January 2010 Archives

If you were paying attention to world news in 1980 and 1981, you know of Lech Wałęsa, the man who turned an illegal independent trade union into a force for freedom in communist Poland. Although his efforts directly resulted in his imprisonment and the imposition of martial law, in 1988 he and his allies pushed the communist government into allowing semi-free parliamentary elections, and by the following year, Poland had its first non-Communist prime minister since before World War II. He served a five-year term as President of Poland from 1990-1995.

This past week, Wałęsa came to Chicago to campaign on behalf of Adam Andrzejewski, a Republican candidate for Governor of Illinois. This eight-minute video features excerpts from his speech at a fundraiser for Andrzejewski and from an interview with FoundingBloggers.com. Worth noting:

1. Wałęsa's concern about the weakening of American leadership and what it means for the rest of the world:

The United States is the only superpower. Today they lead the world, nobody has any doubts about it, militarily. They also lead the economically, but they're getting weak. But they don't lead morally and politically any more.

The world has no leadership. The United States was always the last resort of hope for all other nations. This was the hope, that when ever something was going wrong, we could always count on the United States. Today we've lost that hope.

2. Wałęsa's concern about corruption and waste in government -- bureaucrats increasing governmental power for its own sake, wasting money, at the expense of entrepreneurs. He also expressed concern that the bank bailout showed a "little bit" of America moving toward socialism.

3. Andrzejewski's plan to use an executive order to put government spending online in real-time "from the appropriation to the subcontractor level, where the systemic corruption exists." Without knowing the specifics of Illinois' situation, this suggests a scheme where contracts would be awarded to companies with no apparent political connections, but those prime contractors would then award all the work and most of the contract value to politically connected subcontractors, where it would be harder to trace.

Andrzejewski's plan to issue an executive order for a forensic audit of Illinois state government's $55 billion budget. He calls it "a deep audit, an evidentiary audit. It actually follows the money. If you think about it, it's how we caught Al Capone." He estimates it would save taxpayers $3 to $5 billion.

He mentions that Kathleen Sebelius, as Governor of Kansas, ordered such an audit. Here's the mention on his website:

Good government relies on forensic auditing. The governor of Kansas- kept her promise to "perform a top-to-bottom audit of state government--an effort that to date has uncovered $159 million in wasteful government spending, and led to new efficiencies that produced over $1 billion in budget savings on behalf of Kansas taxpayers."

Adam Andrzejewski has an inspiring background. He and his brother saw a need -- phone books focused on small communities, so that local merchants could reach local customers -- a proceeded to build a successful nationwide business. Read more about Adam Andrzejewski at RedState. And here's a 2006 article from Success magazine about the Andrzejewski brothers. (The article is about balancing the long hours required to start a business with time for family -- worth reading even if you're not interested in the political angle.)

The election is Tuesday, and the latest Republican primary polls have Andrzejewski surging within 2 points of the leader, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, a political insider who endorsed Barack Obama for president. It's a crowded field of six candidates, and there is no runoff. Someone may very well win the primary with 20% of the vote.

Ice storm photos

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David Schuttler has posted some pretty pictures of Tulsa's January 2010 ice and snow storm.

As the weather gets worse, it's less likely I'll be able to post here at BatesLine, but as long as I have a cellphone connection, I can post brief updates on Twitter. You can follow my "tweets" (Twitter updates) by clicking this link: @BatesLine.

By consensus, tweets about the Oklahoma ice storm will be marked with "#okice". To see the latest tweets with this tag, click this link: #okice.

Several Oklahoma bloggers have set up a "crowdsourced" Google map at okicemap.com to show Oklahoma weather, road, and power conditions. Follow @okicemap on Twitter. (The moderator could use some help in keeping the map up to date. If you have time and some experience working with Google Maps, click the link and drop him a line.)

For northeastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas, visit the website of the National Weather Service in Tulsa. For central and western Oklahoma, visit the website of the National Weather Service in Norman.

MORE: Because this is a complex weather system, and the amounts and types of precipitation are hard to predect, The National Weather Service in Tulsa would like you to submit precipitation reports via their website.

I realize there are other things in the news tonight -- the FOP turning down the City of Tulsa's alternative to layoffs, the State of the Union show -- but my mind has been focused on getting my family ready for what could be a week or so without power.

In 2007, many homes lost their connection to the grid, and the need for electricians to make repairs delayed restoration of power for many Tulsans for more than a week. Even without that kind of damage at our house, we were without power for half a week. Thankfully, we've had plenty of warning, and there are reports that PSO is already mobilizing repair crews in preparation for storm damage.

We've stocked up on food, particularly calorie-dense, non-perishable stuff. We've almost finished getting all the laundry done. (Thanks, Tasha, for that excellent suggestion.) We're about done arranging the living room as sleeping quarters, close to the gas fireplace. One thing I didn't find that would be useful -- D batteries. Every store I was in today was completely out of them.

The latest (as of about 10 pm) ice forecast from the National Weather Service office in Tulsa is looking a little better -- still about a half-inch of ice, but wind speeds are projected to be about half what was previously forecast. Tulsa County is still in the 3 to 4 range for the SPIA Index -- likely power outages lasting anywhere from 1 to 10 days.

The Tulsa National Weather Service office website has a very helpful feature -- the Decision Support Page. There's a grid showing at a glance what kinds of hazardous weather are projected over the next seven days, and what the projected intensity is. Click on a button in the grid and it will take you to a page with more detail. The Decision Support Page also has a link to the latest multimedia briefing from the NWS. (As far as I could find, the Norman NWS website didn't have anything quite like this.)

Here are the latest ice accumulation maps from the NWS:



An inch of ice in Tulsa?

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The latest update from the NWS has the freezing rain zone shifted northward, with Tulsa County in the 4 and 5 zone. Nearly everything north of I-40 would be either SPIA 4 or 5, with little to no ice south of I-40.

