-letter words). There's a lot here in these entries about the latest city revitalization fad: streetscaping.

Many thanks to Steve for putting together such an informative series of entries.

In watching for Cal Thomas's column remembering Jerry Falwell, his erstwhile boss at the Moral Majority, I read through several of his recent columns and was reminded that I need to read him more often. Here's a sampling of a few recent columns.

On Tuesday, Thomas looked at Rudy Giuliani's problem with Republican voters on abortion and suggested one way forward for the former mayor:

If Giuliani really hates abortion, he will propose steps to reduce their number. If he wants to split the difference on this most contentious social issue — maintaining choice while reducing the number of abortions — he could favor "truth in labeling" legislation similar to a federal law that requires information on bottles, packages and cans. Sophisticated ultrasound machines have been shown to contribute to a sharp reduction in abortions for abortion-minded women. Such a proposal would allow him a rarity in politics: to have it both ways.

(He'd even have a model to follow: Oklahoma's informed consent legislation.)

Thomas is a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland, a connection he made through Ulster native Ed Dobson, Thomas's colleague at Moral Majority and his coauthor on Blinded by Might. In April, following the Northern Ireland Assembly elections, Thomas spoke to the Rev. Ian Paisley, the new First Minister of Northern Ireland, about the unprecedented power-sharing agreement between Paisley's hardline Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Fein, the political wing of the terrorist Irish Republican Army:

Thomas: You mentioned bitterness. For the last 30 years there has been a lot of that. More than 3,500 people have been killed. How long do you think it will take to heal the wounds? Can it occur quickly, or will it take many years?

Paisley:Oh, I think it will take many years because of the brave ones amongst us, and the shame of how the British government treated us by not dealing with terrorism the way they should have. There is a lot of bitterness. But what progress could we make by just sitting on the devastation and this sea of tears and just moaning and bemoaning our position? I think if we can get the people to move toward faith that will enable them to overcome (bitterness). It could be shorter, or it could be longer, depending on how things work out at the end of the day.

Thomas on Fred Thompson:

I have no idea whether Fred Thompson, former senator from Tennessee, will run for the Republican nomination for president, but he should....

Thompson conveys Middle American, common sense values. When he is asked a question, he doesn't sound as if he's giving a poll-tested pabulum answer. Agree or not, his statements spring from conviction.

Thomas goes on to quote approvingly from Thompson's interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News.

Thomas remembers Kitty Carlisle Hart:

We met by accident at a newspaper editor's convention in St. Paul, Minn., in 1989. She was to be one side in a debate over federal funding for the arts. She was for it. Her opponent was against it. Except, her debating partner's plane was delayed, and so the host editor called me....

I was somewhere else in town and had to come back to the convention site. By the time I arrived, she had begun her presentation. It was worse than I had anticipated - not her presentation, but the obstacles I faced. There she was with her half granny glasses and a little lamp on the podium, reading her notes. I was supposed to attack this grandmother twice my age? I should rather commit suicide!

An inspiration came to me. When it was my turn to respond, I began by saying how much I admired her husband, the late Broadway director Moss Hart, and how when I read his autobiography "Act One" in the early '60s, it had deepened my appreciation for the theater. I had her eating out of my hand!

I also found this, in Jewish World Review's eight-year archive of Thomas's columns, an April 2000 column about Falwell's re-entry into the political sphere:

At a time when the Christian world is focusing on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth and the meaning of those events, Rev. Jerry Falwell is again focusing on politics.

A decade ago, after disbanding the Moral Majority (for which I toiled for five years), Falwell announced he was going back to preaching. People who heard him said his preaching became more powerful when he returned to his first love. But he has again succumbed to the temptation of politics and its illusion of power. At a news conference last week in Washington and on his "People of Faith 2000'' Web page, Falwell announced a drive to register 10 million new voters in order to impose a moral code through government which most citizens, comfortable in their materialism, are not willing to impose on themselves.

The failure of Falwell's efforts to change culture through government was the subject of the aforementioned Blinded by Might, published in 1999. The book was wrongly reviled by James Dobson and others as a call for Christians to withdraw from political engagement. In fact, it was a call for Christians to be realistic about what could be accomplished in the political sphere, and to remember the distinction between what Augustine called the City of God and the City of Man.

Falwell's lasting legacy, Thomas says, will be Liberty University, principal among his efforts to engage and transform the culture by non-political means.

John Gravois, writing an open letter to Oprah Winfrey in Slate, praises Karen Cerulo's book Never Saw It Coming as an antidote to the Oprah-promoted "law of attraction" craze:

The Secret tells us to visualize best-case scenarios and banish negative ones from our minds. Never Saw It Coming says that's what we've been doing all along—and we get blindsided by even the most foreseeable disasters because of it.

Americans don't like thinking about likely negative outcomes. Only 30% of us have wills, despite the fact that 100% of us are going to die.

We dislike thinking about negative outcomes so much, we resent anyone who tries to make us face up to the hard facts:

But unfortunately, we go to great lengths to make people who think negatively feel unwelcome....

Just think of all the pejorative and even pathological terms we have for doomsayers. Like, for instance, doomsayer. Also alarmist, naysayer, paranoiac, complainer, defeatist, downer, and killjoy. Rack your brain: It is hard to think of a laudatory term for contemplating the worst-case scenario.

He forgot fearmonger, nattering nabob of negativism, and Ken Neal's favorite, grump, which he could use as both noun and verb.

But we need naysayers to keep things running smoothly:

Cerulo argues we have a lot to learn from two groups of people who have emancipated themselves from the pressure to think positively. She points out that medical workers and computer technicians—the professional troubleshooters of the world—keep our bodies and mainframes running by being paragons of pessimism. When doctors and IT workers take up a case, they begin by dispassionately assuming the worst and then move up from there.... While this may sometimes make doctors and techies a drag, it also helped them avert worldwide disasters like the SARS outbreak and the Y2K bug.

Say it loud, I kvetch and I'm proud.

From this morning's Tulsa Police Department activity report (emphasis added):

At 0543 hours on 05-17-07 an armed robbery occurred at the Kum N Go at 11268 E. 71st Street. A white male with a handgun and a black male entered the store and robbed the store attendant; they then fled with the cash. The suspects left in a brown older Chevrolet. Officer B. Disney spotted a vehicle matching that description heading west on 81st from Garnett.

A traffic stop was initiated at 6600 S. Mingo Rd. The driver was Reginald Simienand
and in the back seat was Allen Mcghe and Preston Williams. All three suspects were
taken into custody. On the back seat was all the cash from the robbery and on the
passenger floor was a handgun. Two of the suspects were positively identified as the
two individuals who entered the store. One suspect had a DOC monitor ankle bracelet
on, which should provide GPS location and time.
All three suspects were booked for
Armed Robbery with a firearm.

Chris Medlock has his ear to the ground regarding Mayor Kathy Taylor's plan to sell 18 holes out of 36 at city-owned Page Belcher golf course for private development. His latest blog entry has an aerial view showing the area in question, which extends north and south of 71st Street west of Union, very convenient to the newly improved 71st Street and US 75 interchange and the Tulsa Hills retail "power center."

Whether or not you think the city should be involved in the golf business, this is why you ought to be concerned:

Regardless of your position on whether or not the golf courses should be shut down to save money, it is quite troubling to hear that Mayor Kathy Taylor may be planning to offer the highly valuable land to only one, highly connected, developer.

If sold, the city should ask for Requests for Proposals (RFPs) from the entire development sector. How else will we ever know if the citizens are getting the best deal possible on their tax dollar investment? How else will we know that special favors haven’t been granted for future favors?

If there is only one developer involved, it's likely that this plan didn't just happen, but has been in the works for some time and has nothing at all to do with solving the city's tight finances.

