September 2010 Archives

This is the first in a planned series on the 11 state questions on the November 2, 2010, Oklahoma general election ballot.

In Oklahoma, a state question can be either the result of an initiative petition obtaining the required number of signatures or the legislature referring a matter for the voters' decision (a legislative referendum). State questions are usually constitutional amendments, but they can also be used to pass legislation. For example, the 2004 votes on a tobacco tax and lottery involved state statutes but did not amend the Constitution; the legislature could choose to repeal or amend them. On several occasions, a state question has specifically called for the repeal of some recently-approved legislation.

All amendments to the Oklahoma Constitution, whether initiated by petition or the legislature, must go to a vote of the people. Ten of the 11 questions this year -- one initiative petition and nine legislative referenda -- involve constitutional amendments. Another legislative referendum -- SQ 746, pertaining to voter ID -- amends state statutes.

While the ballot titles are supposed to be accurate descriptions of the proposed amendment or statute in plain English, the descriptions have no legal standing once the question is approved. If you want to know what you are really voting for -- the language that will be added, modified, or deleted in the state constitution and statutes -- you need to look it up on the Secretary of State's website.

This page has the ballot language and text of the petition for each of the 11 proposals on November's ballot. Clicking on the little PDF icon next to each state question will bring up the constitutional or statutory language that will be enacted if the proposition passes.

You can also browse or search the database of all Oklahoma state questions, going all the way back to SQ 1 in 1908. The first column of the table contains the state question number, hyperlinked to a PDF of the relevant petition or legislation, and memoranda from various state offices pertaining to putting the matter on the ballot. (It would be nice if we could filter by value in each field -- e.g., type of state question, status, date range -- and better still if the database were available for download as a spreadsheet.)

One of the quirks of Oklahoma initiative law is that the signature requirements can vary greatly, depending on whether the most recent general election was a presidential election or a gubernatorial election. Turnout is significantly higher for presidential years, and signature requirements are tied to the number of votes cast in the most recent general election. A question on this year's ballot (SQ 750), sponsored in the legislature by State Sen. Randy Brogdon, would use only the last governor's election as a basis for signature requirements.

In the coming weeks, BatesLine will be reviewing each of the state questions, looking beyond the ballot language to the text of the proposed amendment, linking to advocates for and against (where they exist), weighing the pros and cons, and making a recommendation on each. If you know of an organization backing or opposing one of the state questions, drop me a line at blog at batesline dot com.


The Initiative & Referendum Institute's article on Oklahoma.

Oklahoma's page on Ballotpedia -- lots of info about Oklahoma's I&R rights and each state question in state history.

2010-Oklahoma-State-Question-Ballot.PNGTulsa County is printing up 23 different ballots for the November 2, 2010, general election -- each of them 10" x 19" -- and you can see samples of each on the Tulsa County Election Board website, arranged by precinct. Use the Tulsa County Precinct Locator if you need help finding your precinct number.

Each ballot will be two-sided -- candidates for federal, statewide, legislative, county, and judicial offices on one side, and the 11 Oklahoma state questions on the back side.

I'm happy to see that in all the races on the ballot -- including the district judge elections -- the Republican candidate is listed first.

In addition to the state bedsheet ballot, Tulsa voters will have a separate ballot with two charter amendments: Prop. 1 establishes a "rainy day" fund that will be filled when revenues are pouring in, so that we'll be able to manage city expenses when revenues dry up. Prop. 2 fixes (sort of) a problem created with last year's charter amendment that created three-year staggered council terms with a September primary that conflicted with the even-year state election calendar. The amendment moves the primary in even-numbered years back to August. The better solution would have been to repeal the ill-considered amendment and go back to a two-year schedule, but short of doing that, we need at least to get Tulsa back in sync with the state election calendar to avoid having to develop a separate city election infrastructure. I plan to vote for both.

"Me, I just say look, it's a little minority of some small-minded religious wackos who think they can tell people what kind of T-shirts and what kind of music they can listen to, and the smart, rational, reasonable people of Oklahoma are never going to buy into that." -- Wayne Coyne, April 29, 2009

So yesterday, September 26, 2010, on Twitter, Wayne Coyne, evidently part of some small-minded, wacky, religious minority, told Mary Fallin, frontrunner in the race for Oklahoma governor, what kind of music she should listen to -- namely, his:

Elected official Congress woman @Maryfallin does not like The Flaming Lips or our song"Do you Realize??"
2:28 PM Sep 26th via Twitter for iPhone

Please tell @maryfallin she should listen again .. We come in peace.
2:47 PM Sep 26th via Twitter for iPhone

Note that Mr. Coyne did not link the story in which Fallin committed the allegedly outrageous dis of his song. He linked photos of himself.