The latest forecast also drops the forecast snowfall for Tulsa from nearly a foot down to 4".

It would be really nice if either the cold front or the Pacific Ocean storm would get here well ahead of the other. It's their simultaneous arrival that threatens to mess things up badly.



The National Weather Service office in Tulsa posted another informative ice storm forecast briefing at 5 pm on Tuesday. This one is twice as long, shows the two weather systems that are on course to collide right over Oklahoma, explains some of the uncertainties in the timing of the storm, and goes into detail of the forecast timing of the arrival of rain, then freezing rain, then sleet, then snow around our region.

The local NWS office deserves praise for putting together an in-depth presentation in such a useful format. It's basically a Powerpoint slideshow with audio narration, using a software product called Articulate Presenter 6.0.1. You can easily skip back and forth between slides -- you don't have to sit through the entire 16 minutes to get the info you need.

(If you're clicking that link on Wednesday mid-morning or later, the briefing will have been replaced by an updated forecast.) (I enjoy using the future perfect tense when I have the opportunity.)

If the latest forecast holds, it's good news for Tulsa, terrible news for southern Okmulgee, Okfuskee, and Muskogee counties.


The black zones are level 5 on the 5 point Sperry Piltz Ice Accumulation index:

"Catastrophic damage to entire exposed utility systems, including both distribution and transmission networks. Outages could last several weeks in some areas. Shelters needed."

The latest briefing made the point repeatedly that the line between minimal ice and catastrophic ice could easily move a couple of counties north or south. It all depends on the movement of the storm, still off the California coast, and the timing of the arrival of the cold front.

GET READY: To help with your preparations, Tasha Does Tulsa has a list of what to have on hand during an Oklahoma ice storm. Tasha links to all the official sources and the standard lists (water, batteries, candles, non-perishable food) and adds several excellent suggestions drawn from her experience during Tulsa's last major ice storm in December 2007.

It's gonna be bad. Ice -- enough, with the forecast wind speeds, to cause significant power outages of the sort we had in December 2007 -- followed by lots of snow and single-digit temperatures. At least, that's what our local weatherfolk are predicting.

Click the link to view a 7-minute weather briefing from the National Weather Service Tulsa office, from this morning (Jan 26, 2010) at 9 a.m.

Here's that ice accumulation map from the briefing.


The storm that is expected to cause this mess is still over the Pacific Ocean, and how it moves once it hits land, and the timing of its arrival with respect to the timing of a cold front, will determine how bad the results are. This morning's National Weather Service briefing predicts about a half inch of ice and 7.5" of snow for Tulsa. The worst of the ice (but not as much snow) will be further southeast, following a line cutting through the heart of Okfuskee and Okmulgee Counties, northwestern Muskogee County, southern and eastern Wagoner County, western and northern Cherokee County, northern Adair County, and Arkansas' Washington County. Winds throughout the region are forecast to be about 25 MPH.

The ice and wind would combine to result in a Sperry-Piltz Ice Accumulation Index of 3 or more for all of northeastern Oklahoma (except for northern Osage, northern Washington, Nowata, Craig, Ottawa, Pushmataha, and LeFlore counties). That value is defined as, "Numerous utility interruptions with some damage to main feeder lines and equipment expected. Tree limb damage is excessive. Outages lasting 1-5 days."

For the band of the worst ice I mentioned above, their SPIA index is 4: "Prolonged & widespread utility interruptions awith extensive damage to main distribution feeder lines & some high voltage transmission lines/structures. Outages lasting 5-10 days."

Here's a map showing SPIA index values projected for Thursday/Thursday night:


Alan Crone of KOTV News on 6 explains the storm and its likely impact.

Crone says right now the ice and sleet portion of the storm will most likely occur south of the I-44 corridor.

Freezing rain will eventually transition into sleet Thursday afternoon and then to snow Thursday afternoon and evening before ending Friday morning.

Crone says there are areas of northern Oklahoma which could see 12+ inches of snow. Snowfall near Tulsa could be from 8 inches to more than a foot.

Areas south and east of Tulsa will have lesser amounts of snow.

Other forecasts vary.

Weather Channel forecast for Tulsa shows an overnight low of 34 on Wednesday night / Thursday morning, but the temp dropping to 32 by 9 a.m. Thursday with rain becoming freezing rain.

Accuweather expects freezing rain off and on between noon and 6 pm Thursday, followed by snow -- possibly 9".

Here's what Intellicast says:

Details for Thursday, January 28: Mix of rain and freezing rain. Highs in the mid 30s and lows in the low 20s.
Details for Friday, January 29: Cloudy. Highs in the low 30s and lows in the upper single digits.

Will this be worse than 2007? Last time around, when our power went out, I sent my wife and kids off to the in-laws in Arkansas, where they never lost power. My recollection is that the roads were not that bad; it was just that the ice and wind were bad enough to take down powerlines. I hunkered down at home in front of the gas fireplace and took hot showers by battery-powered lantern. My office had power, and so did many stores and restaurants, so there were places to escape during the day. When my sister got power, I stayed one night (Wednesday) with them and planned to stay a second, but the power came on as I was stopping back by the house to pick up a couple of things. As bad as it was, it could have been worse. Hopefully it won't be that bad this time around.

But given that Tulsa is in that meteorological sweet spot between cold northern air and warm, moist southern air, and thus prone to ice storms, shouldn't we be thinking harder about burying those power lines?

Tulsa blogger meetup

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Tasha Does Tulsa, Tulsa Project, and Art of Manliness are sponsoring a Tulsa Blogger Meetup at Joe Momma's Pizza, 1st & Elgin downtown, from 7 - 9 p.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2010. Click the link for details.