Fred Thompson, former Tennessee senator and potential Republican candidate for president, was invited to speak over the weekend to the Council on National Policy, a group made up of conservative leaders in various spheres of influence. Here's the text of his speech.

An anonymous tipster told Hotline that Thompson's speech was underwhelming, but the Washington Times reported that Christian conservative leaders are lining up to support Thomspon. (Although the Times story doesn't mention the CNP meeting, the story came out Monday and the anonymous comments almost certainly came from CNP members.)

Thompson didn't try to cover every possible issue and said at the outset he would not be delivering a rousing oration. Instead, he took two examples of his recent government-related activity and used them to set out his basic philosophy of government and the principles that guide him.

The two examples Thompson used were assisting Chief Justice John Roberts through the confirmation process and helping Scooter Libby through his recent trial over the Valerie Plame case. In the course of talking about Roberts he makes clear his support for judicial restraint, his opposition to Roe v. Wade, and his opposition to judicial overreaching on church-state issues.

In the part of the speech about Libby, Thompson rehearsed the facts of the case. He believes the Justice Department caved to political pressure and that Libby deserves a presidential pardon. He marvels that Libby is facing time in jail, while pants-stuffer Sandy Berger has suffered no penalties for stealing what were likely classified documents from the National Archive.

Here's how Thompson tied these two stories together:

The Roberts nomination shows us that we can win against those who would use the Constitution for their own ends, even though it is always a fight.

Libby’s prosecution demonstrates how injustices can occur when public officials lack the courage to go against the public clamor and to do the right thing, thereby perverting the rule of law.

Thompson does a very clever thing here in a very subtle way. Without mentioning President George W. Bush by name, and without criticizing him by name or title, Thompson set out what Bush did well and what Bush did wrong and how a Thompson presidency would differ from the Bush administration.

Bush's biggest policy failures stemmed from a desire to preempt criticism from the left-leaning mainstream media -- No Child Left Behind, signing McCain-Feingold, the Medicare prescription drug benefit; going into Iraq with not enough troops, too quickly turning Iraq and Afghanistan over to new civilian governments, adopting too-strict rules of engagement.

By contrast, Thompson has demonstrated that he will stand by someone who was done an injustice, even when voices from his own party are clamoring that Libby is a pariah. Thompson's willingness to stand for justice when it could do him political harm but no political good whatsoever -- that's a character quality I want in a president.

UPDATE: A brilliant 30 second video response by Thompson to Michael Moore's challenge to debate him about healthcare.

Joel Henry Hinrichs III, the OU student who blew himself up outside a packed football stadium on Oct. 1, 2005, was apparently not the only one in his family with violent tendencies. From the Nov. 23, 2006, Colorado Springs Gazette:

Thomas Carlisle Hinrichs, a 25-year-old Pikes Peak Community College student, says he thinks federal officers have harassed him since the Oct. 1, 2005, suicide of his brother, Joel, according to court documents.

He allegedly considered waiting at the FBI office to ambush an agent and also thought about killing his father and high school principal.

Hinrichs was arrested Nov. 15 at Pikes Peak Community College's Rampart Range campus with a Romanian-made assault rifle, bulletproof vest, military helmet, hunting knife and ammunition in the trunk of his car, according to Colorado Springs police.

The arrest came after his father, Joel Henry Hinrichs Jr., told police that Thomas had assaulted him and that he feared his son, whose mental health had deteriorated in the past year, would kill him.

This is not a new story, but I don't remember reading about it at the time. Big hat tip to Tulsa Chiggers for catching it.

The City of Tulsa's Planning Department is holding a meeting in each council district to gather citizen input on the upcoming update to the City's Comprehensive Plan. They've also been meeting with a variety of community groups, asking three questions:

  1. This survey seeks to determine what do you think is most important for Tulsa to achieve over the next 10 to 20 years (regarding where you live, work, shop, learn, visit and play). Please list three that you think are most important, in order of priority.
  2. What do you think are Tulsa's most valuable or important assets or opportunities? Please list three that you think are most important, in order of priority.
  3. In the same manner as above, what do you think are the most critical issues, problems, or concerns confronting Tulsa? Please list three that you think are most important, in order of priority.

The answers to those questions given at earlier community meetings have been posted on the Planning Department's website. You can provide your own answers to those questions through an online form.

Or you can show up tonight at 6 p.m. in the Great Hall of the University of Tulsa Allen Chapman Activity Center (5th Place & Florence Ave) or tomorrow night at the Wright Elementary School auditorium (45th Place & Madison). Other upcoming meetings, all starting at 6 p.m.:

May 21 - Memorial High School auditorium, 5840 S. Hudson Ave.
May 22 - Hardesty Regional Library Redbud Auditorium, 8316 E. 93rd St.
May 23 - Tulsa Community College Northeast Campus, 3727 E. Apache St.
May 29 - Martin Regional Library auditorium, 2601 S. Garnett Road.
June 4 - Rudisill Regional Library Ancestral Hall, 1520 N. Hartford Ave.

Although they're holding a meeting in each City Council district, you can attend any meeting that is convenient for you.

The point of these meetings is to let the public know about the Comprehensive Plan update process and to gather input that will shape the next step in the process: selecting a planning firm to put an update together. The Planning Department wants your perspective, so they can create a plan that reflects the concerns and priorities of all Tulsans.

Julia Gorin has been keeping a close eye on the story of the Fort Dix Six, the young Muslim Albanian men who were plotting an attack on the New Jersey army base. She has also been reminding her readers of some forgotten and unpleasant realities about U. S. support for a Muslim terrorist organization with ties to Osama Bin Laden.

It's not Julia's usual stock in trade, and here's how she explains her interest:

People often ask me how a comedian embarked on a Balkans-watching odyssey. When I woke up on March 24th to hear that the United States of America was dropping bombs on Europe on behalf of Muslims claiming oppression — in order to keep the conflict from spreading — it struck me as funnier than any joke I could write. When you help Muslims with their wars, it doesn’t keep the conflict from spreading. It spreads Islam. And it spreads to you.

Her sketch of the history of American involvement in Yugoslavia (from the same entry) deserves to be quoted at length:

I am sorry to report that, while Bill Clinton delivered the death blows to Yugoslavia, we started on this path with George Bush Sr., whose ambassador Warren Zimmerman flew to Sarajevo in 1992 to advise Izetbegovic to remove his signature from the Lisbon Agreement that all three parties signed precisely to avoid the civil wars that ensued. Zimmerman assured Izetbegovic that the U.S. would have his back if he wanted an independent Muslim Bosnia.

The rape, slaughter and dismemberment of Yugoslavia was a bipartisan enterprise from Day One, and it remains so. What makes the Clinton administration’s role more nefarious is that the first Bush administration was still operating on a Cold War mentality, in which any vestige of Communism was still a target — and Yugoslavia stayed fatally comfortable with the apparatchik system too long. Meanwhile, Islam wasn’t yet known to be the biggest international threat.

By 1999, however, the Islamic threat was a known entity and there were already two international warrants out for Osama bin Laden, including for the bombing of the U.S. embassiess in Africa. This is also why reasonable comparisons between our unholy alliance in Kosovo and our 1980s alliance in Afghanistan fall short. The Soviet Union was in fact an enemy and an international menace; the Serbs aren’t and never were — but Islamic terrorism was and is.

As well, while George H. W. Bush bumbled through the confusion that is the Balkans, Bill Clinton knew exactly what he was doing. He knew that his numbers of dead and displaced in Kosovo were a fabrication, but he needed a vanity war in his last two years in office so that the word “Lewinsky” wouldn’t be the last thing associated with his presidency. Outrageously, he, his wife, Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke and other Clintonistas continue, even eight years later, to boastfully lie to Americans that we “prevented a genocide” in Europe with our “successful war” in Kosovo, where not a single American life was lost.

It helps when you’re fighting for the enemy.