Someone whom I follow retweeted Coyne's comments. I retweeted "Please tell @maryfallin she should listen again...." with the comment: "How needy is this?"

What terrible slam did Congresswoman Fallin inflict on the Oklahoma's "official" state "rock" song? It was in a Q&A, back in July just before the primary, for Oklahoma City satire blog The Lost Ogle:

11. What do you think of "Do You Realize??" being Oklahoma's official rock song?

I'm more of a country music gal. It wasn't my first choice.

A pretty mild expression of personal preferences, probably an opinion shared by most of Fallin's prospective constituents, and surely the sort of thing a tolerant, broad-minded artiste like Mr. Coyne should respect, n'est-ce pas?

Instead, he urged his Twitter followers to proselytize Fallin, to convert her to a fan of the Flaming Lips and his song. His followers rose (sunk, more truthfully) to the occasion:

hhhancock @Maryfallin what's wrong with you ?

renatayb Tasteless Bitch .. "@waynecoyne: Elected official Congress woman @Maryfallin does not like The Flaming Lips or our song"Do you Realize??"

chadosko Ef that. Ef her! RT @waynecoyne: Elected official Congress woman @Maryfallin doesn't like The Flaming Lips or our song"Do you Realize??" #fb

cumbriandrunk You have 15000 more friends than her! @waynecoyne: Elected official Congress woman @Maryfallin does not like The Flaming Lips.

shonuffsteve @waynecoyne @maryfallin hey Mary - free your mind and your a[--] will follow !!! Hey Wayne comin back to Belfast soon???

This may be the prize-winner:

ghostkga @waynecoyne how can @maryfallin not like you? she needs to expirence free love and peace! and maybe a joint.

The Flaming Lips seem to have quite the cult following. From concert videos and articles I've seen, it seems to be more about the spectacle of the event and a kind of cult of personality around Coyne rather than the music itself. Someone has described their musical style as psychedelic, which I take to mean "the kind of music that sounds interesting to those who have ingested psychedelic drugs" or perhaps to someone like the "Double Rainbow" guy.

A couple of years ago I was in the library returning books and saw their album, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, on the return shelf, so I checked it out to see what all the fuss was about. "Do You Realize??" is one of the tracks on the album. I gave it a chance, listened to it twice all the way through, but just couldn't get into it. Here I thought that David Gates and Bread were the apotheosis of Oklahoma-based, wimpy, whiny, lethargic pop music, but Wayne Coyne makes David Gates sound like Jerry Lee Lewis by comparison. "Do You Realize??" makes a play for profundity, but it's just banal, condescending lyrics set against a vapid musical backdrop.

It's my belief that a rock 'n' roll song, particularly one worthy of designation as a state rock song, ought to have a beat -- as in "it's got a back beat, you can't lose it, any old time you choose it." If we have to have a state rock song, something by Wanda Jackson, a pioneer of rock 'n' roll, would have been a better choice. ("Let's Have a Party" would have been a great pick, but I also like Charles G. Hill's meteorologically-inspired suggestion of a recently-rediscovered Wanda Jackson track, "Funnel of Love.")

(One of the candidates for first-ever rock record -- "Rag Mop" -- was recorded at the KVOO studios in Tulsa in 1949.)

Whether you like the Flaming Lips or not, surely you'd agree that we should all have the right to like the Flaming Lips or not. No one should be browbeaten to conform to one notion of musical taste. (Unless -- was that Hammer and Sickle t-shirt more than a bit of hipster irony?)

OH, BY THE WAY: Do you realize Mary Fallin has a 26-point lead in the governor's race?

UPDATE 2010/09/27: I managed to offend a couple of folks after I tweeted a link to this piece. I was away from Twitter most of the day, but a friend gave me a heads-up via DM. Photographer Jeremy Charles complained that I failed to include the context of the Wayne Coyne quote at the top of this page:

jeremycharles @BatesLine you call yourself a journalist? You completely left out the context of @waynecoyne's first quote in your blog post.