Blogger meetups are great fun. It was five years ago this weekend that a number of bloggers from around the state and elsewhere gathered at a coffee house in Oklahoma City for an informal "Okie blogger bash." There have been a couple of statewide blogger roundups since then.

I hope to be at this one and will, barring a conflict with business travel, kid activities, or Mom's night out. While this is a Tulsa blogger meetup, I'm sure any blogger with the ambition to travel to the event from outside the city limits would be welcomed warmly.

RELATED: Nominations are open, through February 2, for the 2009 Okie Blog Awards, founded by OkieDoke's Mike Hermes and administered this year by Jennifer James (aka JenX67). Just like the Academy Awards, the Okie Blog Awards are nominated by active Oklahoma bloggers and only active Oklahoma bloggers are eligible to vote. (That link explains precisely who qualifies to participate.)

On GetRightOK, Jason Carini reports on a bill from Sapulpa State Sen. Brian Bingman to authorize a toll road connecting I-44 near 49th West Ave to the L. L. Tisdale Expressway. The bill is SB 1764, and it adds the incomplete Gilcrease Expressway route, first sketched in 1956 (and then known as the Sequoyah Loop), to the list, in Title 69, Section 1705, of 34 routes and exits which the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is authorized to build. The OTA is required to fund any new routes or exits from its own funds, generated by the tolls it charges.

Of those 34 projects, most have already been built, some are duplicates, and others are unlikely to be feasible anytime soon. OTA wouldn't exercise its authority to build a new turnpike unless sufficient revenues would be generated to pay back the bonds and maintain its bond rating.

I suspect the main purpose of this bill it to permit the use of tolls to finance the most expensive part of completing the Gilcrease route, the bridge over the Arkansas River. Most of the Gilcrease route west of the airport has been funded by Tulsa citizens through the 3rd Penny sales tax.

The route is designated Oklahoma Highway 11 from I-244 near Memorial west to US 75, where it joins 75 north to 36th St. North, then jogs west to Peoria Ave. on its way to Sperry and Skiatook. (Long term, I think the intention was to route Highway 11 on the Gilcrease to the L. L. Tisdale (née;e Osage) Expressway, and then north on that route to Skiatook. I'm not aware of plans to give the unfinished western segment of the loop a highway number. I suspect the city would create a sign for the road similar to that used for the L. L. Tisdale Expressway. (But if the OTA funds it, they'd probably follow the pattern of the barely-legible-at-highway-speeds signs used on the Creek, Muskogee, and Kirkpatrick Turnpikes.)

Today is the March for Life, the annual event to protest Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that overturned abortion laws nationwide and that has resulted in the death of nearly 50 million innocent American children since that date. You may not be able to get to Washington today to join the march, but you can show your support by registering as a virtual marcher. So far over 65,000 Americans are participating virtually, including leaders like RNC Chairman Michael Steele, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Florida Senate candidate Marco Rubio, Andrew Breitbart of BigGovernment.com, and Americans United for Life CEO Charmaine Yoest.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr sent an email on Thursday to city employees regarding the poll of AFSCME members, preferring layoffs to salary and benefit cuts, and regarding the state of negotiations with the police and fire unions. Click over to Roemerman on Record for the full text of Bartlett's statement.

Not Evil Just Wrong, a documentary on the "true cost of global warming hysteria," will be screened tonight, January 21, 2010, at Oral Roberts University at 7 pm in Room 236 of the Learning Resource Center. The screening is free and open to the public, sponsored by Americans for Prosperity.

From the film's website:

Global warming alarmists want Americans to believe that humans are killing the planet. But Not Evil Just Wrong, a new documentary by Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney, proves that the only threats to America (and the rest of the world) are the flawed science and sky-is-falling rhetoric of Al Gore and his allies in environmental extremism.

The film drives home the realities of that extremism. "Turn off your lights. Turn off your heat when you get cold. Turn off your air when you get hot," one man on the street says. "And then think about that."

Not Evil Just Wrong warns Americans that their jobs, modest lifestyles and dreams for their children are at stake. Industries that rely on fossil fuels will be crippled if the government imposes job-killing regulations on an economy already mired in recession. Small towns in the heartland, like Vevay, Ind., will become bastions of unemployment and poverty. Breadwinners like Tim McElhany in Vevay will lose their jobs -- and will have to start borrowing money again just to buy bread for their families.

The damage that would be wrought is unjustified by the science. Not Evil Just Wrong exposes the deceptions that experts, politicians, educators and the media have been force-feeding the public for years. Man-made pollution is not melting the polar icecaps. The ocean will not rise 20 feet in a flash. And the only polar bears dying because of man are the ones who try to eat men.

McAleer and McElhinney debunk what for a time was the environmental movement's most powerful weapon of disinformation, the infamous "hockey stick" graph that attributed a supposedly unique burst of warming in the 20th century to humans. They also shatter the myth that the hottest years in the United States were 1998 and 2006. The hottest year was 1934, and the hottest decade was the 1930s -- when there were half as many people and no SUVs or jumbo jets.

PLANiTULSA, Mass. senate

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A busy evening -- was with over 200 Tulsans at the PLANiTULSA public forum, then had to come home to entertain the four-year-old so he wouldn't distract big sister, who had a writing assignment to finish for tomorrow. Thankfully the four-year-old was content to sit on my lap as we watched Scott Brown's victory speech. Later, after the kids were finally in bed, I cracked open a victory bottle of Sam Adams Honey Porter, an appropriate way to celebrate a revolutionary victory.

This town-by-town map of Massachusetts election results is interesting. I was not surprised to see Democratic nominee Martha Coakley get 75% in my college hometown of Nuclear-Free Brookline or 85% in the People's Republic of Cambridge. I was surprised that Coakley won, and by big margins, in rural western Mass., which once upon a time sent Republicans to the U. S. House. I was pleased to see Brown won the town of Barnstable, which includes the village of Hyannisport, site of the Kennedy Compound. And while Coakley won Martha's Vineyard, her percentages varied inversely to proximity to Chappaquiddick; Edgartown gave her only 55%.