Read all of Julia Gorin's May 2007 and April 2007 archives for more on this topic.

MORE: Political correctness almost discouraged the Circuit City clerk from tipping off authorities about the terrorist training video tape he converted for the Fort Dix Six:

When the teen and another employee went into a back room and began the conversion of the tape, they saw a group of bearded men wearing "fundamentalist attire" and shooting "big, f-ing guns," the teen later told co-workers.

Throughout the 90-minute-long tape, above the booming gunfire at a Pennsylvania target range, the jihadists could be heard screaming "God is great!"

The two employees "freaked out," their co-worker recalled.

At first, the teenage clerk didn't know what to do, his pal said.

"Dude, I just saw some really weird s-," he frantically told his co-worker. "I don't know what to do. Should I call someone or is that being racist?"

The fellow employee tried to calm his friend and told him that if what he saw terrified him so much, he should tell the police.

(Via Michelle Malkin.)

This entry was inspired by a recent comment by the president of Langston University. I'll say no more now, as I will address the comment in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly column, but here are some interesting facts I gleaned from analyzing the 1957 edition of Polk's City Directory.

For out of towners and newcomers to Tulsa: Greenwood Avenue was Main Street for Tulsa's African-American community prior to urban "renewal." A few commercial buildings remain at the corner of Greenwood and Archer, and a handful of churches still stand, but most everything else was demolished. The land at the southern end of Greenwood stood vacant for many years until it was designated for a state college campus, now the Tulsa campus of Oklahoma State University. The storefronts at the northern end were replaced with late '70s, early '80s suburban style homes.

It's hard to imagine what Greenwood was like just 50 years ago. This may give you some sense of the place.

In 1957 on Greenwood Ave. in Tulsa, there were nine grocery stores in the mile between Archer and Pine Streets, along with five drug stores, six variety/sundry/dry goods stores, a meat market, a confectionery, a bakery, a florist, a hardware store, a jeweler, a radio and TV store, two record stores, two appliance stores, two thrift shops, four gas stations, and a hardware store.

There were also 21 barber and/or beauty shops, four shoe repair shops, four shoe shine parlors, three tailors, a photographer, an upholstery shop, and eight dry cleaners.

Greenwood Ave. had five physicians, four dentists, a chiropractor, five law offices, two real estate offices, two insurance agencies,a newspaper (the Oklahoma Eagle), and seven churches.

There were two fraternal lodges, a dance hall (the Dreamland), a nightclub (the Flamingo), eight bars, a movie theater (the Rex), 19 restaurants (including three places with barbecue in the name and three chili parlors), and four pool halls.

There were eight hotels, 11 apartment buildings, 13 rooming houses.

That only counts businesses on Greenwood Ave. and doesn't include other streets and avenues in the district, which went as far west as Detroit and as far east as the Midland Valley and Santa Fe tracks.

If you want specifics about what businesses were where, you can see for yourself by looking at pp. 357-360 of Polk's 1957 directory of Tulsa.

What a LuLu!

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I won't be able to go because of prior commitments, but this looks like a lot of fun:

The American Heritage Music Festival to be held June 7, 8 & 9 in the Grove Civic Center and Snider’s Campground will feature Hee-Haw stars LuLu Roman and Grove’s own Jana Jae.

There's a kickoff party and barbecue on Thursday, June 7 -- admission free, dinner $5 -- music contests on Friday for fiddle, dobro, banjo, mandolin, clogging, and a special competition for Bob Wills's fiddle music. The fiddle and clogging contests each have a $1,000 first prize, so it should draw some excellent competitors. Saturday night is the big finale concert.

For tickets and more information, visit

The story above came from the online home of the Grove Observer, a weekly paper. Instead of paying through the nose for a fancy website, they simply set up a blog on and started posting news articles. There are several other small papers in Oklahoma doing the same thing. (I've tried, and given up trying, to convince the Tulsa Beacon to set up a simple blog to post last week's stories and keep an archive.)

A group of 20 motorcyclists from England are blogging about their trip down Route 66. They began in Chicago about a week ago, and today they traveled from Rolla, Mo. to Tulsa. Everyone be on your best behavior, and make our guests feel at home!

The latest entry at Tasha Does Tulsa is all about places to eat downtown and what keeps her going back to Felini's Cookies and Teri's Coney Island. Sure, the food is good:

So good. So. Freaking. Good. If I had been at home, I would have needed a cigarette and a nap afterward.

but that's not the reason she loves going back to these places more than other downtown restaurants with food just as good:

Sincere human contact is available at downtown Tulsa restaurants like Felini’s and Teri’s. Even when you get the hankering for a mushroom charburger from Billy’s on the Square, popcorn chicken from Arby’s, or a teriyaki chicken sandwich from Subway, going to those places won’t fulfill your need to get around some people other than the ones you’re in the office with all day long.

Natasha concludes with an account of the delights on sale at the Pearl District Farmers' Market every Thursday evening, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., just southwest of 6th and Peoria in Centennial (Central) Park. Read the whole thing.

Karol remembers two of the Fort Dix Six:

When Elvis and Dritan Duka, two of the three brothers arrested on terrorism charges in Fort Dix, were kids, they were neighborhood bullies. When they got a little older, they became drug dealers.

How do I know? They grew up in my neighborhood, my brother and his friends used to brawl with them on a fairly regular basis. My brother's best friend's mom was friends with their mom. Then they moved to New Jersey and became Jihadis. Of all possible paths for the Duka kids, that one didn't seem the most likely.

They had been in the country illegally for 23 years, and despite numerous traffic citations, they were never detected, much less deported:

A federal law enforcement source confirmed to FOX News that the three — Dritan "Anthony" or "Tony" Duka, 28; Shain Duka, 26; and Eljvir "Elvis" Duka, 23 — also accumulated 19 traffic citations, but because they operated in "sanctuary cites," where law enforcement does not routinely report illegal immigrants to homeland security, none of the tickets raised red flags.

The brothers entered the United States near Brownsville, Texas, in 1984, the source said, which would put their ages at 1 to 6 when they crossed the border.

The source said there is no record of them entering by way of a regular border crossing, so they are investigating whether they were smuggled into the country.

So the folks who swim Rio Bravo near Brownsville aren't just Mexicans on their way to roof houses in Jenks. Some of them are Albanian Muslims from Yugoslavia who wind up living in Brooklyn and plotting attacks on U. S. Army facilities.

Julia Gorin asks why the media -- even right-wing columnists -- are so squeamish about saying that these alleged terrorists are Albanian Muslims, and she answers her own question:

The answer is that the Balkans narrative MUST remain what it is: Serbs=bad. Muslims=victim.

The pro-Muslim mainstream media aside, even conservatives jumped onto the anti-Serb bandwagon starting in the 90s -- because conservatives are often accused of being anti-Muslim. So the one bone they can toss the Muslims is to take the typical bombastic and outraged stance about what was supposedly done to Muslims in the Balkans. (Recall “Hannity & Colmes” condemning the “evil on display” in the widely circulated execution video of six Bosnian fighters by Bosnian-Serb paramilitary. Of course, you won’t recall the far more graphic images of dead Serbs -- for those are never shown.)

Never mind that the aforementioned executions were precipitated by mutilated, burned, decapitated, dismembered Serbs of all ages, whose bodies were stuffed down wells near Srebrenica, the site of “the worst atrocity since the Holocaust.” And that’s not even mentioning the ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Kosovo for decades, as was reported in The NY Times, Christian Science Monitor and Washington Post throughout the 80s.

If you want to know more precisely what these Albanian Muslim illegal immigrants were up to, Michelle Malkin has an excerpt of the complaint against the Fort Dix Six, and a link to a PDF of the full complaint.