I did link to the article from which the quote came -- an AP story about Coyne's complaint about Oklahoma legislators who voted against adopting his song as the official state rock song. I assumed readers would recall that, but perhaps it would have been well to spell that out.

The context actually makes Coyne look worse. The legislators who voted against making "Do You Realize??" the state song didn't tell anyone they couldn't or shouldn't listen to the song. The legislators simply said they didn't want to give the song or the band an official state endorsement. On the other hand, Coyne did tell someone -- Mary Fallin -- what kind of music she should listen to -- his.

Someone else (who has since deleted her tweets pertaining to the matter) helpfully pointed out that the song was selected by POPULAR VOTE (caps hers) and asked (paraphrasing) if I had a problem with that. I pointed out in reply that the daily paper's editorial page regularly skewers politicians elected by popular vote -- surely that's OK?

De gustibus non est disputandum: So said the ancient Romans. If you enjoy the music of the Flaming Lips, I would not seek to deprive you of that appreciation. I would simply ask that, in return, you allow folks like me and Mary Fallin at peace in our non-appreciation of the band.

On October 17, 1952, Hank Williams performed -- sort of -- at Cain's Ballroom. Former Cain's owner Larry Schaeffer tells the story in a 1999 article by Dave Hoekstra:

HankWilliams-Cains-1952.GIFShaeffer's office is a cornucopia of country music lore, ranging from original Ernest Tubb movie posters to love letters from Bob Wills' female fans he found stuck in a wall during a remodeling project. But a stunning highlight is a red vinyl couch - emblazoned with the Cain's logo - that Hank Williams slept on in October 1952 when he was too drunk to play his second show.

"He got someone to run beer to him all day," says Shaeffer, who was handed down the story from Mayo. "So he's toasted. Both shows were sold out. He got through the first show, although it took two people to hold him up. Hank laid down on the couch between shows, and they couldn't wake him up. He was mixing morphine (for a bad back) with liquor. This was 10 weeks before he died."

Mayo, who died in 1994 at age 93, told Shaeffer he didn't know what to do. He finally came clean and told the audience that Hank was too drunk to perform and that his backing band, the Drifting Cowboys, would play without him. Money would be refunded as fans left Cain's.

"Well, someone opened the door to the office and a line formed," Shaeffer says. "People filed past (a blank Hank) like a funeral viewing. The band played on, and not one person asked for their money back."

Mayo, by the way, is O. W. Mayo, the first band manager for Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, and the owner of Cain's from the '30s to the early '70s.

HankerinForHank-Cains.jpgHank Williams is returning to Cain's Ballroom -- after a fashion -- on October 17, 2010. Muskogee musician Jim Paul Blair performs as Hank Williams in a tribute band called Hankerin' for Hank. It's a DVD/CD release party, and it also features Jim Paul's mother, Ramona Reed, who sang with the Texas Playboys in the 1950s. Admission is $10 -- or free if you buy a $20 DVD. The party starts at 6 p.m.

The band seeks to recreate the look and sound of Hank Williams and the Drifting Cowboys from 1951, down to the wardrobe by Manuel Cuevas, who worked on Hank's original Nudie suits.

Here's the real deal -- Hank Williams singing "Hey, Good Lookin'":

MORE: In 1950, Hank Williams recorded, as "Luke the Drifter," a political song by Fred Rose criticizing Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, titled "No, No, Joe."

'Cause the Kaiser tried it and Hitler tried it Mussolini tried it, too Now they're all sittin' around a fire and did you know something? They're saving a place for you

Now Joe you ought to get it clear
You can't push folks around with fear
'Cause we don't scare easy over here
No, no Joe

Natasha Ball (Tasha Does Tulsa) has posted the notes from her presentation last week at Ignite Tulsa 3 -- 19 Ways to Get to Know Your Town (Even If It's Not Tulsa). All the suggestions are good (except maybe 17 -- if I ever do Foursquare it'll be under a pseudonym). I particularly approve of the advice to see a city on foot and to get involved in church, clubs, and causes, particularly if you plan to be around for a while. (On a recent trip to Wichita, I attended the unveiling of their new downtown plan; very interesting to compare it to the PLANiTULSA process.)

Over the last couple of years, I've had the opportunity to spend some extended time in other cities. Here are five things I do to get to know a new city.