I tweeted the first part of the PLANiTULSA meeting, hope to write more about it tomorrow evening. In the meantime, you can visit PLANiTULSA.org to read the final version of the policy plan and see draft land use and transportation plan maps. There's even a KMZ version of the land use and "areas of stability" maps, so you can view them in Google Earth.

If you hadn't heard, there's a special election in Massachusetts tomorrow to fill the remainder of the late Ted Kennedy's term in the U. S. Senate. Attorney General Martha Coakley is the Democratic nominee, State Sen. Scott Brown is the Republican nominee. Polls show the race too close to call, an astounding situation given Massachusetts' political profile. But Coakley has run an inept campaign, and Brown has been helped by general discontent, which hurts the party in power, a more likable persona, and financial and volunteer support from conservatives nationwide who see Brown as the best hope for breaking the Democrats' 60-vote stranglehold on the U. S. Senate.

Sissy Willis, a Chelsea, Mass.-based blogger deserves much of the credit for bringing the Mass. special election and Scott Brown's campaign to the attention of conservatives across the country.

Robert Stacy McCain is in Massachusetts covering the final days of the campaign to replace Kennedy for the American Spectator and his own blog.

To conserve his shoe leather reporting fund, McCain is crashing on the couch of blogger DaTechguy, who is writing about the Brown-Coakley race from a local perspective.

RealClearPolitics has a daily round-up of news, poll results, and commentary. And the site's HorseRaceBlog, by political number-cruncher Jay Cost, is always worth reading.

And if you'd like to help turn out the vote for Scott Brown, he still needs volunteers and contributions.


Pollster Chris Wilson is in Massachusetts and wonders about the effect of ice and snow on tomorrow's vote.

Fleming and Hayes is another Mass. based blog covering the special election. They have an exclusive interview with an American citizen, originally from Iran, who was excluded from a rally featuring Bill Clinton and detained by Secret Service because, the man says, he is on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. He is a volunteer for the Coakley campaign from Springfield in western Mass.

Carless in Tulsa

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A young couple, friends of ours from church, decided to mark their fifth anniversary* in an unusual way. Feeling the need for more exercise but not wanting to pay for a gym membership, they took the batteries out of their cars and began a 30-day experiment in getting everywhere by bike.

[Planetizen] sent me an article titled "The Absurdity of Stationary Bikes." It was making fun of all those people with gym memberships who drive around the parking lot four times to find the closest spot to the gym and then go in and ride on a stationary bike....

...I asked my wife if she would be up for taking the batteries out of our cars and learning how to get by without the car for 30 days starting on January 8th - the day of our fifth anniversary. She said okay but that she would be much more agreeable to the idea if it were in April.

January and February are probably Tulsa's worst months to be biking outside. They are Tulsa's coldest months when ice storms and snow are expected

That is why January 8 was so appealing to me. Is it possible for a couple to have no car during the worst months of the year in Tulsa without totally changing their lifestyle? If it is possible, what do you have to give up in order to do it? What are the challenges and obstacles to living life without the car in Tulsa? What are the benefits?

Nathan works downtown, Kristin works near Utica Square, and they live in Brady Heights, so the daily commute is manageable, but they're brave souls to try this in the middle of winter. The two are writing about their experiences and the practicalities of commuting by bike on a blog called Carless in Tulsa.

The month-long experiment began on January 9. They've made it to work each day, even in the sleet and cold temps of last Tuesday morning. They've even made a couple of small grocery trips, bringing home a dozen eggs from Blue Jackalope without breaking a single one. The one lapse (if you can call it that) was hitching a ride with neighbors instead of riding seven miles to church last Sunday in the bitter cold and wind.

It will be interesting to see what other obstacles they encounter and how they overcome them. Tulsa has a great collection of bike trails, but the layout is designed for recreation, not getting where you have to go. By the end of the month, Nathan and Kristin should have some interesting insights on what can be done to make the bicycle a practical means of transportation for more Tulsans.

(*What's especially stunning to me about Nathan and Kristin celebrating their fifth anniversary -- my daughter was a flower girl at their wedding when she was a wee four year old. Her age has doubled since then.)

Late yesterday afternoon, I received an interesting e-mail from Fox 23 investigative reporter Emily Sinovic:

This youtube clip has been getting passed around quite a bit recently. Do you have anything you'd like to say about what's happened since you raised these concerns about the unnecessary decision to move into the new city hall and its effect on the budget?

The clip was my statement to the City Council on July 12, 2007, prior to their vote to purchase One Technology Center as the new City Hall.

My reply:

It's interesting to know that this is still being discussed.

The new City Hall is a beautiful building, but, as I said in my remarks to the City Council, the decision to move was made without a clear understanding of the impact on the city budget. Like so many other decisions made during the Kathy Taylor administration, the City Hall move was approved without regard to the bottom line for the taxpayers. Taylor was skilled politically at getting a majority on the City Council to follow her lead, but she wasn't leading the city in the right direction.

In addition to the City Hall deal, a decision biased by advice from a consultant with a financial interest in the deal going through, Taylor pushed for budget increases above the rate of inflation in good economic times, causing us to cut deeper now that times are bad. Taylor hurt the city by orchestrating the lawsuit settlement that forced taxpayers to pay $7.1 million that they didn't owe to cover the default of Great Plains Airlines. Taylor's ballpark assessment deal may ultimately be rejected by the courts, which would once again stick city taxpayers with millions of extra dollars to pay for the ballpark. And in the budget process for this fiscal year, Taylor used unreasonably rosy revenue projections to avoid making difficult decisions about pay cuts and layoffs. Those projections have had to be revised downward repeatedly, but Taylor managed to push the hard decisions onto her successor's plate.

