February 2008 Archives

This week in Urban Tulsa Weekly, a preview of Tuesday's Tulsa City Council primary election and a look down the turnpike at Oklahoma City's vote on "MAPS for Millionaires" -- the 15-month, one-cent sales tax to upgrade the five-year-old Ford Center for an NBA team. There's also a brief tribute to the late, longtime District 2 City Councilor Darla Hall, and a plug for Saturday night's Bob Wills' Birthday celebration at Cain's Ballroom.

On the MAPSforMillionaires.org website, there's a scan of a "vote yes" mailer featuring a photo and a quote from former Mayor Kirk Humphreys. He's using religion to sell this NBA tax:

This vote on March 4th is about so much more than one building or one basketball team. It's about doing the right thing for our city -- creating the environment where we can grow together as families. But it's also about having a facility where we can come together as a community, for events like Women of Faith, Promise Keepers and others, and reach people in profound ways to promote our values as a city.

Of course, there's already a facility capable of hosting Women of Faith, Promise Keepers, and even Billy Graham -- the Ford Center. Those events have already been hosted there. It's hard to understand how new locker rooms, NBA team offices, and a separate NBA practice facility miles away will make the arena more conducive to mass Christian conferences and rallies. Shame on Kirk Humphreys.

While Oklahoma City prepares to dole out more corporate welfare, a Tulsa area legislator is trying to curb the practice. UTW's Brian Ervin reports that State Sen. Mike Mazzei, a Republican, wants to sunset the large number of special tax credits which are targeted to favored businesses. The bill, SB 2024, would ensure that the tax credits are scrutinized on a regular basis. Mazzei says combined they amount to $1 billion a year in lost revenue. The state's total budget is only $7 billion. Mazzei notes that all these tax incentives for economic development haven't amounted to much in the way of good jobs for Oklahomans.

The story also reports an example of unintended consequences in tax credits:

Investors managed to discover some loopholes in two tax credit programs, enabling them to fleece the state of Oklahoma for as much as $66 million in 2005, according to estimates by the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

State officials noticed a steep and sudden increase in requests for certain tax credits that year, prompting lawmakers to look into the matter to discover what Gov. Brad Henry later called "an accounting shell game."

The tax credits in question were designed to encourage investment in Oklahoma, but crafty investors discovered they could make instant profits of 100 to 500 percent by claiming the tax credits on borrowed money.

State Treasurer Scott Meacham outlined a scenario to illustrate the problem: investors could put up $10 million of their own money for a project, and then borrow another $115 million. They could then apply for a 30 percent tax credit (if the project is in a rural area, while urban projects' have a 20 percent tax credit) for the $125 million and get $37.5 million from the state: which is a 375 percent profit at taxpayers' expense.

It is and was illegal to use borrowed money to fund business ventures, but the investors were able to get around that law by creating layers of limited liability companies with the same board of directors, so no actual laws were broken, so no one was prosecuted.

Thank you, Sen. Mike Mazzei. Expect to see him take some arrows from those who have been on the corporate welfare dole from years.


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Words elude me at a time like this. They never eluded him.

During the Carter years, in my high school's library, I first encountered National Review, the magazine he founded. His influence shaped both my political philosophy and my idea of how politics ought to be discussed and debated. His "Notes & Asides" -- brief responses to letters from readers -- was a favorite feature.

He rescued conservatism -- resistance both to secularism and collectivism -- from a narrow political ghetto. Before Goldwater, before Reagan, there's was Bill Buckley, freshly-minted Yale graduate, declaring his intention to "stand[] athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it."

Among the many tributes to him that have been posted today, the most frequent theme is not his erudition or his devotion to the conservative cause, but his kindness and his graciousness, as remembered by those who worked with him and those who encountered him as readers and admirers.

Robert N. Going:

I finally met Bill when he gave a series of four lectures at Russell Sage College around 1973 and he graciously hung around to engage anyone who cared to chat. And I like to chat.

We kept up a correspondence for a while, nothing earth shaking or worth reprinting, but the fact that he would bother to even answer every letter from every young hero-worshipper I found pretty amazing. He even invited me to lunch, but our schedules never meshed.

Two years ago, early the next morning after his big 80th birthday bash, he emailed me to thank me for what I had written about him on this blog, at a time when I'm sure he had about ten thousand thank you notes to write to people far more important than this lone blogger. It's hard not to like a guy like that.

Rod Dreher:

The thing that occurs to me at the moment is how civil he was. I've mentioned before in this space what a great example he was in that regard. On the occasions I had dinner with National Review editors at the Buckleys' townhouse in Manhattan, there would always be an Ur-liberal present. Once it was Ira Glasser, the former ACLU head, and the next time it was Mark Green, the NYC politician. It was fascinating to watch Bill -- and he insisted that he be called Bill, signaling to me to knock off the Mr. Buckley stuff -- interrogate these opponents with intellectual seriousness, but also with unfailing respect and courtesy. He didn't care for their political opinions, but he liked them as people, even as friends. He was the kind of man who, though absolutely clear in his dismissal of liberal ideas, would not stoop to trashing someone's character for the sake of political gain.

John J. Miller:

He's probably the most gracious man I've known. He is of course a legend on the Right, and legends can be intimidating. The first time we met, my agenda was simply to avoid saying anything dumb in his presence. Yet he instantly sought to put me at ease. He asked what I was writing about and seemed genuinely curious to know. He listened to me, rather than the other way around. To my surprise, I was comfortable around him--because he had a special ability for making folks like me feel that way.

Joe Sobran:

I once spent a long evening with one of Bill's old friends from Yale, whose name I won't mention. He told me movingly how Bill stayed with him to comfort him when his little girl died of brain cancer. If Bill was your friend, he'd share your suffering when others just couldn't bear to. What a great heart -- eager to spread joy, and ready to share grief!

Dean Abbott remembers meeting him at a book signing:

I was proud to introduce my new bride to him. That introduction brought out the real Buckley, I think. When he learned we hadn't been married long, he asked my wife about setting up house.

Here was a man who had shaped American culture, guided the modern conservative movement from its nascence, and conversed with presidents. Instead of talking about his accomplishments, he spent those few minutes asking my wife how she was decorating our home, what kind of pictures she liked to have on the walls, whether she preferred window blinds and drapes. We had come to meet him, to hear from him; and when we did, he only wanted to talk about us.

Myron Magnet sums him up:

In illness, he became, if possible, even more gallant. At a party he gave a while ago to celebrate the publication of his brother Jim's memoirs, he spoke with his usual wit, warmth, and eloquence--but seated on the stairs. He apologized for his ridiculous position, as he called it, explaining that he didn't feel well enough to stand and would now go back to bed. Not so long afterward, he replied to the condolence note I had sent when his vivid and unforgettable wife Pat died. Its whole point was to make me feel good, an act of gracious generosity that, under the circumstances, took my breath away....

Many will write, in due course, about Bill's towering importance in our nation's political and intellectual life. But beyond that, his whole being provided an answer to that ultimate question, How then should we live? From first hearing him speak at my high school when he was a young man, through watching him in sparkling, imperious, and rather intimidating action as his guest on Firing Line, I saw his character become ever more clearly the unmistakable, irreplaceable Buckley: witty, cultivated, playful, urbane, gracious, brave, zestful, life-affirming, tireless, and gallant--the incarnation of grace. He taught many not only how to think but also how to be.

Starbucks shut

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Starbucks is closing all of its 7,100 company-owned stores in the US at 5:30 local time tonight in order to train employees in the "Art of Espresso":

"Our unprecedented level of commitment to and investment in our people will provide them with the tools and resources they need to exceed the expectations of our customers," Howard Schultz, chairman, president and ceo said. "We believe that this is a bold demonstration of our commitment to our core and a reaffirmation of our coffee leadership."

The comprehensive educational curriculum for all U.S. store partners will provide a renewed focus on espresso standards that will help ensure the exceptional quality of every beverage. As a result, baristas will be better prepared to share their passion and knowledge with customers. Customers will be able to truly enjoy the art of espresso as Starbucks baristas demonstrate their passion to pull the perfect shot, steam milk to order, and customize their favorite beverage.

This unique in-store education event signals the company's focus on transforming the Starbucks Experience for both customers and partners. Starbucks hopes any customers inconvenienced by the early closures will see this as an investment that will have long term benefits. For their part, Starbucks partners will have an opportunity to connect and deepen their passion for coffee with the ultimate goal of transforming the customer experience.

There's no need for Tulsa coffee aficionados to be deprived of an excellent cup of coffee this evening. In fact, this is a great opportunity for habitual Starbucks customers to discover Tulsa's wealth of locally-owned coffee houses. Not only will you find great coffee, tasty food, and free Wi-Fi, you'll be keeping money in our community. Here are just a few, with my favorite two first on the list:

Coffee House on Cherry Street, 15th & Rockford (open 'til 11 pm)
Shades of Brown, 33rd & Peoria (open 'til midnight)
DoubleShot Coffee Company, 18th & Boston (open 'til 5 pm)
Kaffe Böna, 81st east of Memorial (open 'til 11 pm), 91st west of Yale (open 'til midnight)
Cafe de El Salvador, 5th west of Cheyenne in the Mayo Hotel (open 'til 6 pm)
Nordaggio's, Jenks Riverwalk, 81st & Lewis

Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments. Once you try some of these local coffee houses, you'll never be satisfied with Starbucks again.

MORE: Although DoubleShot closes at 5 pm, there's a special event for the store's Coffee Illuminati tonight. Brian Franklin, the roastmaster general, will be talking about his recent trip to the coffee plantations of Guatemala. You have to be a member of the Coffee Illuminati to attend, but the good news is it only costs a dollar, and you can sign up online. (No dancing naked in front of a burning human effigy required.)

Gary Shore, longtime meteorologist at KJRH in Tulsa, died today of a heart attack in Sioux City, Iowa. He was 55.

Shore changed the TV weather business in Tulsa forever. While he wasn't the first professional meteorologist on the air in Tulsa -- Don Woods has that distinction -- his hiring represented a shift toward putting the science of forecasting in front of the viewers.

I remember seeing his first forecast on a TV in some storefront in the lower level of Southroads Mall. (Not Looboyles, but right next to it, I think.) We joked about his intro the next day at school: "How's the weather, Gary?" "Scary!"

He was only 25 when he started at what was then KTEW (now KJRH) in 1978, where he was chief meteorologist until 1995. Shore later worked at KWMJ-53 in Tulsa, then moved on to Huntsville, working for the last six and a half years at KCAU in Sioux City. A couple of memories from his co-workers:

"I always got a kick out of Gary. He had such a broad knowledge, and a LOVE of the weather, that he could talk about it forever. When ever we had time to fill, we knew we could count on Gary to fill the time. A lot of people didn't realize just how much Gary liked it here. He loved how crazy the weather could be here." -- Anchor Larry Wentz.

"Gary always had a song in his heart. No matter if he was on his way into work or just walking down the hall, he was always humming a tune. It was that love of life that he brought to his weather forecasts and to Siouxland." -- Anchor Jenna Rehnstrom.

Gary Shore had fond memories of his time in Tulsa and is remembered fondly here as well.

The weather won't be very interesting where he's headed, but that'll just open up more time for singing. May he rest in peace.

(Found via the TulsaNow Forum.)

MORE: Dan Satterfield remembers the man to whom he owes his career:

I first met Gary Shore in the Summer of 1979. I had written him a letter asking if by chance he needed a weather intern. I was a second year college student majoring in Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma.

Gary was the Chief Meteorologist at the NBC affilliate KJRH TV in Tulsa. He had taken the town by storm. He had a Masters degree in Meteorology, and had already nailed some incredible forecasts. One in particular I remember is his forecast of three inches of snow. The local NWS office was forecasting flurries and so was every other TV guy in town. Not Gary, He was insistent that we were in for a significant snow fall.