UPDATE 5/17/2007: Newsweek reports that the INS knew that the Duka family was here illegally for 16 years and did nothing:

As a result, for nearly two decades, American authorities were aware that members of the family were inside the United States, and that they had probably come here illegally. While the asylum application was under consideration, the government effectively suspended any effort to deport family members as illegal aliens, the source familiar with their immigration history said…

However, another official familiar with the Duka case history said that the family asylum claim got stuck for 16 years at INS because of a bureaucratic paperwork backlog of more than 100,000 asylum applications. The official said asylum claims routinely sat in “filing cabinets” for a decade or more.

(Hat tip: Hot Air.)

This week's UTW column topic: The Mayor's proposed FY 2008 budget has been released, and it includes some unpleasant surprises. As the old arena is converted to ballroom space and the new arena isn't open yet, convention and arena revenues will vanish for the year, while start-up administrative costs appear with a vengeance. The net result: A $1.7 million hole in the General Fund, which the Mayor proposes to plug by shutting down 27 holes of golf and cutting a police academy, resulting in a net loss of officers. (The suggestion that golf savings will be funding northside pools is a smokescreen. The Mayor didn't actually say that that would happen, and in fact one fewer pool will be open this year than last.)

There was a typo -- my fault -- in the section of the column about the pools. Last year nine pools were open -- four funded by the city and five by private sponsorships, not four.

Also this week, a few thoughts on the result of Oklahoma's vote for a state quarter design. How did we miss out on an American Indian theme?

One of the images I suggest might have been a better choice is Willard Stone's sculpture "Exodus". Follow that link to see a picture of it.

Elsewhere in the current issue, Brian Ervin has a story on the problem of sinkholes caused not by geology but by aging underground sewer and stormwater pipes. (Take a look at the downtown stormwater management master plan -- it's in the government documents section at Central Library -- and note the section on "subsurface voids." That's where there's a gap between the relatively thin layer of concrete and asphalt and the solid ground beneath.)

The second installment to UTW's guide to summer events and activities is in this week's issue. Here's a link to the first installment.

Also, nominations are in order for Urban Tulsa Weekly's Absolute Best of Tulsa awards. Click the link to enter your choices online, or pull a ballot out of a paper copy and mail it in.

Dear Mayor Taylor,

I read about your compromise proposal -- the City waives sales taxes on the Arabian Horse Show, the County allows the City Council to vote on any zoning changes at the fairgrounds, the County handles permitting at the fairgrounds.

Do you realize that none of this makes any sense unless you approve annexation? If you veto annexation, you lose any leverage you have over the county on the terms of this agreement. The county could renege tomorrow, and you'd have no recourse.

But if you sign the annexation ordinance, then you and the Council could approve sales tax waivers, permitting waivers and any other relief that you deem appropriate to address the County's concerns.

You're holding all the cards. Why are you folding?

And why didn't you include any of the city councilors in the negotiations with the County? They had to learn about the agreement through the news media. If you truly want to work with the council as fellow teammates working for Tulsa, it won't help if you show more deference to officials of another government than to the elected representatives of your own citizens.

I was disappointed when you won, but I consoled myself in thinking we were at least getting someone who was tough, someone who would aggressively represent the city's interests. Guess I was wrong.

And about that comment in the letter from the County Commissioners, saying that you could blow off the city councilors because they'd soon forget. I think you know better.

Of the five who voted for annexation, I've known four of them for many years. They aren't going to forget. This isn't like the legislature where they vote on thousands of bills in a four-month session. This was a major issue, and these councilors spent some political capital because they believed annexation was best for the City and would have no adverse effect on the County. You led them, and us, to believe that you agreed with them, and then you went behind their backs to cut a deal that leaves the City empty-handed.

This was a telling comment:

"She's been scared of the county since day one. First day she talked about it she was trembling, saying, 'They've got all the money,' " [Council Chairman Roscoe] Turner said.

That's the real problem here, isn't it? Your predecessor was so determined to get approval for a downtown arena that he handed the county the keys to the cash box. You had to go hat in hand to get extra money for the arena, and you'll probably have to go back again.

But the City Council has control of a lot of money, too. Do you think they're going to be inclined to vote for your utility rate hike when you just walked away from at least $300,000 in revenue?

Bill LaFortune put this city at a serious disadvantage, all for an arena that we didn't need and won't be able to afford to run.

At some point City officials have to stop being pushed around by the County and the suburbs. I'm not saying you have to go to war, just that you have to defend the City's interests without apology.

I hoped we'd elect a Mayor in 2006 that would do that. Chris Medlock and Don McCorkell would have. I thought you might, but evidently I was wrong. I guess we'll have to wait for 2010.

I want to call your attention to three relatively new links on the sidebar:

TPD Blog, the blog of the Tulsa Police Department, has had a lot of interesting content lately. They link to articles in local media about TPD, and provide regular updates on the progress of the latest academy class. In one recent entry, Off. Will Dalsing expresses his opinion of the personnel and financial challenges faced by the TPD:

So here is the problem: while it is true that we are back to being at, or slightly above, our "authorized strength," that number is terribly low. The Tulsa Police Department has been at that number for over twenty years. True, the population has not significantly changed in numbers, but the calls for service (the amount of calls that the officers must respond to) yearly has gone up in the tens of thousands....

Imagine that you are having a bit of a problem in the neighborhood. Kids are out at all hours of the night being loud and tearing stuff up. Maybe there are some houses with what appears to be a lot of traffic…. maybe someone is selling drugs there. Or maybe there are some scary looking people whom you are pretty sure are calling themselves a gang. You would call the police right?

So the Police Captain at the local division assigns a whole squad of seven or eight cops to your street. The Captain tells them "saturate that neighborhood for a few days….I don’t want anyone to so much as spit on the sidewalk without having to talk to an officer because of it."

Is that a dream? It is in Tulsa. See we don’t actually have enough staff to take the calls for service. We "hire-over" nearly every shift at every division. It’s hard to be pro-active when you are always back "on your heels." So even thought we do have a squad at some divisions for "Directed Patrol," it may be still at the expense of our response to calls in the field.

Or let’s say you are building a new structure in your downtown that will likely bring tens of thousands of people to the area several nights a week. The area is in the process of revitalization. Foot traffic is going up. The bars and restaurants are popping up. For tourism, safety, and the well being of everyone involved, more cops are needed. In fact, the business owners are so decisive on the matter that they are willing to give their own money to help equip officers to work in the area. Can we give them a squad of officers? Not currently.

We know we must be pro-active for Tulsa’s new arena and for the downtown district as a whole. A part-time bike squad is in the works but how will we have the manpower to staff the area full time?

The second link is Stop the Chop, a website about protecting Woodward Park's trees from indiscriminate removal. You can read the history of the controversy, view relevant documents, and learn what you can do to help.

The final link is not Tulsa-specific. It's a web community for conservative activists throughout the State of Oklahoma, and it's called The site includes a blog, a forum, an events calendar, and other community networking tools. It's intended not just to be a place to chat and trade insults but to network for the purpose of taking constructive political action. I've written a guest piece for them, yet again about the Oklahoma Republican state convention, but with a focus on the state chairman and vice chairman's races, with some historical background.

Continuing the choral music theme of the previous entry, Tulsa fans of choral music are in for a treat tomorrow night, Tuesday, May 8, at 7 p.m. The American Boychoir will perform at Boston Avenue Methodist Church, 13th and Boston in downtown Tulsa. Tickets are $5 for adults, no charge for 18 and under.

The American Boychoir School, a boarding school for grades 5 through 8, located in Princeton, N. J., was founded in 1937 to bring the centuries-old tradition of boys' choir schools to America. The Tulsa stop is the midpoint of a three-week tour of Texas and Oklahoma. The group has recorded and toured internationally in recent years, and their voices have provided the soundtracks for commercials for Apple Computer, CNN, M&M, others, and for Kodak's Clio-winning "True Colors" ad.