Only Councilor John Eagleton was consistently opposed to these fiscally irresponsible moves, joined occasionally by former Councilor Bill Martinson and Councilor Rick Westcott.

Some people believe that Taylor's motives in all these cases were to solve problems for her political allies, regardless of the cost to the taxpayers. Whatever the motivation, Taylor's poor fiscal stewardship has forced today's mayor and council to make harder choices and deeper cuts.

A few minutes later I received a follow-up from Ms. Sinovic:

Thank you for your response. How much money do you think this move ultimately cost the city? Do you think staying in the old city hall building would have prevented, at least to some degree, the serious budget crisis we are now experiencing? Again, thank you for your comments.

My response:

I don't have the numbers handy, but we know that the operating expenses were $1.4 million greater than expected for the first year. There was also a substantial cost involved in relocating employees and in making alterations to the new building to meet the city's requirements.

By itself, the extra expenses for the new City Hall wouldn't make up this year's shortfall, but it has made the job of cutting the budget much harder.

I didn't see Emily Sinovic's televised report, but here's a link to the web version of the story City Warned: OTC May Cause Budget Problems. Attached to the story is an e-mail from the City of Tulsa -- doesn't say who sent it -- defending the decision to buy OTC.

(By the way, if you're wondering why Michael Bates in 2007 had more to say about the city budget than Michael Bates in 2010, it's a simple matter of time. The job that actually pays the bills is demanding more time and energy. At home, I want to be available to my kids while they're awake. There are homework problems to solve, laundry to be sorted, dishes to be put away, stories to be read, baths to be run. When the kids are finally in bed, there's still housework to be done and bills to be paid. That still used to leave me time to write, but I'm finding it harder than it used to be to get by on 5 hours of sleep a night. This past week has been a particular challenge, with two back-to-back trips, both of which involved graveyard-shift hours.)

MORE: Back in August, when news broke of the $1.4 million in unexpected maintenance expenses, I posted this summary of my coverage of the One Technology Center / Tulsa City Hall story from 2007.


Via the Google Earth Library blog, I found a collection of historic navigational charts for air and sea travel on the website of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It's the Historical Map and Chart Project of the Office of Coast Survey. You can search the collection by state, date, type of map, or keyword. Here are a few that may interest you:

Civil Airways and Mileage, 1948

This map shows major airports and the designations for airways connecting them. With a few exceptions the US three-letter airport codes were then as they are today -- e.g., INK for Wink, Texas -- although the Canadian two-letter codes later had a Y prefixed to them.

Tulsa section of United States Airway Map, 1934

Wichita section of United States Airway Map, 1933

These maps show airports, navigational aids, and land features visible from the air -- tank farms, highways, railroads, electric transmission lines, and bodies of water. The two maps together show the areas west, north, and east of Tulsa in the early '30s.

The Tulsa map shows the old alignment of US 66 through Tulsa, which jogged north from 11th St. to Admiral Pl. on Garnett (or so it would seem on this map. The fairgrounds race track is depicted. Note that what is now US 69 through Welch, Vinita, Pryor, and Chouteau used to be called US 73. Notice too that roads that these days travel diagonal paths used to jog back and forth on section line roads. The map shows Tulsa's main airport on N. Sheridan, Tulsa Commercial Airport at 51st and Sheridan, and Wilcox Airport, which may be the predecessor of Harvey Young Airport.

The roads depicted nearest Tulsa are a bit puzzling and don't seem to be to scale, but it looks like Peoria, Lewis, and Harvard extending to the south. It appears to show 96th St. going from the Jenks bridge to Mingo Rd., but perhaps that's meant to be 101st.

The Wichita chart shows Tulsa and the areas north and west. That road extending east of Jenks is labeled US 64 -- probably an error, but perhaps not. Look west of Sand Springs to see the now-inundated town of Keystone and the path of US 64 before Keystone Lake and Dam.

Up in Osage County, there's a substantial-looking place named DeNoya. The town, informally known as Whizbang (a name deemed too undignified to grace a post office), is now a pasture. When I was last there, in 1988, nothing remained but the footings of a few buildings.

The red stars on the map mark flashing or rotating beacons that marked the path of airways for nighttime navigation.

Oklahoma City sectional chart, 1950

This more recent map covers a smaller area than the 1930s sectional charts. It's interesting to see how small (relatively speaking) and fragmented Oklahoma City was, before the massive annexation about a decade later.

Alumni of American Airlines' Sabre reservation system will gather Friday, January 22, 2010, at Mulligan's, in the Radisson Hotel on 41st St, between US 169 and Garnett Rd.

Here's the text of the invitation that's going around by e-mail:

30 Years??? Seems like yesterday!!!

Come celebrate the 30th anniversary of the NY to TUL migration!

All are invited...
old friends & new friends,
transplants & native Oklahomans,
current & past employees of
AA, HP, EDS, and Sabre...
to an informal gathering
at Mulligan's located inside the
Radisson Hotel on
41st St. just east of Hwy 169
(between Mingo and Garnett)
Friday, January 22 nd, 2010

PLANiTULSA-20100119.pngPLANiTULSA, the process for developing Tulsa's first comprehensive plan in a generation, will hold a public forum a week from tonight:

What: PLANiTULSA public forum, led by John Fregonese
Where: Central Center at Centennial Park, on 6th St. west of Peoria
When: Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Who: Open to the public

John Fregonese, head of Fregonese Associates, which developing the new comprehensive plan for the City of Tulsa, will present the basics of the draft comprehensive plan. There will be an opportunity to use "clickers" to provide instant feedback on key concepts. Light snacks will be served.

Before the meeting, take time to download the working drafts of the Policy Plan from the PLANiTULSA website, look them over, and send in your feedback. The Policy Plan is divided into five components: Land Use, Transportation, Economic Development, Housing, and Parks, Open Space, and Environment.