Tulsa had 3 inches and Gary was the talk of the town....

I stood up at his wedding and he was best man at mine. We kept in touch and if I ever had a really tough snow forecast, I always gave him a call. Most of the time I had it right- because I learned from the best.

I do mean the best. I know of no one who was a better forecaster. Many people in Mannford Oklahoma owe there lives to his Tornado warning and there many other towns where people can say the same. There are a several people who are now working in cities big and small as forecasters both on air and off who owe Gary a debt of gratitude.

(Via Bubbaworld.)

STILL MORE: KJRH has a tribute page to Gary Shore, with a brief clip from a promo from his days at Channel 2. They also link to a tribute section of their forum and a tribute page on the KCAU website.

Here is a summary of the pre-primary Form C-1 ethics reports filed with the Tulsa City Clerk's office by 5 p.m. today, the deadline for the pre-primary filing for next Tuesday's Tulsa City Council races:


Jack R. Henderson:

Carryover = $7,029.69
Contributions = $2,879.00
Expenditures = $2,532.38

Total of contributions over $200 = $1,000.00
Total of contributions $200 or less = $1,879.00

$1,000 - Kevin Anderson

Emanuel Lewis:

Carryover = $0
Contributions = $14,600.00
Expenditures = $3,176.55

Total of contributions over $200 = $13,500.00
Total of contributions $200 or less = $1,100.00

$2,500 - Robert Coretz, Steven & Karen Mitchell
$2,000 - Joseph and Kath Craft
$1,000 - Daniel Zeligson, Melinda Dandridge, Bobby Woodard, Daniel Ellinor, Emmet Richards
$500 - Emanuel & Regina Lewis, Henry G. Kleemeier Trust, Deacon & Piper Deacon


Roscoe Turner:

Carryover = $103.00
Contributions = $6,610.00
Expenditures = $1,979.13

Total of contributions over $200 = $4,050.00
Total of contributions $200 or less = $2,560.00

$1,000 - Greg Wolter, Joan Anderson
$500 - CWA COPE PAC, Jorge Prats,
$300 - Elmer Hemphill
$250 - George Krumme, Pam Cox, Frank Henke


David Patrick:

Carryover = $5,226.03
Contributions = $5,950.00
Expenditures = $2,398.23

Total of contributions over $200 = $2,150.00
Total of contributions $200 or less = $3,800.00

$500 - Joe Westervelt, David White
$400 - Ruth Kaiser Nelson
$250 - Jim Norton, John Brock, Kay Payer


Maria Barnes:

Carryover = $2,698.08
Contributions = $16,283.63
Expenditures = $4,646.08

Total of contributions over $200 = $11,664.63
Total of contributions $200 or less = $4,619.00

$1,464.63 - Kathryn L. Taylor (including $464.63 in-kind donation)
$1,000 - David Johnson, George W. & Edwynne F. Krumme, Burt B. Holmes, David C. White
$500 - George B. Kaiser, James R. & Lisa Mace Perrault, Henry Zarrow, Just Progress PAC
$300 - Harry W. Allison
$250 - Bruce R. or Brenda R. Magoon, Larry or Sandy Mocha, Peter M. Walter, Michael P. or Elizabeth M. Johnson, Gloria McFarland, Gail Z. Richards, James G. East & Kim Holland, P. Vincent or Sally S. Lovoi, Ruth K. Nelson Revocable Trust, Bruce G. or Nancy Bolzle
$200 - Mr. or Mrs. Jack Zarrow, Rober Justin & Kimberly Norman, Julius M. or Joy Bankoff, William J. Doyle, III, Bobby F. or Beverly H. Latimer, Eugene & Frances Pace, Thomas J. or Donna L. Snyder

John L. Nidiffer:

Carryover = $0
Contributions = $5,100.00
Expenditures = $3,159.78

Total of contributions over $200 = $5,000
Total of contributions $200 or less = $100

$5,000 - John L. Nidiffer


Jason Eric Gomez:

Carryover = $0
Contributions = $1,150.00
Expenditures = $0.00

Total of contributions over $200 = $1,000
Total of contributions $200 or less = $150

$1,000 - William Jackson

Jay Matlock:

Carryover = $0
Contributions = $958.08
Expenditures = $313.09

Total of contributions over $200 = $900.00
Total of contributions $200 or less = $58.08

$900 - Jay Matlock


Dennis K. Troyer:

Carryover = $1,822.57
Contributions = $4,760.00
Expenditures = $2,642.15

Total of contributions over $200 = $3,250
Total of contributions $200 or less = $1,510

$1000 - T/D Thompson, P. Guest
$500 - J & M Bumgarner, C. Bennett
$250 - C. R. Keithline


Kevin Boggs:

Carryover = $0
Contributions = $350.00
Expenditures = $95.00

Total of contributions over $200 = $0
Total of contributions $200 or less = $350


G. T. Bynum:

Carryover = $0
Contributions = $45,283.28
Expenditures = $9,643.09

Total of contributions over $200 = $43,798.28
Total of contributions $200 or less = $1,485.00

[Bynum's contributor list reads like a Who's Who of Tulsa. I will add it here later.]

Notes and analysis:

Keep in mind that the reporting period ended on February 18, so any contributions and expenditures in the week since then won't necessarily be shown on these reports. Some reports may be missing because the candidate did not raise or spend more than $500 before the end of the reporting period.

Once again, District 9 attracts the most money. Bynum's war chest to date is comparable to that of Cason Carter and Jeff Stava two years ago.

Note also how well financed Emanuel Lewis is. Among donors who gave more than $200, only two of them have addresses in Council District 1 -- himself and $1,000 donor Bobby Woodard. But Woodard's address, 3606 N. Cincinnati, does not appear to be a residence. The rest of his $201+ donors live in 74114, 74105, 74120, (all midtown), 74136 (south Tulsa), and 74012 (Broken Arrow). So at least $12,000 of $13,500 of Lewis's major contributions, and at least $12,000 of $14,600 total contributions (82%), are from outside District 1.

RSU lockdown

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Tyson Wynn of WynnBlog has been delving into a mysterious lockdown that occurred at Rogers State University in Claremore last Tuesday, due to an unspecified threat. RSU didn't say anything publicly about the lockdown until Thursday.

WynnBlog learned that a student had been taken into custody for mental health evaluation, and the Claremore police cited health privacy laws in keeping the police report of the incident from the public. The identity of the individual was available, and some OSCN research revealed that three protective orders against Tywone Parks, an RSU alumnus, had been sought and granted.

Today, WynnBlog has the specifics provided on the protective order applications, including that Parks "stated that he knows where to hide bodies," "decapitated a dog and left the head on a doorstep and blood on a door," and " stated that he wanted to decapitate an individual, store her head in his freezer, and feed her to her sisters."

Tyson Wynn notes that the official story -- the individual was never on campus and the lockdown was merely a precaution -- doesn't square with what is asserted by those who applied for the protective orders.

Keep an eye on WynnBlog for further developments.

UPDATE (2008/02/26): Tywone Parks was taken to Rogers County Jail on Feb. 22.

Midtown City Council forum

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Candidates for the two midtown Tulsa City Council Districts, 4 and 9, will present their views on neighborhood issues tonight, Feb. 25th, at 7:00 p.m., at All Souls Unitarian Church, 30th & Peoria. Doors open at 6:30. I expect you'll hear a number of questions about infill and zoning issues, such as neighborhood conservation districts and teardowns.

The forum is sponsored by Brookside Neighborhood Association, PreserveMidtown, Coalition of Historic Neighborhoods, and the South Peoria Neighborhood Connection Foundation.

Mosey on over to On the Other Foot to see a grand old Hollywood western: Tex Ritter with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys in Take Me Back to Oklahoma (1940). You've probably seen clips from the movie of Tex and Bob riding a stagecoach and singing "Good Old Oklahoma" or Bob and the Playboys performing the Lone Star Rag. Joel has the whole movie and a great lead-in description to boot.

Don't forget: Bob Wills Birthday celebration is next Friday and Saturday night at Cain's Ballroom, with the Texas Playboys, led by Leon Rausch and Tommy Allsup, performing on Saturday night only. No better place to hear Bob Wills's music than the Mother Church of Western Swing, and no better band to play it than the boys who played with Bob back when.

Nils the Mac Man

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I'm very pleased to welcome a new advertiser to BatesLine. Nils the Mac Man is a member of the Apple Consultants Network, with four certifications from Apple in hardware and software. Nils handles repairs, upgrades, troubleshooting, and one-on-one tutoring to help you get the most out of your Mac.

I got to know Nils a few years ago, when he was a producer on KFAQ. Often the show would feature clips from city meetings which he had gleaned from TGOV. I was impressed that he was using his computer to capture video from cable and then extracting and editing the audio for use on the air.

That same initiative and Macintosh savvy is now available to answer your questions and solve your problems. Just click through to NilsTheMacMan.com or call Nils at 918-794-2645.

My column in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly is about two aspects of city planning: the planning failure that resulted in a jail and homeless services being located right between revitalizing older neighborhoods and an arts and entertainment district, and the need for a land-use planning tool like neighborhood conservation districts to permit infill while protecting the character of our older neighborhoods. You can read more about the idea on the Preserve Midtown website.

In my column, I mention the notion of using lawsuits instead of zoning to regulate land use. This idea was proposed in "Beyond Zoning: Land Use Controls in the Digital Economy," a 1998 paper by John A. Charles, Environmental Policy Director for Cascade Policy Institute. It sounds appealing in theory, but I think it would be a practical disaster, as I point out in the column.

Also in this week's UTW, Kent Morlan, who both resides and owns a business downtown, points out the waste in the way downtown streets have been rebuilt. I like the idea of reopening closed streets and turning one-way streets into two-way streets, but the massive use of concrete pavers and other streetscaping has overcomplicated what should have been a simple idea.

Obama akbar!

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There is no God but Obama and Mrs. Obama is his prophet!


(AP photo from April 16, 2007, found at Salon.)

From the First Lady aspirant's recent speech at UCLA:

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

You have to stay at the seat at the table of democracy with a man like Barack Obama not just on Tuesday but in a year from now, in four years from now, in eight years from now, you will have to be engaged.

Jim Geraghty reacts:

Does anybody on the left side of the aisle find this rhetoric a little creepy? Isn't this describing an authoritarian presidency way beyond anything George W. Bush has done or proposed?

Do the powers of the presidency really encompass everything Michelle says Obama wants and plans to do? Based on this rhetoric, isn't he actually running for messiah?

Here's the non-sailor-blush-inducing part of Ace's reply:

Pardon the overstatement, but this is creepy stuff, suggesting, as it does, that your lives are now required to have meaning and purpose -- and that the government will be providing that meaning and purpose to you.

Via See-Dubya, who says it gets weirder:

But that's not what got some people I know fired up. My dad called me from Oklahoma last night to ask if I'd seen the Obamessiah's victory speech. I hadn't--still haven't--but the laid-back See-Dad was seriously freaked, noting that the rhetoric and atmosphere was "like a Nazi rally", "full-bore socialism", "like Stalin", and the guy kept it up for 45 minutes like Castro. And as soon as it was over a family friend, a cattleman of some means and again, a calm demeanor, had called him to ask "Did you see that?"

There's a total lunar eclipse over North America tonight. The moon enters the earth's shadow at 7:43 p.m. CST. Totality begins at 9:01 CST and ends at 9:52. The moon will be completely free of earth's shadow by 11:09 p.m. CST.

Tulsans seem set to miss the selenian show. As I type this, the sky is completely overcast.

(Via WynnBlog.)