1. Study a map: Google Maps and Tom-Toms are all well and good, but there's no substitute for poring over a street map on paper to get a handle on where things are, how they relate to one another, and what might be of interest. A map gives you opportunities for serendipitous discoveries that you might never make on the web: A point of interest with an obscure or intriguing label, a street that deviates from the grid, the names of neighborhoods and districts. If you're a AAA member, you can stop by the office on 15th St. between Utica and Lewis to get a street map for a city you're planning to visit -- it's included in your membership.

2. Peruse the WPA Guide for the state: Back during the Great Depression, the Federal Government set writers and photographers to work documenting each of the states -- history, culture, economy, cities, and highways -- as they were in the late 1930s. Each book features a series of driving tours with descriptions of landmarks and historic sites. Some of the places are long gone, but many are still there, if perhaps overlooked. You'll find these books in the library (and on Google Books) under a number of names: Federal Writers' Project, American Guide Series, WPA Guide. Often the book will have a map showing the paths that U. S. and state highways took through town in the days before freeways and interstates, and that leads me to my next point.

(Oklahoma: A Guide to the Sooner State ought to be on the bookshelf of every Oklahoman. If you can find the University of Kansas reissue, The WPA Guide to 1930s Oklahoma, it contains an essay by historian Angie Debo that was cut from the original edition.)


3. Follow the old highway routes through town: Look for a map from the 1950s or earlier showing the streets that were designated as US or state highways, and then drive the road between downtown and the outskirts of town. On the edge of the city, you'll find commercial architecture from the heyday of the family road trip: old motels and tourist courts, diners, gas stations, tourist traps, and curio shops. This is where you're likely to find flamboyant neon signage designed to catch the eye of a weary dad behind the wheel of his station wagon. While roadside architecture along the interstates looks the same from one end of the country to the other, back before the interstates roadside buildings bore the imprint of local character and local imagination. Here you may still find cafes that once catered to tourists and truckers but now mainly serve the locals.

Closer to town, the old highways are likely to take you past the kind of neighborhood commercial districts which are often incubators for urban revitalization. Tulsa's Cherry Street developed along what was once U. S. 64, the main road between Tulsa and Muskogee and Ft. Smith. This is where you might find an interesting antique shop or a hip coffee house.

You might be able to find this sort of map in the state's WPA Guide. Many state highway departments have posted scans of old official highway maps online: e.g. Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri.

4. Hang out in an indie coffeehouse: You don't have to answer all your email from your lonely hotel room. Find a friendly locally-owned coffeehouse with wifi. These places often serve as de facto community centers, and the bulletin board and the barista can tip you off to live music, gallery exhibits, festivals, lectures, and other types of local flavor. I always check, a crowd-sourced database that uses Google Maps to help you locate coffeehouses. When I find one that isn't listed, I give back by adding it to the database. You can filter the search for wifi, food (more than just pastries), beer and wine, and whether or not smoking is allowed and outdoor seating is available. UrbanSpoon is another way to search for cafes, pubs, and restaurants with free wifi.

5. Check out the local alt-weekly: Many alt-weeklies publish an annual "Best of" edition that will clue you in to the locals' favorite places to shop, eat, drink, and play. You can usually find the most recent "Best of" on the paper's website. The latest edition (likely available at the aforementioned indie coffeehouse) will give you a calendar of events and often interesting feature stories spotlighting local issues, performers, artists, and eateries.

Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris is "going ghost" -- "moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity" at the insistence of the FBI, according to a story a September 15, 2010, story in the Seattle Weekly. (Via GWSchulzCIR on Twitter.)

She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program--except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It's all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon.

The fatwa came in July from Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born imam based in Yemen who has been linked to "misunderstanders of Islam" (Robert Spencer's tongue-in-cheek phrase) who have attempted and successfully carried out terror attacks in the U. S., including Fort Hood, Times Square, Fort Dix, and Northwest Airlines (the Pantybomber).

Here is what Awlaki allegedly wrote about Norris in Inspire, an English language magazine allegedly produced by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula:

A cartoonist out of Seattle, Washington, named Molly Norris started the "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day". This snowball rolled out from between her evil fingers. She should be taken as a prime target of assassination along with others who participated in her campaign. This campaign is not a practice of freedom of speech, but is a nationwide mass movement of Americans joining their European counterparts in going out of their way to offend Muslims worldwide. They are expressing their hatred of the Messenger of Islām صلى الله عليه وسلم through ridicule. The large number of participants makes it easier for us because there are more targets to choose from in addition to the difficulty of the government offering all of them special protection. But even then our campaign should not be limited to only those who are active participants.