Too tired to write

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I have a long list of things I should be doing tonight, and I started a lengthy post, but working graveyard shift four of the last five nights means the exhaustion is exceeding my ambition. Check out the BatesLine "headlines" pages linked at right for links to blogs worth your attention.

San Antonio sojourn

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I'm nearing the end of two business trips in one week, separated by less than 16 hours at home, both involving graveyard-shift hours.

The first was to Altus, in southwestern Oklahoma -- drove down on Wednesday, worked the wee hours of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, slept a bit, then drove home late Saturday afternoon with a couple of self-indulgent stops: taking pictures an abandoned stretch of US 62 east of town, followed a short while later by a Meers burger.

Back in '87 I spent six weeks over a three month period in Altus for Burtek with a team of about 10 engineers, installing and testing a simulation written in Ada to control a C-141 full-flight simulator. It was my first major site trip as an engineer, and going back to Altus brings back a lot of memories, most of them positive. It was strange to see what had been the Ramada Inn, the nice new hotel in town in '87, with an indoor pool and restaurant, now a Motel 6. The nice new place in town these days is the Holiday Inn Express, a bit further east.

Got in Saturday evening in time to give the four-year-old a bath, read to him and his big sister, hear the 13-year-old's enthused description of Avatar in 3-D, get a couple of loads of laundry done, then deliver a computer chassis back to the office, then about five hours sleep. Sunday morning involved turning in the rental for the Altus trip (a Ford Fusion -- pretty nice car), going to church, going back to the rental office to pick up the Pikepass I'd left on the windshield, lunch at Delta Cafe -- vegetable plate, to make up for what I ate in Altus -- then off to the airport.

At the airport, I met up with a colleague from my FlightSafety days, off on a site trip of his own. We wound up next to each other on the plane, and it was good to get caught up.

The Thrifty van driver was playing a local Christian radio station playing a type of music you don't hear much any more -- neither 18th century Charles Wesley or Isaac Watts, nor 21st century emergent church grunge, but hymns and gospel songs from the late 19th, early 20th century -- the songs of my Southern Baptist childhood and my dad's childhood, too. I tuned my car radio to the same station and harmonized best as I could remember from the Baptist Hymnal (1956 edition). On the drive to the work site at 2 a.m., they were playing Alexander Scourby's reading of Genesis 31-33 from the King James Version.

During off-season, you can find a hotel room downtown San Antonio about as cheaply as one out on Loop 410, and downtown is far more interesting. For a short trip in December, I stayed at the O'Brien Hotel, a 10-year-old boutique hotel in an old three-story commercial building, just about a block from the River Walk and La Villita. This time, someone else picked the hotel, the Hampton Inn, northeast of the Alamo. The large surface parking lots between the hotel and the Alamo makes this a much less appealing part of downtown.

It was unusually chilly for San Antonio. I set out for the Riverwalk to find a place to eat, only to discover that the river was gone! This, evidently, is the time of year they drain the loop to dredge and clean the river bed. A few pubs and eateries were closed, as were some of the sidewalks.

Drained San Antonio River, MDB10509

Since I had to be at work at 2 a.m, I decided to have breakfast for dinner and had an Ulster fry-up (bacon, eggs, sausage, tomato, beans, toast, and mushrooms) and an overpriced Guinness at Mad Dogs Pub. I went back to the room, finished reading Ender's Game (which had come highly recommended by my 13-year-old), and took a two-hour nap.

Work on site was done about 8, but I wrote up my trip report and answered e-mail as I had the hotel's breakfast for dinner. Finally got to bed about 11 and slept 'til 4:30 with Fox News droning in the background to drown out any extraneous hall noise. (Glenn Beck woke me up.)

My walk to get something to eat took me past a building that holds a historical scale model of the Alamo as it was in 1836. Price of admission was $3, and it was well worth it. There's a view of the excavation under the building, showing layers of debris from different periods, including a layer, about two feet down, with cannon balls, horseshoes, and animal bones. There's a recorded story to go with the diorama, and it's narrated by drummer, vocalist, and Alamo enthusiast Phil Collins. Spotlights on the diorama highlight the component buildings of the fort as Collins describes them, and then backed by the Degüello -- the haunting bugle call meaning "take no prisoners" -- Collins tells the story of the battle. The presentation helped me get a better sense for how the siege and battle progressed.

The diorama is connected with The History Shop next door, which specializes in antique maps, documents, books, and weapons.

Just west of the diorama is the Emily Morgan Hotel, a 1924 Gothic Revival building that has some Philtower-like gargoyles depicting various medical ailments. (Originally, it was the Medical Arts Building.)

Emily Morgan Hotel gargoyle, MDB10479Emily Morgan Hotel gargoyle, MDB10478

The stroll onward took me past a new Walgreens at Houston and Navarro. The building was completed last year, and it replaces an older Walgreens that had been there since the '30s. The new building retains the old neon signage and has the form of the old, but the new store is about twice as big. The upper stories of the old building were unused; the new building has offices in its second story. It's a very nice job of urban infill.

Downtown San Antonio Walgreens

Dinner was at Schilo's deli, just next door to Casa Rio on Commerce Street. This is an old fashioned German deli, and it was hard to decide which dinner entrée to choose. I went with the jaegerschnitzel, accompanied by German potato salad, a delicious cup of split pea soup, and a chilled mug of Spaten Optimator.

Schilo's Deli, MDB10497

MORE: Before heading home on the 12th, I had some time to take more photos around downtown, including the San Antonio Express-News building, and daytime shots of the drained San Antonio River, and time to have lunch at Schilo's. The pastrami was underwhelming (thin sliced, lean, not steamed), but the split pea soup and homemade root beer were good.

(Finished at last and posted on February 19, 2010.)