UPDATE: Missed the whole thing. It stayed cloudy here. But I got to read this cool story about how Columbus used a predicted lunar eclipse to awe the natives and save himself and his crew. (Via Crunchy Con.)

A major league sports team doesn't add squat to a city's economy.

That's not something uttered by an opponent of Oklahoma City's proposed one-cent sales tax, which would raise $110 million for upgrades to the very new Ford Center and pay for other facilities to lure an NBA team to the city.

That's from the owners of the team they hope to lure to OKC. Seattle SuperSonics owners asserted their team's economic uselessness in a recent court brief, as reported in the January 18, 2008, Seattle Times:

The team made the argument in papers filed in U.S. District Court this week, seeking mediation or a speedy trial to allow the team to abandon city-owned KeyArena before 2010. In the documents, Sonics' attorneys dispute the city's contention that the team's departure would have a broad and hard-to-quantify impact.

"The financial issue is simple, and the city's analysts agree, there will be no net economic loss if the Sonics leave Seattle. Entertainment dollars not spent on the Sonics will be spent on Seattle's many other sports and entertainment options. Seattleites will not reduce their entertainment budget simply because the Sonics leave," the Sonics said in the court brief.

The Sonics also said they would produce a survey showing that 66 percent of Seattleites say the team's exit would make "no difference" in their lives, while only 12 percent said they'd be "much worse off."

Those sentiments belie what Sonics' boosters -- and sports teams in general -- have argued when asking for taxpayer help to build a new arena. Teams and their supporters generally portray professional sports as a boon, bringing a city millions in revenue, hundreds of jobs and immeasurable civic pride.

I wonder if Messrs. McClendon and Bennett intend to make this a part of their case to Oklahoma City's voters in the upcoming MAPS for Millionaires vote on March 4.

Via Field of Schemes, a blog about sports facility extortion, which I've now added to the BatesLine blogroll headlines page.

Cool and unusual

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FlightGlobal.com reports that American Airlines is looking for a 150-seat narrowbody aircraft to replace its fleet of MD-80s and 757s. The engines for this new short-haul fleet will need to make less noise, consume less fuel, and produce a lower volume of emissions. CFM (the GE / Snecma joint venture) and Rolls Royce are considering open-rotor technology for their next generation jet engines. Instead of the fan blades being inside a cowling, they'd be exposed. (Here's a photo of an open-rotor engine.)

This technology, and the promise that this could give a 25% to 30% improvement in efficiency, "seems to be really a paradigm shift in fuel consumption", says [American Airlines executive VP of operations Bob Reding].

He notes, however, that questions still need to be answered concerning the maximum cruise speed that aircraft can fly with open rotors, the noise characteristics and certification requirements.

"There will probably be some blade-out requirements," says Reding, adding that since certification requirements are not yet written "that is certainly one of the unknowns and certainly one of the issues that will have to be addressed".

By "blade-out" I think he means, "What happens if a rotor blade breaks off and goes spinning through the air like a ninja's throwing star?" Given that the United Air Lines DC-10 Sioux City crash was caused by fan blades from a cowled engine severing the hydraulic lines to the control surfaces, that could be an important thing to test.

Who's in the clink?

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Curious to know who the Tulsa County Sheriff has in custody? The Tulsa County Inmate Information Center lets you search the database of the currently incarcerated. That same page has links to the city and county sex offender lists. The last link on the page -- Inmate Population Report -- produces a PDF file with the complete list of inmates and why they're being held. It's very interesting reading, especially to see how many are being held for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (search for "ICE Hold") and what crimes these alleged illegal aliens are alleged to have committed.

An electrical fire early Sunday morning shut down production of the Tulsa World. 60,000 subscribers will get the full paper, but the rest will get only the classifieds, TV World, and ad inserts, all of which are printed and assembled earlier in the week. (Oddly enough, a lot of people buy the paper just to get those pieces.)

You can still read the whole paper -- the PDF version is online. Thankfully, that means you don't have to miss the irony of the front page headline "Downtown among safest areas" juxtaposed with "A man is killed after a disturbance at a downtown club." You also don't have to miss the latest above-the-fold story about Terry Simonson's moonlighting.

Best wishes to the World in getting back up and running, but this incident is bound to start some minds going: If they can deliver the paper to their customers, ads and all, without physically printing and delivering the paper, should they really bother fixing the printing presses?

My column in this issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly is about the news that the Tulsa 66ers will be moving to Bixby and what that means for the prospects of luring the Tulsa Drillers to downtown Tulsa. The same factors that make Bixby, Regal Plaza, and the SpiritBank event center attractive to minor-league basketball will be present in Jenks's River District development. Global Development's East End project, with surrounding mixed-use development, would have come closer to the situation the 66ers will enjoy in Bixby (minus the demographic advantages). Can an isolated ballpark in downtown present as appealing a situation to Drillers owner Chuck Lamson as a Jenks stadium surrounded by restaurants and nightclubs? Can Tulsa offer a better downtown location? Is a Tulsa Landing, with a ballpark on the river, still an option? And how do we keep family entertainment in central Tulsa if we can't keep families here? Reader Joe Gaudet posted this comment on the article:

You hit the nail on the head. When me and my wife moved here in 2000 with our two (then) small children we were intent on living in town. We interviewed school principals and studied real estate for six months plus. Our desire was to enroll the kids in Monte Cassino and try to live close by because we wanted our kids to be able to walk or bike to school in safety. The beginning of the school year forced us to make a decision and we selected a home in South Tulsa because there was much more house to be had for the money plus the Jenks school district had a great reputation. Our kids are teens now. One is in college and the other graduates High School in two years. My wife and I are planning to move in town then, that is providing we can find affordable housing to downsize to and public safety still remains an issue for us, especially as we get older. We do not carry concealed weapons and do not choose to. We do enjoy walking to entertainment and right now Brookside or Cherry St. looks to be the best option, except as Bixby and Jenks evolve the idea of a condo nearby starts to become an alternative. I am only citing my personal example but I am sure there are others like myself that would live in town if the key items were not repetitive issues: A) Public Safety B) Affordable Housing and C) Quality K-12 ed. Swanky loft living is attractive for young singles but if the goal is to get residential to support downtown retail and entertainment one must consider the needs of young families.

Also in this week's issue, a column by Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller about what might be done with Drillers Stadium when the Drillers move away. After speculating on the use of the ballpark as an outdoor music venue and a soccer stadium, she concludes with this surprising idea:

If there are no feasible ideas for retaining the stadium as a sports/music venue and the stadium has to come down, we could look to the private sector to develop a state-of-the-art family entertainment facility. Along those lines, perhaps there will come a time when the Fair Meadows Race Track is not the best usage of all the real estate currently used for the track, given that there are less than 30 live racing days a year and the rest of the time the property sits largely unused. If a good portion of the Expo Square real estate from 15th Street to 21st Street along Yale was cleared and opened for private development, it could create the perfect economic development climate to compliment the already great improvements happening at Expo Square.

Sounds like she thinks Fair Meadows is already a waste of space. Beyond that, anyone struck by the irony that the commissioner who led the charge to demolish Bell's Amusement Park thinks an amusement park at the fairgrounds would be a good idea? And who do you suppose would build a such a facility between 15th & 21st on Yale? Could it be the people who already lease the southern end of that strip for Big Splash?

... since you last visited Indie Tulsa? Well, friend, that's too long.

Emily the Red Fork Hippie Chick has posted two new reviews: Evelyn's Restaurant and True to You Bra Salon.

Evelyn's is a southern soul food restaurant on 74th East Avenue south of the Port Road. More specifically, it's a little ways south of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, in the midst of the Sparks Aviation complex. I ate there following Mike Huckabee's appearance in Tulsa. The food is terrific -- I had the chicken fried steak -- and the service is friendly and attentive.

If you fondly remember Wanda J.'s restaurant, you'll find the same kind of food at Evelyn's. You'll find Wanda J. at Evelyn's, too, behind the cash register.

The only downside, as Emily noted, is that the hours are strictly breakfast and lunch on weekdays.

From Pulpit Magazine, adapted from Alone with God by John MacArthur:

To "pray without ceasing" refers to recurring prayer, not nonstop talking. Prayer is to be a way of life -- you're to be continually in an attitude of prayer. It is living in continual God-consciousness, where everything you see and experience becomes a kind of prayer, lived in deep awareness of and surrender to Him. It should be instant and intimate communication -- not unlike that which we enjoy with our best friend.

To "pray without ceasing" means when you are tempted, you hold the temptation before God and ask for His help. When you experience something good and beautiful, you immediately thank the Lord for it. When you see evil around you, you ask God to make it right and to use you toward that end, if that is His will. When you meet someone who does not know Christ, you pray for God to draw that person to Himself and to use you to be a faithful witness. When you encounter trouble, you turn to God as your Deliverer.

Thus life becomes a continually ascending prayer: all life's thoughts, deeds, and circumstances become an opportunity to commune with your Heavenly Father. In that way you constantly set your mind "on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Colossians 3:2).

There's a lot of it about

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From the Centers for Disease Control, Norovirus Q&A, aka the "stomach flu":

The symptoms of norovirus illness usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and some stomach cramping. Sometimes people additionally have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults. Most people with norovirus illness have both of these symptoms.

Some salient points from the CDC information:

People infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days after recovery. Some people may be contagious for as long as 2 weeks after recovery. Therefore, it is particularly important for people to use good handwashing and other hygienic practices after they have recently recovered from norovirus illness.
Anyone can become infected with these viruses. There are many different strains of norovirus, which makes it difficult for a person's body to develop long-lasting immunity. Therefore, norovirus illness can recur throughout a person's lifetime. In addition, because of differences in genetic factors, some people are more likely to become infected and develop more severe illness than others.

So a child gets sick from one strain of norovirus, then seems to get over it in about 24 hours. He goes back to school, but he's still contagious. He's also still susceptible to infection by a different strain of norovirus.

The CDC page has information on how to prevent infection and on the importance of keeping the patient hydrated. The keys to preventing infection: Wash hands frequently and clean surfaces with chlorine (bleach) based cleansers.

We've been dealing with it with one child or another for about 2 weeks, and the doctor's office says it's pretty widespread, with children going back to school before they're fully well and non-contagious.

Donkey songs

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This Hillary jingle seems to have zoomed straight out of the '70s. Kept expecting to see little pre-op Michael Jackson spinning and strutting with Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon.

As Democratic presidential fan jingles go, I still rather listen to (and watch!) Super Obama Girl:

(For all her super power, Super Obama Girl wasn't able to zip over to her polling place on Super Tuesday.)

Actually, this might be the best Democratic presidential music video: Christmas with Mike Gravel. (And he's still in the race!) (Mild language warning.)

One more, from the makers of Super Obama Girl. This makes John McCain look kind of lovable:

Choice Remarks

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Oklahoma is lagging behind the rest of the nation in offering a variety of affordable K-12 educational options to our children and their parents. In hopes of improving the situation, there's now an organization called Oklahomans for School Choice, with an official blog called Choice Remarks, headed up by Brandon Dutcher, vice president for policy for the Oklahoma Center of Public Affairs.

The blog's sidebar offers a synopsis of the issue:

School choice refers to any education policy which allows parents to choose the safest and best schools for their children, whether those schools are public or private. As state school Superintendent Sandy Garrett has correctly noted, "We have a lot of choice already in Oklahoma." Oklahoma is fortunate to have interdistrict choice, intradistrict choice, charter schools, magnet and specialty schools, privately funded K-12 vouchers, a thriving homeschool sector, and more. Unfortunately, we don't yet have what many other states have--vouchers or tax credits which allow thousands of students to choose private schools.

I've been invited to contribute to the blog, so as I come across news items relating to charter schools, tuition vouchers, scholarship fund tax credits, and other means of expanding parental choice in K-12 education, I'll be posting them at Choice Remarks.