The article goes on to implicate the entire Western political system with its guarantees of free speech:

The main elements in this system are the laws that make this blasphemy legal. Because they are practicing a "right" that is defended by the law, they have the backing of the entire Western political system. This would make the attacking of any Western target legal from an Islāmic viewpoint. The entire Western system is staunchly protecting and promoting the defamation of Muĥammad صلى الله عليه وسلم and therefore, it is the entire Western system that is at war with Islām. Assassinations, bombings, and acts of arson are all legitimate forms of revenge against a system that relishes the sacrilege of Islām in the name of freedom.

The FBI took the threat seriously enough to tell Norris to drop out of sight. No doubt authorities took the threat more seriously after the explosion in a Copenhagen on September 11, 2010. Based on a map found in the hotel room, the bomb may have been intended for the offices of Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that published cartoons depicting Mohammed in 2005 in a protest against Western self-censorship to appease radical Muslim sensibilities.

From the New York Daily News story from July:

David Gomez, the FBI's assistant special agent in charge of counterterrorism in Seattle, said Norris and others were warned of the "very serious threat."

"We understand the absolute seriousness of a threat from an Al Qaeda-inspired magazine and are attempting to do everything in our power to assist the individuals on that list to effectively protect themselves and change their behavior to make themselves less of a target," Gomez said.

I wish Molly Norris all the best in her new life, but it's unacceptable that American citizens should have to "change their behavior to make themselves less of a target" in order to avoid getting killed by a self-appointed divine hit squad because of a rather gentle bit of satire, aimed more at the sensibilities of Islamofascists than at the prophet himself.

How should, how can, a freedom-loving nation respond to such threats? Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch writes that at the very least the President of the United States should denounce the threats:

This is the sort of case that the President of the United States should be talking about. Instead of wringing his hands about the prospect of Muslim rioting over Qur'an-burning, the President should go on television and give a brief lesson about how freedom of speech is a foremost bulwark against tyranny and a cornerstone of any society that respects the dignity of the human being. He should say that the idea that Molly Norris would have to live in hiding because of a cartoon, or series of cartoons, is unconscionable, and tell the Islamic world that neither Muslims nor their prophet are harmed by cartoons depicting him, and that their violent rage over such depictions is the only thing that makes people care to draw him in the first place. He should say that to threaten people with death and to kill people over cartoons of Muhammad is sheer madness, and is a form of violent irrationality that is destructive to free societies -- and as such, it is something that the U.S. will do everything it can to resist. Molly Norris and others who are threatened will be given full round-the-clock protection, and if violent protests and riots over cartoons or Qur'an-burning break out in areas where American troops are deployed, those troops will put down those riots and protect the innocent to the fullest possible extent.

Maybe in January 2013 we will have a president who will see the need to do such things, and move to protect and defend Western culture and civilization.

Meanwhile, cases of "Sudden Jihad Syndrome" continue to occur (even in Tulsa), but are reported in ways that downplay the connection to radical Islamism. (For example, the apparent assassination attempt targeting Missouri governor Jay Nixon.) The reluctance of our nation's leaders and mainstream media to name the enemy that seeks the destruction of our liberty has inspired the subtitle of a documentary produced by Newt Gingrich, "America at Risk: The War with No Name."

From the Tulsa Police Department:

The Tulsa Police Department is urging parents and caregivers to make sure their child safety seats are properly installed on "National Seat Check Saturday," happening Saturday, September 25. As part of Child Passenger Safety Week (September 19-25, 2010), the Tulsa Police Department and the Black Officers Coalition will have certified technicians available to provide free hands-on child safety seat inspections and advice from 1000 AM - Noon at North Pointe Center 300 E. Pine Street in Tulsa.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research, 8,959 lives have been saved from 1975 to 2008 by the proper use of child restraints. In 2008, among children under age 5 in passenger vehicles, an estimated 244 lives were saved by child restraint use (child safety seats and adult seat belts). Research shows that child restraints provide the best protection for all children up to age 8.

There are so many different ways to mess up the installation of a child safety seat, and the consequences of getting it wrong could be fatal. Even if you've been using a child safety seat for years, you could use a refresher. Proper installation is time consuming, and it's easy to become lax.

Please take a few minutes this coming Saturday morning to be sure your car seat is installed to provide maximum protection to your child.