The Tulsa Boy Singers will also be performing, giving a preview of their upcoming Spring Concerts, which are scheduled for June 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m.

Master Singers The Highway Code EP album coverMonth after month, the Google searches that consistently bring visitors to this site have nothing to do with Tulsa or Oklahoma or Republican politics. This BatesLine entry is currently the number one result for any combination of two of the following four terms: "Master Singers," "Highway Code," "Weather Forecast," "Anglican chant."

The entry is about two delightful novelty tunes recorded by a group called the Mastersingers in the '60s, setting Britain's rules of the road and a typical BBC weather to the beautiful a capella four-part harmonies of Anglican chant.

What I wrote recently attracted the attention of Helen Keating, the wife of Geoffrey Keating, one of the Mastersingers, and she was kind enough to send me what I think should be considered the definitive history of the Mastersingers, the Highway Code, and the Weather Forecast:

'The Highway Code' set to psalm chants was devised by a schoolmaster at Abingdon School, John Horrex, in the late 1950s. It was sung at numerous church socials etc as entertainment, using whatever singers were available (including me!)

In 1963, to celebrate the school's Quatercentenary a record was made which contained a lot of the Highway Code set in different styles - a pub song, Gilbert and Sullivan style and a jazzy version etc. The singers were John Horrex, George Pratt, Geoff Keating and Barry Montague.

A copy of this record was sent to Fritz Spiegl who gave it to the BBC, who used it on a lunchtime programme introduced by Winston Churchill (jnr) and was played at its last edition as ' our most requested piece.'

George Martin then recorded it, the group calling itself the Mastersingers, on a single, with the pub song on the B side. This actually got to no 22 in the charts (then the top 20) and the group was on standby for 'Top of the Pops'!

Cliff Richard then invited the group (called for the purposes of the disc ''The Carol Singers') to back an EP of Christmas carols, which were arranged by George Pratt and Geoff Keating. One number done by Geoff was 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' but it was never used as it was too short for a whole side but too long to put another carol with it.

The tape of this number was played to the Kings Singers and they immediately asked Geoff to rearrange it for them, which they subsequently recorded and sang everywhere. Geoff also arranged 'God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen' for them, both of which appear on their LP 'Christmas with the Kings Singers'. (The latter number, in 5/8 like Dave Brubeck's 'Take Five', inspired George Shearing for his his version on a Christmas disc.)

All the four schoolmasters moved on from Abingdon, John Horrex to Glasgow, George Pratt to Keele University, Geoff Keating to Cheadle Hulme School, and Barry Montague to Australia. The latter's place in the group was taken by Mike Warrington from Cheadle Hulme and that began a series of performances of both the original 'Highway Code' and the new 'Weather Forecast', (also recorded by George Martin) together with lots of local television performances of things like 'Rules of Wrestling' and other silly things. George Martin also recorded 'The London Telephone Directory' (started at 'A', speeded up then slowed down as they got to 'Z's) which the group didn't think was funny and thankfully was withdrawn when the directory was deemed copyright.

We understood that Princess Margaret (a fan of the group which she had met at the Abingdon Quatercentenary celebrations) was given a copy of the disc but the group never got one.

The group did the backing for George Martin's record of Peter Sellers' 'A Hard Day's Night' (as a Richard III type soliloquy), music arranged by George Pratt, and 'Help' (as a sermon), music arranged by Geoff Keating.

The Mastersingers were invited to do the Highway Code on the Ken Dodd show (live) on BBC TV and then the enthusiasm (caused by over-exposure and problems of distances apart) rather dried up.

The Kings Singers, by now good friends with the group, were often told that 'The Highway Code was the best thing they ever did' (!) and they are always incredibly generous in their acknowledgment that they weren't responsible (mind you, hearing the four amateur singers on the original it's not surprising they say that!)

Hope that clears up all the misapprehensions!

I wrote Mrs. Keating back to ask what her husband Geoff and the other Mastersingers are doing nowadays. She replied:

Having retired after 17 years with Geoff as Director of Music at Millfield School in Somerset (and me as Director of Music at Millfield Prep School) we had three years at Sherborne School for Girls where I was Housemistress (and Geoff was half time teaching photography and sailing!) then we retired - well, you might call it that but we're as busy as ever! - to SW Scotland. you we have seven concerts between March 25th of this year and this next June 10th, that shows you. Geoff conducts the Solway Sinfonia plays jazz with his group 'Gentle Jazz' (piano and saxophone), sails, fishes and sells landscape photographs. Not bad for a man who's 70 in a fortnight! Not that he looks it, or acts it, as you will see from the photo on the above website.

John Horrex, the 'founder' of the Mastersingers is now retired in Canterbury, where he ended up teaching, Professor George Pratt, retired from Huddersfield University, is down in Exeter when he's not broadcasting or doing talks on cruise ships, while Mike Warrington is a retired headmaster in Oldham.

From Geoff Keating's page on the Solway Sinfonia site, I found this link to a week-long music holiday he'll be leading next February at a hotel in England's Lake District. Looks like great fun.

A happy 70th birthday to Geoff Keating and many thanks to Helen Keating for setting the record straight about these beloved pieces of music.

MORE, MORE (30 October 2008): Brien K. Meehan has produced a transcription of the Mastersingers' Weather Forecast with words and four-part music. (Links have changed -- see below.)

UPDATE: (29 December 2009): has changed some URLs. Here are Brien K. Meehan's transcriptions of the Mastersingers' Weather Report (Anglican Chant) and the Mastersingers' Highway Code (Anglican Chant). Both are available for free download.

UPDATE: 3 November 2012: I've found Brien K. Meehan's transcriptions of the Mastersingers' Highway Code and Mastersingers' Weather Forecast, on the website of St. James Episcopal Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They are also posted to Google docs: Mastersingers' Weather Forecast, Mastersingers' Highway Code, linked from Brien K. Meehan's YouTube profile.

And for safekeeping, here are local copies of Mastersingers' Highway Code Anglican Chant and Mastersingers' Weather Forecast Anglican Chant

UPDATE: 18 March 2013: Keith Webley writes: "It is with great sadness that I report that John Horrex (my wife's uncle) passed away this evening." Our condolences to Mr. Horrex's family and friends.

A few days ago I wrote about OETA's scheduled program "Islam in Oklahoma," which aired Friday night, and about whether the people invited to participate in the discussion would provide a balanced and complete view of the topic. (Because of unexpected family schedule complications, I didn't get to see the show.)

A reader contacted OETA to raise the question directly and got a reply that began:

Thank you for sharing your concerns about Islam in Oklahoma. Please note that OETA worked with the Oklahoma Governor's Council on Ethnic Diversity to select the panelists and to ensure a balanced panel.

I assumed from the name that this council had representatives from the Hispanic-, Asian-, African-, and other hyphenated-American communities. Oklahoma has had influxes of many different ethnic groups over a century of statehood: Lebanese, Russian Jews, Czechs, Italians, Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Hmong, to name just a few.

In Googling for mentions to "Islam in Oklahoma," I found this reference on the Oklahoma Women's Network blog

As a followup to PBS' recently aired "America At A Crossroads" series, OETA has taped a program featuring Oklahoma Muslim leaders. I urge you to watch this program on Friday, May 4th at 9:00 p.m on your OETA channel....Two of the many outstanding women leaders in Oklahoma's Muslim community are Sheryl Siddiqui, Director of Community Relations and American Outreach with the Islamic Society of Tulsa, and Marjan Seirafi-Pour, Chairperson of the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council.

That's interesting, I thought. I knew who Sheryl Siddiqui was, and that she was slated to be a panelist on the program, but I'd never heard of Marjan Seirafi-Pour. And I thought it was interesting that a Muslim leader was the head of this Ethnic American Advisory Council, given the relatively small number of Muslims in Oklahoma compared to other ethnic groups.