Potomac Primary

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Tomorrow, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia will vote in a sort of regional presidential primary -- very handy for the campaigns, who will be able to maximize the value of ad time purchased on Washington television. On the Republican side, Virginia and DC are winner-take-all, awarding 63 and 16 delegates respectively. Maryland is winner-take-all by congressional district: 3 delegates for winning each of eight congressional districts, and 13 statewide delegates. The RNC members for all three jurisdictions, who are ex officio national convention delegates, will be bound to the winner of their respective jurisdictions.

Virginia has an open primary. Will centrist, Independent types, John McCain's electoral bread and butter, decide the Republican primary is all but over and decide to use their influence in the Hillary-Obama war? Will that allow Huckabee to sneak in and take Virginia?

Maryland and DC have systems much like Oklahoma's -- they have closed primaries, the registration books close a few weeks before the election, and there are restrictions on when you can change parties.

John McCain, by my estimate, has only 683 delegates bound to vote for him. Including tomorrow's delegates at stake, there remain only 725 bindable delegates to be allocated. He will need to win 70% of those remaining delegates in order to be guaranteed the nomination.

Last Saturday, Mike Huckabee was the only delegate winner, taking the 36 Kansas delegates at stake. The Washington event was a non-binding straw poll.

Huckabee might have won 20 more in the Louisiana primary, but he fell short of the required 50% of the vote. That means all of Louisiana's delegates will be elected at Saturday's state convention. They will not be bound in any way, but the state convention will likely choose national delegates based on presidential preference. Which candidate the state convention is likely to support is unclear, as the bulk of the delegates to the state convention were elected on a "pro-family, pro-life" uncommitted slate.

MORE: Jim Geraghty links to a good explanation of the actual process in Saturday's Washington State precinct caucuses and why the reported straw poll results are meaningless in determining the makeup of the state's delegation to St. Paul. What the Sound Politics blogger says about the Washington caucuses is true in other caucus states where non-binding straw polls have been taken, such as Iowa, Maine, Nevada, and Minnesota.

AT&T has announced a deal that with Starbucks that will, among other things, give AT&T broadband subscribers access to free Wi-Fi at the coffee chain's 7,000 company-owned US locations. That's in addition to AT&T basic Wi-Fi access already available at McDonald's and Barnes and Noble Bookstores. The switch-over from Starbucks' current provider will take the remainder of 2008. Having to pay for Wi-Fi is one of the reasons I avoid Starbucks in favor of locally-owned coffee houses. (Better coffee, later hours, a more interesting clientele, and not doing evil things like threatening a local coffee company over use of a generic term like Double Shot are other reasons I like local better.)

In order for an AT&T DSL subscriber to qualify for free basic AT&T Wi-Fi, you have to subscribe to at least the Express level of service (1.5 Mbps download). Check your bill: I started back when unlimited access to AT&T Wi-Fi (then called FreedomLink) was an extra $1.99 a month. They're still charging me for it, but they shouldn't, since I qualify for free access.

It'll be nice to have more Wi-Fi connections available in a pinch, but I expect I'll still make places like Coffee House on Cherry Street, Shades of Brown, Double Shot, and Cafe de El Salvador my caffeinated, wireless homes away from home.

(Emphasis added.)

From the Ash Wednesday sermon of a Capuchin monk, as related on The Dawn Patrol:

[W]e normally start Lent promising so much change for the better. Yet it is not (most frequently unatttainable) virtues that will save us, but God, and the thing is to be as close to Him as possible.

From the Letter to the Hebrews and the Gospel according to Luke:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. -- Hebrews 4:15-16

This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. -- Hebrews 7:22-25

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. -- Hebrews 10:19-23

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. -- Hebrews 11:6

"But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."' And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him." -- Luke 15:17-20

From Spurgeon's Faith's Check Book:

The nearer we come to God, the more graciously will He reveal Himself to us. When the prodigal comes to his father, his father runs to meet him. When the wandering dove returns to the ark, Noah puts out his hand to pull her in unto him, When the tender wife seeks her husband's society, he comes to her on wings of love. Come then, dear friend, let us draw nigh to God who so graciously awaits us, yea, comes to meet us.

Did you ever notice that passage in Isaiah 58:9? There the Lord seems to put Himself at the disposal of His people, saying to them, "Here I am." As much as to say -- "What have you to say to me? What can I do for you? I am waiting to bless you." How can we hesitate to draw near? God is nigh to forgive, to bless, to comfort, to help, to quicken, to deliver. Let it be the main point with us to get near to God. This done, all is done. If we draw near to others, they may before long grow weary of us and leave us; but if we seek the Lord alone, no change will come over His mind, but He will continue to come nearer and yet nearer to us by fuller and more joyful fellowship.

I'll close with a short excerpt from an article I just came across by Googling the phrase "draw near." I don't know anything about the author, so I won't offer a blanket endorsement of his site, but what I read here makes sense (even if it is somewhat awkwardly expressed) and it ties neatly back to the quote with which I began:

Purity becomes practical when we meet our need for the presence of God. Personal purity in our outward behavior is the result of continually quenching our thirsty desires with God and not by earthly means.

It is a continuous cycle. The more you draw near and quench your thirst with God the more you will experience purity. The more you experience purity the more you will feel the freedom you need to keep on staying in His "holy place" and drinking His presence.

Which comes first? Do you avoid all sin and then draw near? On a practical level it doesn't work that way....

The gist of the article is that as we keep ourselves apart from God out of our sense of shame, we try to fill the emptiness with more sin, which brings on more shame, and more alienation from God -- a vicious circle. If instead we trust that we are clothed in Christ's righteousness, if we draw near boldly and seek God's grace, we find that God satisfies our desires, starting a virtuous circle which causes us to purify ourselves and draw ever closer to Him.

The New York Times reports today on a trend: Federal courts are upholding locally-enacted immigration enforcement measures, such as Oklahoma's HB 1804, which went into effect on November 1, 2007, and a similar Arizona law that went into effect on January 1, 2008. Last year, several similar measures were struck down by the Federal courts.

After groups challenging state and local laws cracking down on illegal immigration won a series of high-profile legal victories last year, the tide has shifted as federal judges recently handed down several equally significant decisions upholding those laws.

On Thursday, a federal judge in Arizona ruled against a lawsuit by construction contractors and immigrant organizations who sought to halt a state law that went into effect on Jan. 1 imposing severe penalties on employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The judge, Neil V. Wake of Federal District Court, methodically rejected all of the contractors' arguments that the Arizona law invaded legal territory belonging exclusively to the federal government.

On Jan. 31, a federal judge in Missouri, E. Richard Webber, issued a similarly broad and even more forcefully worded decision in favor of an ordinance aimed at employers of illegal immigrants adopted by Valley Park, Mo., a city on the outskirts of St. Louis.

And, in an even more sweeping ruling in December, a judge in Oklahoma, James H. Payne, threw out a lawsuit against a state statute enacted last year requiring state contractors to verify new employees' immigration status. Judge Payne said the immigrants should not be able to bring their claims to court because they were living in the country in violation of the law....

Judge Payne of Oklahoma, ruling Dec. 12 on state laws that took effect in November, went furthest in questioning the rights of illegal immigrants.

"These illegal alien plaintiffs seek nothing more than to use this court as a vehicle for their continued unlawful presence in this country," he wrote. "To allow these plaintiffs to do so would make this court an 'abettor of iniquity,' and this court finds that simply unpalatable."

The Times story mentions ordinances in Hazelton, Pa., and Escondido, Ca., which were overturned in Federal court. Surprisingly, the Times notes the change in the trend from overruling to upholding without identifying the cause: Authors of the later legislation, like Oklahoma State Rep. Randy Terrill, studied the earlier court decisions and ensured that the new laws would avoid the same legal pitfalls.

(Via Michelle Malkin.)

Bixby Sixty-Sixers?

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The Tulsa World is reporting that the Sixty-Sixers, Tulsa's entry in the NBA Development League, may play next season at the new SpiritBank Events Center in Bixby. The SpiritBank center will seat 4,000 to 4,500 for basketball, not much smaller than the Expo Square Pavilion and plenty big for a team that draws about 2,000 fans a game. (See Dwayne Davis's cover story in the current issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly.)

I'm not surprised, and I wouldn't be surprised if either the Oilers or the Talons followed suit. Why not locate closer to families with children and more disposable income? Why not create a sense of excitement by playing in an arena you can come close to filling on a regular basis?

Tim Remy, the developer of the SpiritBank Events Center and Regal Plaza, the adjacent upscale shopping center, is showing that the private sector can build facilities for minor league sports and small conventions without a major public subsidy. True, the City of Bixby will give Remy a rebate of one cent of the sales taxes generated by the development over ten years, capped at $5.5 million. But the risk is all Remy's. He only gets the rebate if the development succeeds in generating new sales tax dollars.

From Clarence Thomas's memoir, My Grandfather's Son, p. 237:

Each day I left the Caucus Room tired, tormented, and anxious, and each day Virginia and I bathed ourselves in God's unwavering love. I knew that my team was doing all they could for me, but the long months of preparation had worn me down to a shadow of myself, and I knew that no human hand could sustain me in my time of trial. After years of rejecting God, I'd slowly eased into a state of quiet ambivalence toward Him, but that wasn't good enough anymore: I had to go the whole way. I recalled one of Daddy's sayings, "Hard times make monkey eat cayenne pepper." Now, with Virginia at my side, I ate the pepper of faith -- and found it sweet.

Psalm 57 showed me the way:

I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
until the disaster has passed....
I am in the midst of lions;
I lie among ravenous beasts --
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
They spread a net for my feet --
I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path --
but they have fallen into it themselves.

Just heard it again on Fox News: Karl Rove stated earlier in the week that Mike Huckabee would have to win 85% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination. I'm not sure how Rove came up with that number, but I looked through the remaining contests at thegreenpapers.com. Including today's events in Kansas and Louisiana, there are only 781 delegates remaining that will be bound to any candidate. John McCain currently has 683 delegates. McCain will have to win 72% of the remaining delegates that could be bound to a candidate in order to go into the convention with a sure majority.

The 608 unbound delegates will have been elected in caucuses and conventions and are more likely to reflect the GOP grassroots distaste for McCain's record. If Huckabee can win about 600 delegates, things could be interesting in St. Paul.

Kansas Republicans held their presidential caucuses today. The event might be better described as a party-run primary.

At the Iowa, Maine, and Nevada caucuses, a straw poll was taken, a "winner" was declared, but in fact no national convention delegates were bound to support any candidate. The process of selecting national convention delegates in those states will involve county, district, and state conventions, and at each phase, it will be up to those voting to decide whether presidential preference will play any part in their choice of delegates to represent their state in St. Paul in September.

But in Kansas, as in North Dakota and Montana on Tuesday, the results of the poll of caucus-goers will bind the national convention delegates to support a certain candidate. The winner in each congressional district will win three delegates, and the winner statewide, if he has also won two of the four CDs, will win all the at-large delegates, including the three national committee members. While the CD delegates would have been awarded to the top vote-getter, even if that person had less than 50%, the 24 statewide delegates would only be bound to a candidate winning a true majority; otherwise they would be uncommitted at the national convention.

The official website for the Kansas Republican caucuses now has the final results: Huckabee won all four CDs, ranging from 53% to 67%, with just shy of 60% statewide. McCain's best performance was 27% in the 3rd CD, his worst was 18% in the fourth, mirroring Huckabee's weakest and strongest showings. So Huckabee will have all 36 Kansas delegates at the national convention. The results then:

Huckabee, 11,627, 59.6%
McCain, 4,587, 23.5%
Paul, 2,182, 11.1%
Romney, 653, 3.3%
Keyes, 288, 1.4%
Uncommitted, 84, 0.4%
Thompson, 61, 0.3%

The BatesLine Strict-Constructionist Delegate Count now has:

McCain 683
Huckabee 194
Romney 143
Paul 11
Uncommitted 12

This is subject to revision, as many of the Tsunami Tuesday states allocate delegates proportionally and by congressional district, and congressional district results have been hard to find. It has also been hard to find specifics on the method by which proportional delegates would be allocated in each state.