For more information on Child Passenger Safety Week and to find the child seat inspection station nearest you visit and

While the Republican Party has a quadrennial convention, which not only conducts the official business of the party but provides a networking opportunity for activists, elected officials, bloggers, consultants and others connected with the conservative movement, many conservative non-profit groups hold events every year that allow the networking to continue between Republican National Conventions. CPAC is the oldest such conference, but many more have sprung up in recent years, each with its own focus and target audience, but with considerable overlap.

Last weekend, for the first time ever, I attended a national event targeting conservative activists -- BlogCon 2010, sponsored by FreedomWorks. It was wonderful to meet political bloggers from all over the country, the conference panels were full of interesting and valuable information, and the social events were great fun. I don't recall hearing a word of grumbling about the weekend from anyone.

Some of the bloggers at BlogCon have attended many of these other conservative conferences. Many of them were at Red State Gathering in Austin this weekend. Others stayed in Washington for Values Voter Summit or went to Chicago for Right Nation. Many were at Right Online in July and plan to be at CPAC next February.

As a way of keeping all these different events straight, I've put together a list of national conservative events that have occurred or are scheduled for 2010. Let me know if there are any that I've missed.

Each item in the list includes dates, conference name (with link if available), location, and sponsoring organization. Where appropriate, I may add a summary of the conference's target audience and emphasis.

A little Friday evening entertainment: It's Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, featuring singing sisters Dean and Evelyn McKinney. On the bandstand: Noel Boggs on steel guitar, Louis Tierney, Bob Wills, and Joe Holley on fiddle, Alex Brashear on trumpet, Junior Barnard on standard guitar, Millard Kelso on piano. I can't tell from this video who is on drums and bass, although from another clip from the same film, I think it may be Johnny Cuviello on drums. Tommy Duncan doesn't sing on this one, but he's sitting down in the background.

This is probably from 1946; it's the same lineup as the early sessions of the Tiffany Transcriptions, probably from 1946. There's another video that has been circulating on the web for quite a while, with the same lineup and in the same surroundings performing "Goodbye, Liza Jane." YouTube user radiobob805 has posted a better version of that clip:

Speaking of the surroundings, notice the round up-lit ceiling and the round stone planters. There's a sort of Googie / California Coffeehouse / early Mid-Century Modern thing going on here.

This sing-along short of "San Antonio Rose" seems to come from the same session:

More video from the 9/12 March on Washington, this time from the rally point at the beginning of the march, northeast of the Washington Monument.

Stand-up comic Stephen Kruiser is a blogger, has appeared on Fox News "Red Eye," has a show called "Kruiser Control" on, writes for Big Hollywood and Big Journalism, and performs in military outposts around the world with Armed Forces Entertainment. He's also a conservative activist, helping to organize Tea Party events in Los Angeles and participating in events like Right Online, BlogCon, and the 9/12 March. He's on Twitter, too, and he and Melissa Clouthier led a BlogCon session on how to make the best use of Twitter.

Here's Stephen Kruiser's talk to the Tea Party activists gathered to march in support of limited government, and his theme comes from a Thomas Jefferson quote: "I own that I am not a friend to an energetic government. It is always oppressive." Our job, he said, is to be the Government's Xanax. We're also here "to make sure the Federal behemoth doesn't get any fatter."

If you're a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, there's a bit you'll especially enjoy about 5 minutes in.

(NOTE: All the videos I've posted of the march were taken by me with a Flip camera. FreedomWorks loaned several out to BlogCon bloggers to help us cover the event. This was only the second video I took, and you can tell I'm still getting used to it.)

Thanks to FreedomWorks, I had a press pass to the 9/12 March on Washington and accordingly had access to the speakers' waiting area on the north side of the stage. I took the opportunity to talk to one of the people wearing a "Speaker" badge. His name is Bob MacGuffie, and he's a leader of the Tea Party movement in Connecticut, heading a group called Right Principles. He talked about the progress that they've already made -- Chris Dodd has been dumped -- and the ongoing project of making principled conservatism welcome again in the hierarchy of the Connecticut Republican Party.

To be effective in shaping the party you have to know the nuts and bolts of party organization. If you don't like the way the Republican Party is, you can, with diligence, help to shape what it will become.

As quickly as I can, I'll be posting the video I took at Sunday's 9/12 March on Washington. Here's the first.