BOOKMARKED: Memories of San Antonio places from someone who left in 1961. Many of the photo links are dead, but the narrative is interesting.

Grief, observed

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Two recent posts on the subject of grief, both by Oklahoma bloggers, deserve your attention.

C. Michael Patton (the theologian from Edmond, not the recycler from Tulsa) lost a sister to suicide six years ago. He was encouraged to write a "grief letter" to his sister and to share it, so he's posted it to his blog. He writes of her encouragement to him as he pursued teaching theology, her struggling with doubt and depression, and how her tragic death has fired his passion for grounding people in solid theology, as a way of preparing them to deal with the inevitable grief and loss of this life.

Those of you who followed Brandon and Susie Dutcher's blog through the roller coaster of their daughter Anne Marie's brief life have seen up close how that works. In the latest entry, Susie writes about
the help and encouragement that has come during this time of deep sorrow -- help from the Bible, from others who have lost babies, from books and sermons. (She links to several helpful sermons by John Piper, whom she says "is about the best when it comes on teaching and preaching on sovereignty and suffering.") She concludes:

So yes, help has come. The awful pain is still there, and seems only to get worse because I miss Anne Marie more and more each day. But sometimes I forget that if it didn't hurt so bad then it wouldn't be called suffering. And in this suffering, God is helping me "to feel in my bones and not just know in my head that God is for me" and that "behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face."

My friend Dave Russ sent along a link to Ann Coulter's latest column, saying it was "Ann Coulter at her smart-aleck best." Coulter takes Brit Hume's two or three sentences on Fox News about Tiger Woods, Christianity, and redemption as her starting point.

Hume's words, being 100 percent factually correct, sent liberals into a tizzy of sputtering rage, once again illustrating liberals' copious ignorance of Christianity. (Also illustrating the words of the Bible: "How is it you do not understand me when I speak? It is because you cannot bear to listen to my words." John 8:43.)

As she is wont to do, she runs with the topic, turning her column into a competent and clear explanation of the Good News. With a bit of cleanup, it could be tract-worthy. Here's her conclusion:

In a boiling rage, liberals constantly accuse Christians of being "judgmental." No, we're relieved.

Christianity is also the hardest religion in the world because, if you believe Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead, you have no choice but to give your life entirely over to Him. No more sexual promiscuity, no lying, no cheating, no stealing, no killing inconvenient old people or unborn babies -- no doing what all the other kids do.

And no more caring what the world thinks of you -- because, as Jesus warned in a prophecy constantly fulfilled by liberals: The world will hate you.

With Christianity, your sins are forgiven, the slate is wiped clean and your eternal life is guaranteed through nothing you did yourself, even though you don't deserve it. It's the best deal in the universe.

Richardson on Roberts

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The latest episode of Goodbye Tulsa is an unusual one: Gary Richardson talks about meeting with Oral Roberts, in which Roberts asked Richardson to explain the legal problems of fellow televangelist Robert Tilton. At the end of the meeting, Richardson, in turn, asked Roberts for the opportunity to talk to one person who had been unable to walk but was healed instantly after Roberts or one of his colleagues prayed for him. Roberts' answer is interesting.

It's been too long since I've done this, and here I'm going to try to do it on three hours sleep. My day is just about to end as yours is getting started. Here are some posts of interest from blogs in Tulsa and around Oklahoma:

Tasha Does Tulsa has a list of things to do around town now that your kids are off school because of the bitterly cold temperatures for Thursday and Friday. I'm intrigued by the Sand Springs Museum's exhibit of classic toys.

Mad Okie wonders about the "mother" depicted in a frequently-seen internet ad.

Mike McCarville has the latest on Army Lt. Michael Behenna of Edmond, who was sentenced to 20 years for killing an al-Qaeda operative in Iraq. Behenna is seeking clemency and also appealing the verdict on the grounds that the prosecution withheld expert testimony that would have exonerated Behenna.

Pollster extraordinaire Chris Wilson links to news that portable electronic signature gathering equipment is being developed by a Silicon Valley firm called Verafirma. The idea is to make it easier to solicit signatures using social media and gather signatures using smartphone apps. Wilson asks, "Are we ready for this?"

At Choice Remarks, Brandon Dutcher links to a quote from Lt. Gov. Jari Askins about the fiscal wisdom of the HOPE initiative, on the ballot in November, given the current economic realities. The initiative would peg Oklahoma education expenditures to those of surrounding states. According to a story in the Edmond Sun, a study by the Oklahoma House of Representatives indicates HOPE's passage would require a 40% tax increase or a 20% across-the-board cut of non-educational spending.

On his personal blog, Brandon says his daughter's avid interest in Sports Illustrated is "another reason to come courtin'."

Laurel Kane, owner of the Route 66 landmark Afton Station, traveled down Admiral Pl. in Tulsa, a Route 66 alignment from 1926-1932, looking for roadside history and snapped a few photos in the process. (Admiral was also the alignment for State Highway 33 and -- at various times -- US 75 and US 169, so it continued to attract roadside development long after 66 was shifted to 11th St.)

Emily, the Red Fork Hippie Chick, is looking for activist songs as part of a unit for her class. She knows a lot of left-leaning songs, but she wants to be balanced, so she's looking for songs from a conservative perspective (and not just -- Irritated Tulsa will be pleased to know -- "Toby Keith bleat[ing] about putting a boot up somebody's arse"). She's also looking for items people are willing to loan to create a hippie decor for her classroom.

Speaking of Irritated Tulsan, he has a list of Tulsa's top 10 places not to wake up dead. And his weekly Tulsa Tuesday post at The Lost Ogle reports "Downtown YMCA Moves, Creates Really-Homeless People."

Tyson Wynn gloats about the Corporation Commission's decision to use an overlay instead of a split to handle the 918's lack of available phone numbers. (My friend Dana Murphy was the only commissioner to vote the sensible way -- for a split. Area codes should indicate area.)