I have put the 12 national delegates elected at the Wyoming county conventions in the uncommitted column. 8 county conventions elected a Romney supporter, 3 elected a Thompson supporter, and 1 elected a Hunter supporter. These delegates were always free to change their minds, and now that the three candidates are out of the race, they are no longer bound even by the declarations of support made at the county conventions. The formally bound primary delegates won by Romney are still in his column since he has officially only suspended his campaign and has not released them.

Given the result in Kansas, it's reasonable to wonder what might have happened in two neighboring states, Missouri and Oklahoma, had Romney not been in the race. Huckabee might have won 90 delegates that instead wound up in McCain's column.

Louisiana's primary today will allocate 20 delegates, but only if a candidate receives a true majority of the statewide vote. Otherwise those 20 delegates will be uncommitted. There are 24 more national delegates to be selected at next Saturday's state convention. The delegates to the state convention were elected at district conventions on January 22, and a majority of those elected were from a pro-family, uncommitted slate. Some of those uncommitted state delegates have announced for McCain, but there has been some controversy.

The Washington caucuses today will not result in any national delegates being bound to a presidential candidate. As in Iowa, Maine, and Nevada, the real delegate decisions won't be made until a state convention in May. A primary on Feb. 19 will allocate 19 delegates, one to the winner of each CD, and 10 allocated proportionately statewide.

An untimely cough

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I just saw this Ricola commercial on TV the other day, but evidently it's been around for a while -- it was uploaded to YouTube in January 2007. The politician bears a striking resemblance to Larry "Wide Stance" Craig, don't you think? And yet the Craig scandal didn't break until August.

Pave review

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This week in Urban Tulsa Weekly, I review Councilor Bill Martinson's proposal for funding $1.6 billion in street repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, and show how it dovetails with former Streets Commissioner Jim Hewgley's proposal for funding an aggressive street repaving program.

Also, UTW has several new, young columnists: Arts writer Nathaniel McKnight made his debut last week. Josh Kline joins G. K. Hizer on the music beat. And Isaac Farley, from Chattanooga by way of Belize, is new to Tulsa and is out to help us see our own city through a newcomer's eyes. Welcome aboard to all three.

UPDATE: Here's video of Sen. Tom Coburn introducing John McCain:

Here's the transcript. From Coburn's office:

U.S. Senator Tom Coburn's speech at CPAC

February 7, 2008

As prepared for delivery

I'm honored by the invitation to be here today. I want to thank each of you for your devotion to our country, and for the sacrifices you have made to participate in this event.

I have the privilege today to say a few words about John McCain, a man of rare courage and character, who I believe is uniquely equipped to lead our nation through the difficult challenges ahead.

As conservatives, I know that most of us are sick and tired of politicians who tell us what we want to hear then govern in the opposite way. We won't have that problem with John McCain. He may not always tell us what we want to hear, but he will say what he means and do what he says.

John McCain has the unique blend of character, guts, and experience to tackle the two greatest challenges facing our country - radical Islamic extremism and the looming financial catastrophe that will hit our economy when the Baby Boomers retire.

The fact is, we haven't had a president over the last eight years who had the guts to take on the excesses of a Republican and Democrat Congress. Our government wastes $200 billion every year. Every year. John McCain will lead a top down review of everything government does and actually cut wasteful and duplicative spending. If we don't elect a president who will challenge the excesses of Congress we will wreck our economy. John McCain will heed Will Durant's warning that, "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within."

I trust John McCain because he possesses the rarest virtue in politics upon which all else depends - courage. He has risked his political life during this presidential campaign. In defense of the unpopular surge in Iraq, John McCain said, "I'd rather lose the presidency than lose the war." John McCain may win the presidency precisely because he was willing to let it go in service to his country.

Courage matters most in Washington, especially when dealing with Congress. Just as no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, no presidential agenda - however conservative - survives contact with Congress. John McCain has the courage, grit and conviction to tell Congress no and fight for the reforms we need to secure our future.

Maybe it's John McCain's disregard for his own personal political safety and the opinions of other politicians that led an appropriator to say the thought of McCain presidency sends chills down their spine. Anything that sends a chill down the spines of big spenders in Congress should warm the heart of every American taxpayer.

Other critics have said that John McCain stood in the way of the conservative GOP agenda. But, as conservatives, we have to look at the whole picture. In fact, due to a failure of leadership in Congress, I'm not sure we've had a comprehensive GOP conservative agenda since 1995.

Was the Bridge to Nowhere and an explosion of earmarks part of the GOP conservative agenda? John McCain was one of only 11 Republicans who supported me in my fight to kill the Bridge to Nowhere. Most Republicans were marching off the bridge we were trying to de-fund. What John McCain's record tells me is that we won't have to wait until the last year of his presidency to see him pick a fight with Congress over wasteful Washington spending. John McCain will declare war on pork - the gateway drug to spending addiction in Congress - on day one. There will be no earmarks for teapot museums, First Lady Libraries and taxpayer-funded hippie flashbacks in a McCain administration.

The new prescription drug entitlement our party leadership pushed on us was part of the GOP agenda but it wasn't part of the conservative agenda. John McCain had the foresight to vote against Medicare Part D, the largest entitlement expansion since Lyndon Johnson, when many Republicans were AWOL. John McCain believes Congress should keep the promises it has already made before making new promises it can't keep. He also has the most comprehensive and conservative health care reform plan of any candidate. John McCain will fight the government-run, universally-controlled health plans supported by Clinton and Obama with common sense, free-market principles that work.

Even if John McCain has taken some positions we don't like as conservative, I don't believe you can ignore the fact that he took many bold stands against the Big Government Republican agenda that destroyed our majority. When most Republicans were trying to build a governing majority through pork - and were growing the government faster than the Democrats who came before us - John McCain was pushing the party in the opposite direction on key issues.

Let me touch on some other issues.

On judges, I wouldn't have endorsed John McCain if I wasn't confident he will nominate judges like the ones he has voted to confirm in the Senate: Bork, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown. I also know that he shares my desire to see the Senate approve conservative judges now.

On immigration, John McCain was trying to solve a problem which, incidentally, hasn't improved much. He listened and learned and decided the facts were on our side. He doesn't have a secret plan to enact blanket amnesty as president. And, if he did, he knows I'd kill it.

McCain-Feingold misdiagnosed the real problem as too much money to politicians rather than politicians whose votes are for sale. Even though I disagreed with McCain-Feingold, John McCain's desire to tackle corruption in the congressional neighborhood was correct. The source of Washington's corruption isn't K Street; it's Congress' lack of restraint, and John McCain has taken bold steps to tackle that problem at its source.

Still, I have to say that the concerns I hear about John McCain pale in comparison to the two greatest challenges facing our country - terrorism and a Congress that refuses to correct our unsustainable fiscal course. If we get all of those other issues right but those two issues wrong we won't survive as a nation. John McCain's record on the issues that are paramount to our future is a record conservatives can support. John McCain also has a conservative record on what is arguably the transcendent social issue of our time: the sanctity of life. He has been pro-life for 24 years and has record that matches his principles.

And, on national security, John McCain is by far the most qualified candidate on either side. He will meet not only the security challenges we know about but, more importantly, those we don't know about. Tyrants and terrorists will think twice about challenging the United States with John McCain in the White House.

Is John McCain perfect? No. Will we disagree with him sometimes? Yes. But, elections are about choices. I'd be happy to debate anyone who thinks staying home or supporting Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is a better choice for our future than John McCain.

Now, I'd ask you to welcome the person who is best equipped to talk about his own record and vision for the future, the next President of the United State, John McCain.

I trust Tom Coburn to have the right motivations, and he knows John McCain from working side-by-side with him. I wouldn't expect Coburn to be swayed by personal or social considerations. Still, it's possible Coburn is overlooking some facts that might change his perspective. What do you think?

So far this evening, all but three of my predictions have been borne out: McCain won in Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York. Huckabee won in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Romney won in Massachusetts, Montana, North Dakota, and Utah. (Romney appears to have also won non-binding straw polls at caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota.)

McCain appears to have won by a very slim margin in winner-take-all Missouri. With 3355 of 3371 precincts reporting according to the Missouri elections website, McCain has an 8,000-vote lead. In percentages, McCain 32.9, Huckabee 31.6, Romney 29.3. Talk about a situation that cries out for Instant Runoff Voting! Suppose the other 9 candidates had not been on the ballot -- depending on where their voters went, you could have had any possible order of finish among the top three.

McCain also won here in Oklahoma, 36.7% to 33.4% for Huckabee and 24.78% for Romney with 2194 of 2220 precincts reporting. It's close enough that it's possible that Huckabee won one or two of the congressional districts, but we can't tell because, unusually, the Oklahoma State Election Board has only posted statewide totals. Normally they show returns by county, which lets you know which parts of the state have reported and which have yet to come in.

At this point, I'd like to say, "See, I told you so." Huckabee had the best shot of beating McCain here. He had a base from which to start, while Romney had been in single digits here until Thompson left the race. Romney was not going to be able to peel off enthusiastic supporters who had been with Huckabee since before Iowa.

The national conservative commentariat boosted Romney's numbers in the South with the mantra, "A vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain," but only enough to make it close for Huckabee where he won and to cost him Missouri and Oklahoma.

Here's how effective that slogan was: Someone I know who lives in Arkansas and who is a Huckabee fan and supporter wrote to say she'd voted for Romney because "a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain." Huckabee won Arkansas with over 60% of the vote.

Someone who heard me on the radio Tuesday morning, whom I won't embarrass by naming -- although I reserve the right to publish, with name and e-mail address, any especially funny hate mail you send me -- wrote me this note about my explanation of the state-by-state situation and the importance of tactical voting:

Your logic for voting for Huckebee makes about as much sense as voting for Satin. I have been an avid listener of KFAQ for years now and have always agreed with you but after hearing the crap I heard this morning from both you and Chris Medlock appalled me as a conservative. Yeah, let's give as many delegates to Huckebee, the candidate that has a snow balls chance in hell of winning the nomination!! You should be encouraging voters to vote for the only candidate that has a chance of winning the nomination! Instead you & Chris encourage the voters to vote for the likes of Huckebee and give all the delegates from OK to Huckebee instead of rallying behind a candidate that has a true chance of beating McCain. I am seriously thinking of turning my radio off in the morning to KFAQ and go back to 740 at least while the morning show is on!!!!!! Because after the CRAP I heard this morning it makes me really question listening to KFAQ's morning show!!!

You might want to read the below transcript from Rush Limbaugh - YOU and CHRIS could learn something from HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow!!!!!111!!eleventyone!! I'd vote for satin, but only if silk wasn't also on the ballot.

I wrote back:

In my opinion, Romney has too much ground to make up in order to win in Oklahoma. The latest SurveyUSA poll, taken over the weekend, had McCain at 37, Huckabee at 32, and Romney far back at 23. So Huckabee only needs to make up 5 points to win Oklahoma and deny those delegates to McCain, while Romney would have to make up 14 points. Huckabee has a certain core support in the state which has been fairly constant, and while Romney has gained some ground since Thompson left the race, I don't think he's likely to cut into Huckabee's base enough to overtake McCain. Instead, Romney would just succeed in splitting the conservative vote and letting McCain squeak by with a tiny plurality.