So I Googled Marjan Seirafi-Pour and hit this agenda for the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council from August 2005. Here is the list of council members:

Dr. Sandra Kaye Rana, Chair
Marjaneh Seirafi-Pour, Vice-Chair/Secretary
Dr. Riaz Ahmad
Malaka A. Elyazgi
Mohammad Farzaneh
Dr. Basel S. Hassoun
Dr. Mohammad Karami
Karen E. Bak
Dr. Fayyaz H. Hashmi

The membership doesn't seem very diverse or very representative of Oklahoma's ethnic heritage. Where are the Czechs from Prague, Italians from Krebs, and Russians from Hartshorne? Where are the Greeks and Filipinos?

According to the Governor's web page about the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council (GEAAC), the monolithic membership is intentional. "Ethnic" appears to be a euphemism for something different:

On May 27, 2004, Governor Brad Henry issued Executive Order 04-21, which created the Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council. The purpose of the Council, which is to be made up of from five to 15 representatives of Ethnic Americans of the Middle East/Near East community of the state of Oklahoma, is to:

1. Provide advice and assistance to the Governor on the development and implementation of policies, plans, and programs relating to the needs and values of the Ethnic American community;

2. Provide advice and assistance to the Governor in matters involving civil liberties, equal rights protection and freedom of religion of the Ethnic American community;

3. Develop, coordinate and assist other public and private organizations with understanding problems concerning the Ethnic American community;

4. Conduct training programs for community leadership;

5. Cooperate with the Department of Education in advising and assisting school districts concerning Ethnic American issues; and

6. Secure appropriate recognition of Ethnic American accomplishments and contributions to the state of Oklahoma.

All Council members are appointed by the Governor.

Here is the current list of members:

Marjaneh Seirafi-Pour

Vice-Chair / Secretary

Dr. Riaz Ahmad
Malaka A. Elyazgi
Mohammad Farzaneh
Dr. Fayyaz H. Hashmi
Dr. Basel S. Hassoun
Dr. Mohammad Karami
Dr. Sandra Kaye Rana
Wes Salous

Let's strip away the silly "Ethnic American" euphemism and take the detailed information at face value. The council is to be "made up of from five to 15 representatives of Ethnic Americans of the Middle East/Near East community of the state of Oklahoma." If they really mean Middle East/Near East, there should be some Oklahomans of Israeli heritage -- Israel is in the Middle East -- perhaps some Armenian Christians, Lebanese Christians, Coptic Christians from Egypt, maybe someone from an old-line Lebanese merchant family like Bayouth or Beshara or Coury or Elias or Saied. The French teacher from my high school is Jewish and from Morocco and has lived in Oklahoma for at least 30 years. Wouldn't he be a good pick for such a council?

I may be wrong, and I haven't checked every name on the list, but I'd be willing to bet every one of the board members is a Muslim. Here are a couple who are for sure. I'll check the other names and add info here as I find it.

Dr. Riaz Ahmad, a biology professor at University of Central Oklahoma, is quoted in a departmental newsletter: "We have also been to Mecca, Saudi Arabia twice to do pilgrimage."

Malaka A. Elyazgi's husband Mohamed was quoted as a spokesman for the mosque in Norman following the October 1, 2005, suicide bombing on the OU campus. He was a business partner in a small shop in Oklahoma City with Mufid Abdulqader, who was indicted as a fundraiser for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, of which Abdulqader's half-brother is the supreme political leader.

(Abdulqader's story is frightening. He was a civil engineering student at OSU, worked at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and then went to work as an engineer with the City of Dallas. In his spare time, his rock band performed at Hamas fundraisers, where he sang lyrics like, "With Koran and Jihad, we will gain our homes back, hey, hey, hey! My precious eyes are for Palestine, the agony of death is precious, killing Jews . . . Death to Jews, is precious. Jews will not fear threats, only action. So Hamas, hit them with the shoe bottoms of Islam and Hamas!")

So why would Gov. Brad Henry issue an executive order to set up a special council for Muslims, giving it a name designed to hide its true purpose?

Some further Googling turns up a story in Wednesday's Oklahoman explaining why OETA is airing "Islam in Oklahoma," and suggesting that I'm right in my assumption that the GEAAC is really all about Islam:

State Muslims challenge TV show
By Judy Gibbs Robinson
Staff Writer

Oklahoma Muslim leaders will respond this week to what they say were some inaccuracies in the recent public television series "America at a Crossroads."

The Governor's Ethnic-American Advisory Council requested a chance to set the record straight after previewing the series before it ran on the Oklahoma Educational Television Authority from April 15 through 20.

"We thought there were a couple of segments that did not put Islam in a positive light," said Marjaneh Seirafi-Pour, the council's chairman.

OETA Director John McCarroll agreed to let council members preview the series and gave them 30 minutes of air time starting at 9 p.m. Friday to respond.

"They were concerned there might be a backlash in Oklahoma because most of it did deal with Islamic extremists," McCarroll said.

Feedback to discussion

The station invited viewers to submit questions and comments and got about a dozen each day, McCarroll said. Those responses will form the backbone of a panel discussion by Sheryl Siddiqui of Tulsa, Imad Enchassi of Oklahoma City and David R. Vishanoff of Norman. OETA's Gerry Bonds will moderate.

Siddiqi is director of outreach/community relations for the Islamic Society of Tulsa. Enchassi is president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City. Vishanoff is a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The series

The Public Broadcasting Service series "America at a Crossroads" consisted of 11 documentaries exploring challenges confronting the United States in a post-9/11 world. Topics included the war on terrorism, conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the experience of American troops serving abroad and the struggle for balance in the Muslim world.

(Hat tip to American Infidel.)

The story has GEAAC speaking on behalf of the Islamic faith. GEAAC "requested a chance to set the record straight," because they "thought there were a couple of segments that did not put Islam in a positive light."

Over the weekend, I received an e-mail from the proprietor of Super Steve's Super Site, a Tulsa-based website devoted to amusement parks. He had some happy news about Bell's Amusement Park's progress toward clearing the fairgrounds location and getting their rides stored in hopes of reopening elsewhere.

Tulsa Steel Services Corporation volunteered a day of free services -- "tools, manpower, and expertise" -- which enabled them to get the White Lightning Log Ride dismantled. If Bell's gets at least half of the Zingo roller coaster and White Lightning down by May 15th, the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority will give them an additional month to finish clearing the site:

If half of both said rides are not taken down by May 15, Bell's will not be able to stay and finish the job, but if they can meet the deadline, they will have another month. Why this deadline is in effect beats me, as you would think the fairgrounds would want Bell's to completely remove everything for free, but remember how smart those in charge of the fair are. (Honestly, who kicks out a growing amusement park and puts a trailer park next door? And on fair property!?) Luckily, with Bell's extra help, meeting the deadline won't be a problem, and better yet, because of the skills and expertise of TSS, the ride will be able to be set up again after this removal - this would probably not have been possible before.

With some hope of retrieving their biggest rides for future use, the Bell family has announced that the park will reopen in 2008. Where hasn't yet been announced.

White Lightning is actually a bit of Forgotten New York in the heart of Tulsa. It is half of the log flume from the 1964 New York World's Fair. (The other half used to be at Dollywood in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.)

Stay tuned to Super Steve's Super Site for continuing coverage of the Bell's situation.

Thursday was election day across Britain, with voters picking local government councilors and members of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly.

For the first time, Scotland will be choosing local authority councilors using the single transferable vote (STV) method, a form of instant runoff voting that is designed to produce a proportional outcome. Rather than having a single member per council ward, each ward will elect three or four members. Voters will rank the candidates in order of preference. This same system is used for parliamentary elections in the Republican of Ireland and local government and European Parliament elections in Northern Ireland.

The change was authorized by the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004. Its passage was a condition set out by the Liberal Democrats for entering into a coalition government with Labour in the Scottish Parliament following the 2003 election.