Lots of interesting articles on all manner of topics by Lynn Sislo over at Violins and Starships and by Charles G. Hill at Dustbury. But you knew that already, or should have. Lynn has a list of 12 things that every woman needs, including a "lifetime supply of drama repellent." Charles reports that he has written over 2 million words, and that's just since the start of his second decade of blogging.

Straight Shooter shares her two New Year's resolutions.

Yogi, lucky fellow, got to hear Hot Club of Cowtown at Cain's Ballroom last Saturday night.

Finally, The Pioneer Woman turns 41 today and has posted a gallery of old photos (with old hairstyles) to mark the occasion.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I once again was named to Urban Tulsa Weekly's Hot 100 for 2010. The annual feature story lists Tulsa movers and shakers from all walks of life. I was even more pleased to see a number of friends and colleagues on the list (as well as great people that I haven't yet met): To name just a few, there's blogger Natasha Ball, urban-friendly developer Jamie Jamieson, City Councilors Roscoe Turner, Maria Barnes, and Jim Mautino, former Councilor Chris Medlock, planning commissioner Liz Wright, neighborhood activist Herb Beattie. I'm also tickled that my entry is nestled between Dawn Welch of the Rock Cafe and the Round-Up Boys -- both favorites of the Bates family. I don't want to exceed fair use -- read the article for the whole list, and don't miss the cover take-off on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Thanks to UTW staff for the kind words. I will work hard in 2010 to make BatesLine hot enough to be worthy of the honor.

Amanda DeCort of the Tulsa Preservation Commission has a blog entry today about a blog devoted to paintings of Tulsa's buildings and streetscapes:

Local artist Celeste Vaught is on a mission to paint as many of Tulsa's fantastic historic buildings as she can. You can check out her "Brick X Brick" series by visiting her blog, http://celestevaughtart.blogspot.com/. Vaught's striking paintings have captured everything from the Atlas Life Building to the Phoenix Dry Cleaners.

In her "About the Artist" blurb, Vaught writes:

"How did you go from painting flowers and still life to painting buildings?" you might be wondering. As I was driving around Tulsa, I noticed, of all things, how many really neat old apartment buildings we have. It was Eugene Apartments, a striking white deco complex that began this journey of painting Tulsa architecture. I discovered a real passion for capturing the beauty of these structures. Tulsa is one of the best places in the world to see Art Deco Architecture. It's my goal to paint as many interesting Tulsa buildings before they disappear. I'll try to share a little history and some of the thinking/methods behind my paintings. For Tulsa natives, I hope you'll identify with each of the paintings and for those unfamiliar with our lovely city, may you be encouraged to visit soon!

A typical Vaught blog entries includes one of her paintings, the history of the featured buildings, and information on the composition and technique involved in capturing that moment and turning it into a piece of art.

The example above highlights the sign on the Atlas Life Building. Click the link to go to her blog entry and a larger image of the painting.

You can find out more about Celeste Vaught and her work on her website.

I got a call yesterday from someone upset about "24 Hours in Tulsa," the BBC World Service documentary about Tulsa police officers. The documentary is based on Officer Jay Chiarito-Mazzarella's Street Stories podcast. Much of the 22-minute piece is Chiarito-Mazzarella retelling some of his stories, with a few words changed to be more comprehensible to an international audience (measurements in meters instead of feet, "windscreen" instead of "windshield").

The friend who called heard about the documentary from a relative living overseas. My friend was concerned that, however accurate the stories, the documentary painted Tulsa and its police department in a negative light.

What do you think? Listen to the broadcast at the link above. You can also download "24 Hours in Tulsa" as an 11 MB MP3 file. Then post your comments below. Should TPD officers have to get permission to interact with the media or to blog about work? Should this have been handled through the TPD's public affairs office or the Mayor's office?

Congratulations to my friend Erin Conrad, who will be holding a photography open house at Joe Momma's Pizza, 1st & Elgin, downtown Tulsa, this coming Wednesday, January 6, 2010, from 5 to 8 pm. The Rock Bottom Ramblers will be performing. The open house will mark the launch of a month-long exhibition of Erin's work at Joe Momma's. Erin writes:

I'm working on my show this entire week. And it is FUN! So you should definitely come see me on January 6th at Joe Momma's, downtown Tulsa. I mean come on, a band, a little wine tasting, some cheesecake tasting and I definitely have something for you to take home with you if you come. Yep. It's true. It will be the best time you have in 2010. At least to that point ;)

Erin does some wonderful portrait photography. You can see samples of her work at her blog, http://erinconrad.blogspot.com.

One the blogs I added to my list of favorites last year is The Other McCain. The eponymous author, journalist Robert Stacy McCain, was a long-time writer and editor for The Washington Times, a dead-tree newspaper that began a steep decline about the time of his departure. McCain began blogging, and in less than two years reached 3 million hits.

The Other McCain covers national politics from a conservative perspective. Stacy McCain's approach is aggressive but infused with humor (much of it self-deprecating), and he's willing to burn shoe leather to go after a story. (A couple of examples from the site's previous incarnation on blogspot.com: His on-the-scene reporting from the NY 23rd Congressional District special election and from eastern Kentucky on the census worker suicide staged to look like a hate crime.) There's even something endearing about his relentless rattling of the tip jar. His co-blogger, Smitty, adds incisive comment that goes beyond the news of the day to consider the long-term picture.

Stacy and Smitty have successfully relaunched The Other McCain with its own domain (theothermccain.com) and with an attractive new design. I've added The Other McCain's new feed to the "headlines" page, so you'll always see links to their latest posts there. (Check the BatesLine headlines page several times a day for the latest links from the best blogs.)

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2009 is the previous archive.

February 2010 is the next archive.

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