That SurveyUSA poll was almost dead on. Locally-based Sooner Poll, which had McCain at 41 and Huckabee and Romney far back at 19 and 17, needs to recalibrate.

Another oddity about the Oklahoma vote -- John Edwards gets 10%. Dissatisfaction with the field? Are these DINOs who always vote for the GOP candidate in November?

California polls haven't been closed long. Nearly all of the delegates will be allocated based on congressional district results, but so far, McCain is leading in every single district. What's curious is that Giuliani is winning 10 to 15% of the vote in nearly every district. Most likely this is an artifact of early voting. Remember that Giuliani was leading here until he dropped out after Florida. Here's another case where Instant Runoff Voting would have helped; it would have allowed early voters who liked Giuliani to still have a say in the choice between McCain and Romney.

There are a few California districts -- and it's early yet -- where Huckabee may have cost Romney some delegates.

One more thing about Oklahoma: I read on NRO's Corner that the South's support for Huckabee is because of a large number of evangelicals who could never vote for a Mormon. It's worth pointing out that just two years ago, Oklahoma Republicans gave a Mormon the nomination for governor, with a clear majority of the vote in a race against two well-qualified opponents (one an evangelical and one a Catholic). The difference between Ernest Istook and Mitt Romney for Oklahoma conservatives: Istook was a consistent conservative from his days in talk radio to his years in Congress. There were no flip-flops or conveniently-timed conversions.

The cast of Monty Python's Flying Circus came to America in April 1975 to promote their new movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Here they are, co-hosting on ABC's AM America, the predecessor to Good Morning America. Even if you don't care for Python, this is worth watching just to bask in the sheer seventies-ness of the set and the theme sequence -- strings, muted horns, and oboes over sunrise scenes from coast to coast. There are also a couple of news cut-ins with Peter Jennings, reporting the imminent fall of Saigon to the North Vietnamese Army.

Via Mark Evanier.

On the second ballot at the Republican state convention, Mike Huckabee was awarded the 18 West Virginia national convention delegates at stake today.

Here's the first ballot result:

Mitt Romney had 464 votes (41%)
Mike Huckabee had 375 votes (33%)
John McCain had 176 votes (16%)
Ron Paul had 118 votes (10%)

Convention rules allowed only the top three vote getters to move forward, so Paul was eliminated. The second ballot result:

Mitt Romney has 521 votes
Mike Huckabee has 567 votes
John McCain has 12 votes

It's surprising that McCain's supporters defected to other candidates, rather than sticking with their man through a second round. Had no one received a majority on the second ballot, the top two would have gone on to a third round.

So the first item in my rosy scenario has come true. The next waypoint is Georgia, where polls close at 6 p.m. Central, and where the latest poll has Huckabee and McCain tied at 32% each, with Romney close behind at 29%.

The last poll taken in Oklahoma before today's primary was done over the weekend. SurveyUSA interviewed 445 likely Oklahoma Republican primary voters on Feb. 2 and 3, with all surveys completed before the Super Bowl kickoff.

The percentages: McCain 37, Huckabee 32, Romney 23, Paul 3, Other 2, Undecided 2. McCain's support remained level from the previous week's SurveyUSA poll, Huckabee gained 4 points, and Romney gained 4, while Paul lost 3. Huckabee leads McCain by three points among voters under 50 (49% of the overall sample), but trails McCain by seven points among voters over 50. Huckabee's strongest group is voters 35-49 -- he leads McCain by 8 points. McCain does best among voters over 65. Of self-described conservatives (68% of the sample), Huckabee had 37%, McCain 29%, Romney 28%.

What this seems to show is movement toward Huckabee, who is firmly in second place, nine points ahead of Romney, and Huckabee appears to be the only candidate with a chance of overtaking John McCain and winning Oklahoma. As I explained earlier, Oklahoma Republicans who want anyone other than McCain to be our nominee are best served by casting a tactical vote for Huckabee. These new poll numbers confirm that judgment.

Final polls elsewhere show a tightening of the race in the five other southern states. Huckabee leads in Alabama, is tied with McCain in Georgia, and is two points behind McCain in Missouri and Tennessee. Huckabee should have no trouble winning his home state of Arkansas.

In the South at least, a vote for Romney is a vote for McCain to sew up the nomination today. A vote for Huckabee is a vote to keep the door open for anyone but McCain to emerge as the nominee.

SurveyUSA also polled Oklahoma Democrats: Clinton 54, Obama 27, other 15, undecided 3. Hillary Clinton leads in every category. The only place it's close is among 18-34 year olds, where she has only a four-point lead over Barack Obama.

A friend asked me about the candidates for Office 3 on the Tulsa Technology Center board and for Union Public Schools, specifically about their party registration and background. School board races are non-partisan, but party registration is a piece of information that some voters like to have.

You may also want to look over the complete questionnaire responses submitted to the Tulsa World and the League of Women Voters (400 KB PDF).

Bea Cramer, the incumbent, is the only Republican running for the Tulsa Tech seat. Tim Bradley and Mitchell Garrett are Democrats. Garrett, son of Muskogee trial lawyer David Garrett, parachuted into House District 23 to run against State Rep. Sue Tibbs in 2004. During that election campaign Mitchell Garrett was simultaneously registered as a voter in both Tulsa and Muskogee Counties.

The incumbent for Union Public Schools Office 3 filed for re-election, but Jim Williams announced on January 24 that he was withdrawing his candidacy. His name will still appear on the ballot. The only other candidate is Albert Shults, a Republican. The choice for voters in the Union district is to elect Shults or to let the other board members pick a replacement for Williams. If Williams is re-elected, he would presumably resign, with the vacancy to be filled by the board.

In Broken Arrow, both Keven Rondot (the incumbent, appointed to an unexpired term about a year ago) and Shari Wilkins are registered Republicans.

In Glenpool, the incumbent, Michael J. Thompson is a Democrat; Kenneth Ball is a Republican.

In Jenks, Joseph Hidy, the incumbent, and Kanna Adams, are both Republicans.

In Liberty, Richard L. Moore, Jr., the incumbent, is a Republican, and Billie Blackburn is a Democrat.

In Sperry, Tim Teel, the incumbent, and Derrell Morrow are both Republicans.

In Tulsa, Radious Y. Guess and Brian T. Hunt are both Republicans. (No incumbent -- it's an open seat.)

Tsunami Tuesday guide

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I don't do predictions, but I will set out a rosy scenario: If John McCain is to be stopped from all but clinching the nomination, the following is the way the evening would need to unfold.

All times Central. Delegate numbers will differ from what you see elsewhere, because I only include delegates who will be elected or bound by tomorrow's events. In many states with binding primaries, the state's three RNC members are not bound to any candidate. I am relying on the excellent The Green Papers website, along with state election board and state Republican party websites, for information on rules, delegate counts, and poll-closing times.

Going into Tuesday:

The BatesLine Strict-Constructionist Delegate Count has McCain with 86 delegates, Romney with 32, Huckabee with 13, Thompson 3, and Hunter 1. That accounts for primaries in NH, MI, SC, and FL, and the Wyoming county conventions which elected 12 delegates. I don't make any estimates based on the straw polls taken at the Iowa, Nevada, or Maine caucuses; the real decisions about national delegates won't be made until later stages of the process and will be influenced by what happens between now and then.

Sometime during the day:

West Virginia state convention (official website): It's only for 18 delegates, but this could be the most fun event of the entire day. The state party designed a process that got thousands of West Virginia Republicans to register and vote for state delegates online and got the attention of the major candidates. Huckabee, Romney, and Paul are all showing up to speak; former La. Gov. Buddy Roemer will speak on McCain's behalf. Over a thousand delegates have been certified; most were selected earlier this month by Internet voting. The candidates for state delegate identified themselves by their presidential preference. Elected officials and members of county and state executive committees make up the rest of the convention.

If no one has a majority after the first ballot, the top three will go on to the second ballot. If no one gets a majority again, a third ballot between the top two will decide the winner of all 18 delegates. (A later primary will choose 9 more delegates.) As of January 18, before Thompson and Giuliani left the race, 520 were uncommitted, Romney 184, Huckabee 132, Thompson 103, Paul 68, Giuliani 41, McCain 12, Hunter 4. It's wide open, and it may come down to how well the candidates connect with the delegates in their speeches. For that reason, I'll predict that Huckabee will win. Huckabee 18.

6:00 p.m.

Georgia primary: 33 statewide delegates (including 3 RNC members who are bound to the statewide winner), 39 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Huckabee wins statewide, but by a very close margin, taking 9 of 13 CDs, losing 3 CDs to McCain and one to Romney. Huckabee 60, McCain 9, Romney 3.

7:00 p.m.

Alabama primary: 24 statewide delegates, 21 congressional district delegates (3 each for seven districts). Proportional allocation with a 15% threshold. Breaking 50% wins all the delegates. Huckabee wins, but close enough that McCain takes a couple of congressional districts. Romney gets a proportion of the statewide delegates. Huckabee 23, McCain 16, Romney 6.

Connecticut primary: 27 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 27.

Delaware primary: 18 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 18.

Illinois primary: 57 congressional district delegates, with each district having 2, 3, or 4 delegates depending on how strongly they supported Bush in 2004. Ignore the statewide "beauty contest" vote. Voters will vote directly for delegates and alternates; each delegate candidate's presidential preference is listed on the ballot. Effectively this will be winner-take-all by congressional district. McCain wins statewide, but Romney wins several CDs downstate. McCain 33, Romney 24.

Massachusetts primary: 10 statewide delegates, 30 congressional district delegates (3 each for ten districts). Proportional allocation with a 15% threshold. Romney wins. Romney 27, McCain 13.

Missouri primary: 58 delegates, winner-take-all. Huckabee 58.

New Jersey primary: 52 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 52.

Oklahoma primary: 23 statewide delegates, 15 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Huckabee wins statewide, but by a very close margin, winning CDs 1, 2, and 3. CDs 4 and 5 go to McCain. Huckabee 32, McCain 6.

Tennessee primary: 25 statewide delegates, 27 congressional district delegates (3 each for nine districts). Proportional allocation with a 20% threshold. Breaking 66% wins all the delegates. The ballot is daunting (PDF sample here of the ballot Instapundit will see in Knox County) -- you cast your presidential preference, then you vote for 12 statewide delegates and three congressional district delegates. Order of finish among delegates for a certain candidate determines who gets to go to St Paul. For example, if Huckabee gets 55% of the vote in a congressional district, the top two vote-getting Huckabee delegates in that CD are elected to go to the RNC. Huckabee wins, but everybody gets some delegates. Huckabee 27, McCain 16, Romney 9.

7:30 p.m.

Arkansas primary: 19 statewide delegates, 12 congressional district delegates (3 each for four districts). Proportional allocation with a 10% threshold. Breaking 50% wins all the delegates. Huckabee wins and breaks 50% in each of the congressional districts. Huckabee 31.

8:00 p.m.

New York primary: 87 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 87.

9:00 p.m.

Arizona primary: 50 delegates, winner-take-all. McCain 50.

Utah primary: 36 delegates, winner-take-all. One of Romney's three home states. Romney 36.

10:00 p.m.

California primary: 11 statewide delegates, 159 congressional district delegates. Winner-take-all by congressional district and statewide. Romney wins, but McCain takes 20 congressional districts, winning heavily Democratic districts that don't contribute as much to the statewide total. Romney 110, McCain 60.

Montana presidential preference caucus: 25 delegates are at stake. Each county will hold a caucus. State, county, and local elected officials, and state, county, and precinct party officials will be the only eligible voters. The precinct party officials were elected at precinct caucuses back in December. Each county caucus will take a presidential preference vote toward the end of their meeting. Montana's delegates will be bound to the candidate with the most votes statewide. Caucus times vary, but all the results ought to be in by 10 p.m. our time. Romney should win this one. Romney 25.