Under the old system, with four or more parties competing in each ward, it was typical for the winning candidate to receive far less than 50% of the vote. The Vote Scotland website estimates that only 40% of the voters had the satisfaction of seeing their choice elected, but under STV, the number one choice of about 80% of the voters will wind up in office. (An Electoral Reform Society study on the most recent local election in Northern Ireland showed that 75% of first preferences went to candidates that were elected, and another 12% of first preferences were for a party that had at least one member elected from that constituency.)

Instead of doing a hand count, Scotland is using scanning machines which read and perform optical character recognition on hand-marked ballots. A company called DRS is providing the scanning technology, and the Electoral Reform Society, a non-partisan group that encourages adoption of STV, is helping to educate voters about the new system. If the voter's intent is uncertain, the scanner will capture an image of the ballot and transmit it to an election official, who will read and interpret it. In all cases, the paper ballot marked by the voter is preserved and available for hand-counting if necessary. (There ought to be a law against any automated counting or voting system that doesn't preserve a paper record which has been verified by the voter.)

The ERS study in Northern Ireland showed a high degree of voter satisfaction with the voting method and outcome. Spoiled ballot counts were nearly the same as in the last parliamentary election, which used the traditional X next to your candidate's name.

That same study also had some interesting notes on the strategies used by parties to maximize the number of seats they captured in a given constituency, with pictures of signs and handbills used by parties to instruct their voters. In Northern Ireland, each constituency had six seats up for election. The RTE website has detailed counts for each constituency, showing vote transfers as candidates were elected and eliminated. For example, here's the count for the North Antrim constituency, home turf for Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley. Despite the DUP's dominance, with 49% of first preferences, minority interests still were able to elect a representative. The DUP won three seats; Sinn Fein, the SDLP, and the Ulster Unionist Party won one each.

Things are a bit more complicated for Scottish voters. While the local elections are using STV, Scottish Parliament elections use a form of proportional representation called the additional member system. A voter votes for a specific candidate to represent his constituency, then casts a vote for a party's regional list of candidates. When all the votes are counted, a method is used to "top up" each party's number of seats in the region, so that the overall total is as close as possible to the proportion of votes cast for each party. The extra members for a party for a region are taken in order from a list of names supplied by party leadership, which means that these members aren't being elected by name by the public. You can see an example of both ballots and an attempt at an explanation from one of Scotland's local authorities, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles).

UPDATE 2007/05/04: Things did not go smoothly in Scotland. Three different votes with two different voting methods on two ballots caused some confusion, the scanners jammed on the paper ballots, and the software was having difficulty with "consolidating" the votes. That latter problem is surprising because it doesn't have anything to do with voter confusion or scanning problems. Consolidation is what's done once the ballots have been scanned and interpreted -- the process of counting first preferences and redistributing the surplus votes of elected candidates and the votes of eliminated candidates. That part should have already been perfected.

The good news, for those who believe in a United Kingdom, is that the Scottish Nationalists beat Labour but fell short of a majority of seats, and will have to solicit the support of parties that oppose secession in order to form a government. The other pleasant surprise is that the Conservatives, who have had their difficulties north of the Tweed in recent years, finished third, ahead of the Liberal Democrats.

The Conservatives had a great day south of the Tweed as well, taking about 40% of the vote in local elections and winning 50% of the more than 10,000 council seats up for election. Particular congratulations go to former MP Michael W. Bates, leader of the Tories' efforts to rebuild the party in the North of England. The Conservatives took control of several northern councils including Blackpool (gain from Labour), Chester, East Riding of Yorkshire, and South Ribble. I'll be interested in seeing the vote breakdown by region.

The map of England is increasingly blue, and that's a good thing. (I will never forgive USA Today for assigning red to the Republican Party in their famous county-by-county map of the 2000 presidential election. Red, the color of socialist parties everywhere, properly belongs to the Democrats.)

Here's what Conservative Party chairman Francis Maude had to say about the result:

Now that most of the results are in, it's clear that we've made a massive breakthrough. We now control over 200 councils across England - three times as many councils as Labour and the Lib Dems combined. What's more, we've made a great breakthrough in the North of England with more councils than Labour in the North West and Yorkshire.

We're now the only party that represents the whole of England. This is a great base on which we can build victory at the next election, taking our message of change, hope and optimism to more communities across the country.

This week's column in Urban Tulsa Weekly was a follow-on to Brian Ervin and Shannon O'Connell's story on the death of Eleazar Torres-Gomez in a dryer at Cintas's Tulsa laundry. My column explored the reasons why local media had downplayed this story and other local stories that received nationwide attention -- Jamal Miftah's expulsion from Tulsa's mosque, the OU suicide bomber, and the Tulsa Whirled's legal threats against this blog. Read the story, but here's a hint as to the answer: It's not a conspiracy, more a failure to see the forest for the trees.

Posted retrospectively on May 10, 2007, to complete the UTW archive category.

Last night we had an exceptionally noisy collection of creatures around our backyard pond. It has long been a popular gathering spot for American toads, but over the last three years it's started to attract tree frogs as well. We think there were at least four tree frogs at the pond last night, and at least a dozen toads. We discovered the frogs' favorite hiding places: They get a grip on the pond lining under the flat rocks that overhang the edge of the pond.

Pictures to come later, but for now, here's a 665 KB MP3 file of the toads and frogs singing. Better turn your volume down.

No, this is not satire (Hat tip: WorldMagBlog):

Former Gov. James E. McGreevey has started the process to become a priest in his newly adopted Episcopal faith and hopes to begin a three-year seminary program in the fall.

McGreevey, who often described himself as a devout Catholic while in public office, was officially received into the Episcopal religion on Sunday, at St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan, and is now part of the church's "discernment" phase that usually precedes any seminary work, said the Rev. Kevin Bean, vicar at St. Bartholomew.

While some commenters on the above linked article thought that McGreevey's history of corruption and dishonesty -- particularly cheating on his wife with a man, and putting said man on the public payroll as head of the state's homeland security office -- might disqualify him from the Episcopal priesthood, others suggested he was not only qualified, he was bishop material.

The retired bishop of McGreevey's diocese is the famous liberal theologian John Shelby Spong, who doesn't believe in the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ, the miracles recorded in the Bible, the authority of Scripture, or even the veracity of Scripture. It's unclear if he even believes in God by any conventional definition of the word.

Mr. Spong has been quoted in two recent Urban Tulsa Weekly articles on the growing influence of liberalism in Tulsa churches. Last week's article featured Carlton Pearson of New Dimensions Worship Center, Stephen McKee of Trinity Episcopal Church, and Bruce Ewing of Fellowship Bible Church. In the story, we learn that the pastor of the city's biggest Episcopal parish, like Spong, apparently believes Jesus is still dead.

"It's a very powerful, truthful story, but it's not literal," said McKee of the biblical accounts of Christ's sacrificial death on the cross and subsequent resurrection.

So it's truthful, but not actually true? Is that like truthiness?

In part 2, in this week's issue, we get this gem from Carlton Pearson, who abandoned the Christian faith for universalism and lost his congregation in the fallout, and whose new congregation meets at Trinity on Sunday afternoons:

I've never questioned the resurrection, but it wouldn't change my faith in God if they discovered Jesus' bones in a tomb.

And McKee elaborates on his views of Christ's resurrection:

When asked if he believes Christ was resurrected in the literal, bodily sense, McKee responded, "To answer that question is not important to me--'resurrection,' to me, is, because we believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, a life of following the resurrected Jesus is a life of caring about the things he cared about. Another is that, when God gives life, he gives it forever."

As for the traditional notion of a literal, bodily resurrection, McKee said, "I just can't believe it. There may have been a physical resurrection, and I would be very happy if there were, but it's not that important to me."