North Dakota presidential preference caucus: 26 delegates are at stake. Polls will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. local time. Results are due in to state HQ by 10 p.m. Central. If someone gets two-thirds of the vote, they get all the delegates. Otherwise, delegates are allocated proportionately with a 15% threshold. No absentee ballots. (Sorry, Julie.) No polling. I'm guessing that Romney will win this one, but the other two will pick up delegates as well. Romney 12, McCain 9, Huckabee 5.

Other events:

Alaska Republican district conventions: Electing delegates to the state convention. No national delegates will be chosen and no straw poll will be taken, as far as I can find.

Colorado Republican precinct caucuses: A straw poll will be taken, but no national delegates will be chosen or allocated. Delegates will be elected to the county assemblies and district conventions, but they aren't likely to be selected based on presidential preference.

Minnesota Republican precinct caucuses: A straw poll will be taken, but no national delegates will be chosen or allocated. Delegates will be elected to the equivalent of county conventions, but they aren't likely to be selected based on presidential preference.

Bottom line:

In this admittedly rosy scenario, which requires anti-McCain forces to coalesce around the strongest alternative in each state, Huckabee would win 7 states, McCain 6, and Romney 5, but McCain would win 396 delegates, Huckabee 254, and Romney 252. McCain is doing best in winner-take-all states; Huckabee and Romney's best states have some degree of proportionality. This would bring the totals up to McCain 482, Romney 284, Huckabee 267.

If instead voters jump on McCain's bandwagon, he could easily win 12 of the 18 contests, and come away with over 600 delegates.

PonderInc considers the choices in tomorrow's Tulsa Public Schools board election:

The Tulsa World endorsed Guess, citing her extensive educational experience and training.

On one hand, I want to believe that an education background is a good thing; but on the other hand, I think that many of the problems with our school system (inept teachers, principals, and administrators) are caused by people with education degrees.

My skepticism increased after taking education classes 10 years ago when I was considering teaching. I thought: this is the dumbest stuff I've ever heard, who invents this crap? It led me to believe that the school system would be much improved if everyone had a degree in the subject they teach...instead of a goofy education degree.

So...can an "insider" reform from the inside? Or is it better to support an "outsider" who might just bring some common sense to the table?

At the same time, I disagree with the pragmatists who think all schools should do is prepare students for the business world. Education is different from training. And those who would limit art, music, and theater programs for the sake of more "hard skills" don't realize the importance of creativity, experimentation and imagination.

I don't really know where each of these candidates stands on these topics. And I'm not sure who to vote for tomorrow. Looks like I've got homework to do!

That point about schools of education is the crucial issue in school reform, but it's overlooked amidst discussions of funding, testing, discipline, etc. One of the advantages that charter and private schools have over public schools is that it's easier for a charter or private school to hire a teacher who has a degree in the subject area he or she will be teaching. Public schools can hire teachers outside the usual ed-school track, but there are many more hoops to jump through with alternative certification, and many school officials can't be bothered, especially if there is no shortage of ed-school graduates, who won't require the extra effort to get them into the classroom.

Courses in an education degree program tend to be all about process, rather than content. If you love math or English lit or history and dream of imparting your love of the subject to young skulls full of mush, the process of gaining certification -- whether by traditional or alternative methods -- may very well drain you of your enthusiasm.

A friend of mine with an MBA and many years in the corporate world had the urge about a decade ago to go into teaching. He had gained some classroom time as a Junior Achievement sponsor and enjoyed the experience immensely. He thought he might teach math or business at the junior high or high school level, so he began working for his alternative certification. Texas, where he lived, had pioneered the process, but he wasn't able to get the time of day from two of the major school districts in the DFW Metroplex. (Thinking back on it, he might have had more cooperation from a smaller district.) He gave up on the idea.

It may be that schools of education, with their focus on process and theory and their ideological attacks on practices that work (e.g. phonics, math fact drills, and high expectations), are the heart of what's wrong with public schools in America. They deter many with the gift of teaching from getting into the profession, and they provide a bad foundation for those who do pursue teaching.

Sadly, people don't become aware of the problem until they encounter it directly as my friend and PonderInc did. PonderInc gets it now. I wish she were running for school board.

Bill Quick has the compiled the "List of Infamy" -- ten specific problems with John McCain's record, with links to backup material. Quick includes the McCain-Feingold bill against freedom of political speech, the McCain-Kennedy bill in support of open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens, McCain's attack on the veterans who served with John Kerry and exposed inconsistencies and misrepresentations in his account of his war record, his support for constitutional rights for enemy combatants, and his flirtations with leaving the Republican Party and handing control of the U. S. Senate over to left wing extremists.

If you're persuaded that Republicans should make the effort to deny John McCain the nomination, here's how to do it and how you can help.

MORE: Charlie Meadows of Oklahoma Conservative PAC, a Ron Paul supporter, had this say about strategic voting on Tuesday:

Let me say this. If you just can't bring yourself to vote for Ron Paul but you don't want to see John McCain win the delegates from Oklahoma, I would suggest you cast a strategic vote. Mike Huckabee started out with a large polling lead in Oklahoma. In recent weeks, McCain has closed the gap. For whatever reason, Romney just hasn't sparked much interest among Oklahomans.

Therefore, if stopping McCain is your highest priority, you should vote for Huckabee. The natural inclination to stop McCain would be to vote for Romney as the liberal media has succeeded in creating the perception, if not reality, that the race is coming down to two candidates, McCain (their pick) and Romney. However, Romney is too far behind in Oklahoma to overtake McCain, so a vote for Romney helps McCain as the two front runners in Oklahoma are he and Huckabee.

If you want to help Mike Huckabee in Oklahoma and other Southern states where he has the best chance to win and deny those delegates to John McCain, you can sign up as a "Huckabee Ranger" and make phone calls to voters in those key states. (I don't know if Mitt Romney has a similar program. I suspect he can afford paid phone calls to voters.)

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

"Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?

"And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."

-- Jesus, in his "Sermon on the Mount" (Matthew 6:25-33)

In last week's Urban Tulsa Weekly column, I wrote about how school choice could be used, as it has been in Milwaukee, to attract and retain families with children in the older parts of Tulsa, specifically the area served by Tulsa Public Schools. (I also posted a blog entry earlier in the week about charter schools having the same impact in Cleveland.) I didn't specifically address the Tulsa school board election, except to say this:

The candidate who can credibly promise to support new and expanded charter schools, to oppose the district's suit against the charter school law, and to work against nonsense like the Tulsa Model for School Improvement will have my vote.

In this week's issue of UTW, I go into specifics about the two candidates for TPS Board District 5, the race between Radious Guess and Brian Hunt:

From their websites and their responses to various questionnaires, neither one appears to be driven to fix what's broken with TPS. Do they see the shortcomings of the system's curriculum and teaching methods? If they do, they aren't saying.

Do Guess and Hunt disagree with the school board's misguided effort to get the charter school law declared unconstitutional? They aren't saying anything about that either.

Since I wrote that, Hunt has made some public statements, at a forum and on his website, regarding charter schools and the TPS lawsuit to kill the law. Here is a statement from Hunt's Q&A page:

What is your position on Charter Schools?

From across the country charter schools have had mixed results but have provided some innovative ideas. TPS already sponsors three charter schools and I believe there is a valid place within the public school system for them, recognizing their role as a laboratory for new ideas that can be shared with all schools regarding what works and what does not. I have toured 2 charter schools because I wanted to see them first hand and the people I met with indicated that in the 2 years they had been at each of their schools no one from the board or service center had ever visited or inquired about lessons learned and or best practices in their deregulated environment.

I do not know all the specifics or motivations of why TPS decided to pursue a lawsuit, but as a business person I believe it is not the most productive use of resources to challenge a law that is being implemented by other Oklahoma school districts, like Oklahoma City.

If Ms. Guess has something further to say on the topic of charter schools and wishes to e-mail or phone me, I'll add that information to this entry.

Before heading off to the symphony, I was on the air once again with Elvis Polo for the first hour of his 6 to 9 pm Saturday night show on 1170 KFAQ, talking about the presidential race and Tsunami Tuesday, which includes Oklahoma's primary.

Elvis asked me if John McCain will have the nomination sewn up when Tuesday's results are counted. I said that there was still a way to stop his momentum and keep open the possibility of Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, or even -- if no one has a majority of delegates going into the convention -- someone else being the Republican nominee. But it will require some strategic thinking by the Republicans who vote on Tuesday.

It comes down to this: If you don't want McCain to be the nominee, you need to vote for the non-McCain candidate who has the best poll numbers in your state.

The people who are saying a vote for Huckabee is a vote for McCain are wrong. That's only true in the states where Huckabee is in third place. In Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee, a vote for Romney would effectively be a vote to hand McCain the nomination on Tuesday.

In many of the states that are voting Tuesday, the poll numbers break down like this:

McCain - 35
2nd place candidate - 25
3rd place candidate - 15
Ron Paul - 5
Voters who can't support McCain but can't figure who to vote for - 20

The tricky thing is that Huckabee is that second place candidate in the Southern states and Romney is that second place candidate in the west and northeast.

Here's the problem: If a majority of voters in that undecided anti-McCain category move toward the 3rd place candidate, McCain wins with 35% of the vote. For example, assume that 20% breaks 11% for the 3rd place candidate and 9% for the 2nd place candidate:

McCain - 35
2nd place candidate - 34
3rd place candidate - 26
Ron Paul - 5

If that sort of thing happens in state after state on Tsunami Tuesday, McCain would manage a near sweep despite the fact that there are two Republican voters who don't want him as president for every one that does. The low winning percentage won't fit into a headline or a soundbite, and the TV networks would oversimplify the situation into a won-lost record. Romney and Huckabee would be practically finished, and McCain would be the nominee presumptive.

If instead, that 20% block of anti-McCain voters vote strategically for the second place candidate -- Huckabee in some states, Romney in others -- McCain would win only a state or two, and the rest would be split between the other two candidates. No one would come out of Tsunami Tuesday an overwhelming lead in the delegate count. The campaign would continue, with the possibility of new candidates entering later primaries and no one having a majority of delegates going into the Republican National Convention.

The most recent Oklahoma poll, done about a week ago by Survey USA, had McCain moving into the lead, Huckabee about where he had been two weeks earlier, and Romney moving up from single digits.

McCain 37
Huckabee 28
Romney 19
Giuliani 6
Paul 6
Other/Undecided 5

A look at the details shows that Romney's support is softest -- 48% say they could change their minds -- with McCain next at 42% and Huckabee at 39%. Huckabee's numbers have been pretty stable, suggesting that his supporters decided sometime ago, while Romney's backers in Oklahoma have only recently and reluctantly made him their choice. It seems possible for Huckabee to catch McCain here; Romney would have a much steeper hill to climb.

Here's the bottom line for Oklahoma voters:

If you're an Oklahoma Republican and want Mike Huckabee to have a chance at the nomination, vote for Huckabee. You won't be accidentally helping McCain.

If you're an Oklahoma Republican and want Mitt Romney to have a chance at the nomination, vote for Huckabee, even if you don't particularly like Huckabee. Huckabee has the best shot at denying McCain the delegates and the win here in Oklahoma and thus at slowing McCain's national momentum, which would give Romney the opportunity to fight on.

If you're an Oklahoma Republican and you don't like anyone left in the race -- this is my category --vote for Huckabee. Denying McCain a win here helps to stop his momentum and leaves the door open for a new candidate to be chosen at the convention.

Now all this second-guessing and predicting what your fellow voters will do would be unnecessary if we had a sensible voting system like Instant Runoff Voting, where you could vote your conscience secure in the knowledge that your vote will not inadvertently help your least preferred candidate. Using proportional delegate allocation, where you don't have to finish first to gain delegates, would be another way to make the delegate allocation more closely reflect the opinions of the voters.

An article by Newsweek science writer Sharon Begley points to a voting methods demonstration on the American Statistical Association website where you can vote by the traditional method (pick your favorite), by the approval method (check all candidates that are acceptable), and by the instant runoff method (rank the candidates in order). The election method used affects the order of finish. Begley writes:

For anyone who believes in democracy, this is a little disturbing. What it means is that "election outcomes can more accurately reflect the choice of an election rule than the voters' wishes," writes mathematician Donald Saari of the University of California, Irvine. One candidate could win with some rules and lose with others. In fact, as mathematicians analyze voting systems, they are turning up other oddities that can yield a "winner" who does not reflect the will of even a plurality, much less a majority. The discoveries are especially relevant this year. "The severity of the problem escalates with the number of candidates," notes Saari, and one thing this primary season has is a lot of still-viable candidates.

One of the most surprising aberrations mathematicians have found comes in a four-way race. There, of course, one candidate wins a plurality and another comes in last. Saari examines what happens if the third-place candidate drops out and, in the next round of voting, people have the same ordered preference as before (A is the first choice of the most, followed by B, then D).

She then presents a four-candidate scenario where one candidate dropping out completely inverts the order of finish using the traditional single-preference, first-past-the-post voting system.

While we can hope that the Republican convention rules committee will pass improvements to this system this fall, it will come too late for this campaign season.

However much they stink, the rules are what they are, and if you're an Oklahoman who doesn't want one of the least conservative Republicans in the Senate to get the nomination, you need to vote for Mike Huckabee on Tuesday.

UPDATE: Numbers USA, the anti-amnesty organization, explains when to vote for Romney and when to vote for Huckabee in order to cast an anti-McCain vote in each of Tuesday's states. The only disagreement with my list is Georgia, where more recent polling shows Huckabee, not Romney, in second place.

My older son and I were at the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra performance tonight -- an excellent program of music by Russian composers Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Mussorgsky -- and we noticed that one of the viola players had an unusually large and asymmetric instrument. The upper left lobe was larger than the upper right (next to the musician's left hand) and the lower right lobe was larger than the lower left (at the musician's chin).

Now a viola is larger than a violin, designed to produce a lower, mellower sound, but not quite as low and mellow as a cello. The strings are thicker, and the notes are farther apart on the strings. The viola is "slower to speak" than its smaller cousin, and there's more instrument to fit between chin and hand. That not every violist is up to the challenge of playing viola may explain the existence of a large repertoire of viola jokes (collected by a violist):

What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline? You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.

What's the difference between a viola and an onion?
No one cries when you cut up a viola.

What's the definition of a minor second?
Two violists playing in unison.

Why do violists stand for long periods outside people's houses?
They can't find the key and they don't know when to come in.

What's the difference between a seamstress and a violist?
The seamstress tucks up the frills.

To add injury to insult, violists disproportionately suffer from various repetitive stress injuries related to the awkward ergonomics of the instrument:

Tendinitis is epidemic among violists. Players have even been obliged to leave the profession because of carpal tunnel syndrome, back, shoulder and left arm injuries and related orthopedic issues.

So a violin maker named David Rivinus began looking for a solution:

A violist with chronic back trouble or left hand tendinitis already knows that playing a huge, traditionally shaped instrument is the wrong way to meet sonority demands. But suppose a violin maker starts with an undersized viola that is easy to play but is also characteristically weak sounding... [t]hen stretches it in places that don't interfere with the mechanics of playing.

Rivinus's Pellegrina viola tenore not only provides more surface area for a stronger sound, the asymmetric shape allows the fingerboard to be banked, minimizing the amount of stress on the left arm and wrist due to supination.

Suddenly the stretch to the viola C string in first position is as comfortable as playing the D string in third position. And the relief to the violinist is comparable. This design change alone has now resulted in rescuing the careers of several professional players whose musical working lives were suddenly--and prematurely--over.

The viola also uses a composite instead of ebony, reducing the weight of the instrument and the impact on endangered ebony forests.

Rivinus makes a violin, the Maximilan, that incorporates the same design concepts.

You can buy a Rivinus viola for under 12 grand, but you'll have to get in line: It may take as long as three years to get one. Maybe someday the only thing funny about the viola will be the shape.

PS: The viola jokes remind me of the one about the girl who goes on a date with a french horn player. How was it? her friend asked. "He was nice, but every time he kissed me he tried to put his fist up my skirt."

I told that joke to Jan, the Happy Homemaker, (a french horn player, herself) and Dawn Eden three years ago over a boatload of sushi in Oklahoma City. Jan did not laugh but patiently explained that a french horn player puts his or her hand, not fist, in the bell. Dawn laughed, mainly because, as she pointed out, I was turning red, embarrassed, I suppose, that I may have offended Jan.

Speaking of whom, Dawn underwent a partial thyroidectomy earlier this week which revealed the presence of cancer. The prognosis is good -- the cancer was still encapsulated -- but she'll have to go under the knife once again to have the rest of her thyroid removed and undergo iodine radiation therapy. Please keep her in your prayers.

"I'll rely on people to judge me by the company that I keep." -- John McCain, January 30, 2008

I'd hope that, whatever one's opinion on how to deal with illegal immigration, all Americans would agree that the goal is that people coming to live in this country would become fully connected with the American language and culture and to think of themselves as Americans first.

Juan Hernandez doesn't agree. He holds dual citizenship in Mexico and the United States -- he was born in Texas -- and he served in the government of Mexican President Vicente Fox as a cabinet official, head of the President's Office for Mexicans Abroad. He is an advocate for a free flow of people across the US-Mexico border. He is an advocate for keeping Mexicans in the United States from "going native," from assimilating. Instead, Hernandez wants Mexican-Americans -- whether new immigrants or in the US for generations as citizens -- to continue to see themselves as Mexicans first and to retain a closer emotional, linguistic, and, most of all, financial bond to the country of their ancestors rather than the country where they have made their home.

John McCain has chosen Dr. Hernandez to be his director of Hispanic outreach.

Here's a montage of Dr. Hernandez's TV appearances which will give you a sense of the man and his views.

An interview of Hernandez by Michelle Malkin was excerpted in the above video. You can see the entire segment on this Hot Air entry. And here's an entry specifically on Hernandez turning a blind eye to identity theft. And here's more about Hernandez from Michelle Malkin's blog.

McCain claims that he learned his lesson after the conservative grassroots rose up last year to defeat his McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill. But the company he keeps with Dr. Juan Hernandez suggests otherwise.

My browser was filling up with tabs I opened in trying to diagnose a problem which I thought was related to Windows. (I'm beginning to think it's really a hardware problem.) For my reference and yours:

DevCon: A Microsoft tool to list, check status, enable, disable, and update devices and drivers from the command line. Handy for when your system is too sick to handle running the graphical Device Manager. There are versions for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions. Works with Win 2000, XP, and Server 2003.

SC, the Service Controller: Built-in command-line tool to view status of and control services and drivers. Full command details here.

Windows command-line reference: The complete list of commands and how to use them. Nice for us old-timers who grew up on VMS and Multics and Unix and DOS. Most if not all of the system management and admin tools can be manipulated from the command line.

driverquery: Another built-in command. It outputs a table of info about all the installed drivers. With a switch and redirection, you can have it produce a CSV file that you can manipulate in Excel or another spreadsheet or database program.

Windows XP Support Tools: Won't vouch for it, but this site purports to offer for download the tools that come in the "Resource Kits" for various versions of Windows.

Debugging startup hangups: Enable boot logging via msconfig or when hitting F8 on startup, then check the log in %SystemRoot%\Ntbtlog.txt. You'll see the sequence in which drivers are started, and may be able to detect a pattern.

Several issues of InformationWeek's Langa Letter have been helpful:

XP's No-Reformat, Nondestructive Total-Rebuild Option: "Fred Langa shows you how to completely rebuild, repair, or refresh an existing XP installation without losing data, and without having to reinstall user software, reformat, or otherwise destructively alter the setup." It's not easy to find this option, but it's there, and it may solve your problems.

The OS Inside The OS: "Fred Langa shows how a simple tweak turns XP's low-level Recovery Console into a complete, standalone mini-operating system--in effect, an XP DOS!"

XP's Little-Known 'Rebuild' Command: "There's an easy fix for "Missing HAL.DLL," "Invalid Boot.Ini," and several other fatal startup errors, Fred Langa says."

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? -- Micah 6:6-8

From Charles Spurgeon's sermon, "Micah's Message for To-day":

...[T]he humility here prescribed involves constant communion with God. Observe that we are told to walk humbly with THY God. It is of no use walking humbly away from God. I have seen some people very proudly humble, very boastful of their humility. They have been so humble that they were proud enough to doubt God. They could not accept the mercy of Christ, they said; they were so humble. In truth, theirs was a devilish humility, not the humility that comes from the Spirit of God. Oh, no! This humility makes us walk with God; and, beloved, can you conceive a higher and truer humility than that which must come of walking with God?

Remember what Job said, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Remember how Abraham, when he communed with God, and pleaded with him for Sodom, said, "I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes;" "dust"--that set forth the frailty of his nature, "ashes"--as if he was like the refuse of the altar, which could not be burnt up, which God would not have. He felt himself to be, by sin, like the sweeping of a furnace, the ashes, refuse of no value whatsoever; and that was not because he was away from God, but because he was near to God.

You can get to be as big as you like if you get away from God; but coming near to the Lord you rightly sing,--

"The more thy glories strike mine eyes,
The humbler I shall lie."

Depend upon it that it is so. It might be a kind of weather-gauge as to your communion, whether you are proud or humble. If you are going up, God is going down in your esteem. "He must increase," said John the Baptist of the Lord Jesus; "but I must decrease." The two things go together; if this scale rises, that scale must go down.

Dare to keep with God, dare to have him as your daily Friend, be bold enough to come to him who is within the veil, talk with him, walk with him, as a man walks; with his familiar friend; but walk humbly with him. You will do so if you walk truly; I cannot conceive such a thing,--it is impossible,--as a man walking proudly with God. He takes his fellow by the arm, and feels that he is as good as his neighbour, perhaps superior to him; but he cannot walk with God in such a frame of mind as that. The finite with the Infinite! That alone suggests humility; but the sinful with the Thrice-holy! This throws us down into the dust....

...[T]he humility that is here prescribed includes delightful confidence. Do let me read the text to you, "Walk humbly with God." No, no, we must not maul the passage that way, "Walk humbly with thy God." Do not think that it is humility to doubt your interest in Christ; that is unbelief. Do not think that it is humility to think that he is another man's God, and not yours; "Walk humbly with thy God." Know that he is your God, be sure of it, come up from the wilderness leaning upon your Beloved. Have no doubt, nor even the shadow of a doubt, that you are your Beloved's, and that he is yours. Rest not for a moment if there is any question upon this blessed subject. He gives himself to you; take him to be yours by a covenant of salt that never shall be broken; and give yourself to him, saying, "I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine."

"Walk humbly with thy God." Let not anything draw you away from that confidence; but then, in comes the humility. This is all of grace; this is all the result of divine election; therefore, be humble. You have not chosen Christ, but he has chosen you. This is all the effect of redeeming love; therefore, be humble. You are not your own, you are bought with a price; so you can have no room to glory. This is all the work of the Spirit.

"Then give all the glory to his holy name,
To him all the glory belongs."

"Walk humbly with thy God." I lie at his feet as one unworthy, and cry, "Whence is this to me? I am not worthy of the least of the mercies that thou hast made to pass before me." I think this is the humility prescribed in the text. May the Spirit of God work it in us!

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