So what is the point of showing up on Sunday morning if Jesus is still dead? And why pretend to "believe" something that you don't really believe? Why recite the Nicene Creed if you don't believe any of it? Why chant, "Christ, have mercy," if he's dead and can't hear you?

Is it just so you can prance about in shiny vestments?

Trinity Episcopal Church is a beautiful place to spend time, but every shard of stained glass, every piece of statuary, every rib of every Gothic vault is meaningless garbage if Jesus was not literally, bodily raised from the dead.

Brian Ervin had the same question:

With objections like these in mind, Spong was asked: Without a literal resurrection, a personal God and the Bible as an external standard for belief and conduct, in what sense do your beliefs qualify as "Christian"? Why not just do away with Christianity altogether?

"That's a question that reveals a profound ignorance," answered Spong.

"I don't know of a single biblical scholar who takes the Bible literally or who believes in a literal, bodily resuscitation of Jesus," he said.

This is what we call evasion (insult the questioner instead of answering the question) and petitio principii. In Spong's world, anyone who takes the Bible literally isn't a biblical scholar. QED. And so's your old man.

As the folks at Kirk of the Hills are finding out, as the folks at the former Episcopal Parish of the Holy Spirit already found out, it's really all about real estate. The liberals could never build a denominational empire based on their doctrine of hopelessness. (If they could, they'd be competing with the Unitarians, who have a corner on that market.) So instead, they wormed their way into the seminaries and into the denominational hierarchies. Now the liberals own the buildings, and if a congregation that is faithful to the historic creeds and confessions chooses to withdraw from a now-liberal denomination, they lose their real estate (paid for by the parishoners, not the hierarchy) and their pastors lose their pensions.

It all reminds me of cowbirds. They wait until some other bird makes a nest and lays eggs. Then they take over the nest, destroy the eggs that were there, and lay their own eggs in a nest that some other bird built.

UPDATE: Mark Krikorian calls it chutzpah defined:

The female head of a church with a practicing homosexual bishop planning to "marry" his lover, a church that could accept into seminary the adulterous homosexual governor of New Jersey, a church that embraces splitting open babies' skulls and vacuuming their brains out, is complaining about Nigerian Anglican bishops coming to Virginia this weekend" to formally install the head of a parallel denomination, being a violation of ancient customs.

Well, sodomy and Moloch worship are pretty ancient.

TRACKBACK: A conservative Anglican blogger calls McKee's comments about the incarnation "More Schoriesque traditionalism" (referring to the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA Katharine Jefferts Schori and her comments mentioned by Mark Krikorian above):

It’s all just symbolism, after all, right? Part of a Mediterranean myth-structure (based on ancient fertility cults) that uses imagery of resurrection to illustrate the regenerative power of hope and forgiveness and compassion for the individual “believer.” Sure, Jesus is “risen” in that sense–he “lives on” in the hearts of those who, as Father McKee puts it, “care about the things he cared about.” Like global warming! I don’t know, though. Somehow I tend to be slightly skeptical of anyone who claims to understand Christianity more deeply than St. Paul did: “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” The logic of that statement seems solid, and brutally honest, to me; I suppose Bishop Spong would say that it reveals “profound ignorance” on the part of that cranky old Paul of Tarsus.

I'm sure Bishop Spong has no use for Paul the apostle whatsoever.

See Dubya at Hot Air links to the Washington Times story about the installation of Martyn Minns as the presiding bishop of a parallel conservative Anglican denomination in America, a mission of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. Yes, African Christians are planting churches in pagan America, and it has some of the pagans a bit upset.

Sometime ago, I got an e-mail from someone who stumbled across the long list of things I've written here about western swing music. The e-mail came from John England, who fronts a Nashville-based band called the Western Swingers. John asked me if I'd like a free CD, and I said, "Of course!"

John sent me a copy of Swinging Broadway, released in 2003. The whole family has been enjoying it for a couple of weeks now, and by whole family I mean everyone from the 16 month old toddler to Mom and Dad. The CD passes a couple of key quality tests:

(1) The baby bounce test: If the music makes the baby bounce up and down in his high chair, it's good stuff. In particular, "Your Turn to Cry," "Stumbling," and "Little Red Wagon" got the little one grinning and bobbing.

(Not just any music will make our kids bounce. When the oldest one was about eight months old, we went to a barbecue place we'd never tried before. The food was good, but it happened to be karaoke night. The baby bounced to the radio music that was being played before karaoke began, but he stopped when the first amateur balladeer started singing.)

(2) The humming/whistling/singing test: I've caught Mom and the two big kids humming or singing "Won't you ride in my little red wagon?"

My favorite cut on the disc is the instrumental "Stumbling," with its tight guitar ensemble work and rare bass and drum solos. For just six guys, they make a big, full sound.

The Western Swingers play most of their dates in and around Nashville, including a weekly gig at Robert's Western World on Broadway. The next time they'll be anywhere near Tulsa will be June 14 at the Legends of Western Swing Festival in Wichita Falls, Texas. (It's only 240 miles away!)

You can hear a few of their songs and find a list of upcoming dates on their MySpace profile. If you love western swing, you'll love the Western Swingers.

Fairgrounds annexation: Still no action from the Mayor, who has until the end of this week to sign or veto. The scrivener's error that reset the 15-day clock was a failure to specify to which council district the newly annexed territory would be assigned. I supposed everyone thought that was obvious, as it's surrounded by Council District 4 on all four sides.

City budget: The Mayor will submit her proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2007-08 to the Council at the 10:00 a.m. urban development committee meeting, with a full presentation to follow at the regular meeting on Thursday night. With the fire district tax dead (a fact the Whirled didn't get around to reporting until Saturday), there will have to be some creative juggling to get the books to balance. Rumors are that proposed spending will grow faster than the rate of inflation and that the arena operating costs will be worse than previously acknowledged.

Also on the council committee agendas: During the 8:00 a.m. meeting, a presentation on the FY '08 operating budget for the BOk Center. During the 10:00 a.m. meeting, Councilor Turner's proposal to require the public display of sales tax permits, the rezoning of the SE corner of 11th Street and 161st East Ave. for residential and commercial use (currently the Brashear Stables; the TMAPC voted 4-4 on the rezoning in a rare tie), a discussion of the 2006 Police Department Manpower Report, and a property tax increase.

Yeah, you read that right. City of Tulsa property owners will have their millage go up enough to cover the latest $6.125 million installment of the city's $14.5 million settlement with Arvin McGee, who spent 12 years in prison for crimes he didn't commit because of what a jury ruled was Tulsa police misconduct. The Council has no choice but to commit the money to pay the settlement.

Brad Henry veto watch: The first attempt to override Henry's veto of pro-life SB 714 failed, because of a switcheroo by Shawnee Sen. Charlie Laster and a longer term flip-flop by Sand Springs Sen. Nancy Riley, who promised in her first race in 2000, "absolutely NO STATE FUNDING FOR ABORTION." Henry protected the interests of his trial lawyer buddies by vetoing SB 507, a comprehensive lawsuit reform bill that incorporated most of the provisions he had previously championed. Brandon Dutcher says there's a link: Laster insisted on the tort reform veto in exchange for his SB 714 flip-flop.

The National Association of Manufacturers is watching Oklahoma's progress on lawsuit reform very closely. And here's a fact sheet from the State Chamber outlining the key points of SB 507. (Hat tip: Point of Law.)

And after returning tanned and rested from Spring Break, missing the successful conclusion of budget negotiations, Henry has now vetoed not only the legislature's budget, but five agency bills that matched his own budget proposal.

Today should see passage of Oklahoma's landmark immigration enforcement bill, HB 1804. If it passes, it will be headed to the governor's desk.

UPDATE: Where was I this morning? Oversleeping. I thought I had two alarms set, but somehow neither one went off. We'll try again tomorrow morning at 6:10.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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