I caught up with this lady, Gail Champion from Ohio, as we were about halfway along Pennsylvania Ave. What caught my attention in the first place -- and you can't see this in the video -- is that she was using a walker. That is dedication, and it makes her intention to delay retirement, in order to avoid adding to the unpayable burden of Social Security, all the more impressive.

She told me that she came to Washington "to restore the Constitution and to restore our country to the people." She has been involved in activism for only about a year, when she joined up with the 9/12 movement. I asked what motivated her to get involved:

The fact that as citizens we weren't being represented by our so called representative, that they are ignoring us and are more focused on staying in power than doing what's right for the country.

More of her comments:

For me it's not a party thing. I want to see term limits. I really want us to be represented again. We need to clean house, we need to face our debt, and that's going to be horrible....

We need to change Social Security. I'm 64 and unfortunately next year I have no option but to go on Medicare. My so-called retirement date is 67; I've already made a personal pledge not to retire until 70; later or never if I can manage it financially, because they lied to us, we know they lied to us, and at some point we need to suck it up and be like our parents and save our nation....

There's a very popular saying now. "Pull on your big girl panties and just deal with it." That's what we need to do.

Thanks to the hard work of FreedomWorks new media director Tabitha Hale, BlogCon's tireless organizer, intern Sarah Desprat, and the rest of the FreedomWorks staff, the 175 bloggers at the event got to relax and enjoy the program and one another's company. As a result, most of us didn't do much actual blogging. One notable exception was DaTechGuy, who would break away now and then from the mingling and schmoozing to interview bloggers, taking photos, and uploading multimedia to his site.

He was kind enough to interview me on Thursday, the first day of the event, as we were waiting for the start of a meet-and-greet between bloggers and Republican congressional staff. Click here to watch DaTechGuy's interview with me. Visit his "Field Guide to Bloggers" category to see more interviews, including a very strange interview with Iowahawk.

By the way, in real life, DaTechGuy is a tech guy, the kind that can fix your PC. He can even fix your PC from the other side of the world. Read all about the services he offers here.

Just a quick note to mention that I'll be at the 9/12 March on Washington this afternoon, along with many of the other BlogCon attendees. You can read live updates on the BatesLine Twitter feed and by searching for the hashtag #912dc. A number of us will be shooting video as well, but look for that later in the day.

The first ever BlogCon, sponsored by FreedomWorks, has been a huge success. FreedomWorks new media director Tabitha Hale put together an event that was fun and highly worthwhile. On Thursday, bloggers had a chance to get face to face with congressional staffers -- how they can do a better job of working with us, which begins with understanding how we differ from traditional media.

Friday was packed with excellent seminars, many of which were more technological than political -- for example, how to make more effective use of Twitter, the role of humor in blogging, and the amazing capabilities of WordPress and its many plugins. (I'm now very tempted to switch, and it appears there's a plugin that makes it possible to migrate without breaking old links.) Matt Kibbe delivered an informative lunchtime lecture on Austrian economics. The day was capped off with a left-right debate at the Newseum.

Saturday morning we got a bit of a respite, which I used to visit some nearby friends who have a brand new baby. In the afternoon, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and FreedomWorks head Matt Kibbe held a book signing for their new book Give Us Liberty. That evening a bunch of us attended the premiere of a new movie by Citizens United and Newt Gingrich called "America at Risk: The War with No Name." All of us bloggers were badly underdressed for what turned out to be a gala occasion. The film was introduced by Citizens United head David Bossie and Newt Gingrich and his wife Callista.

Every evening has concluded with informal socializing, a great opportunity to connect faces and real-life personalities with Twitter handles. Among many memorable conversations, my favorite may be talking to Iowahawk, who digs Tulsa and mid-century modern architecture.

You can get a sense of the event by looking at the Twitter hashtag #blogcon.

I had thought that perhaps there would be a service nearby at the Pentagon today, and there will be, but it's a private service, so the memorial there will be closed until noon. So am taking time here at the hotel room desk to remember the events of that day, to remember why they happened, and to remember my friend Jayesh Shah, a graduate of Tulsa Memorial High School and TU, who was working at Cantor Fitzgerald in the World Trade Center north tower that day.

I don't have anything profound to say today; just some personal memories of the day, the aftermath, and the very ordinary times that were interrupted. Before I get to those, here are some reflections and first-hand accounts of the attacks from other bloggers:

Gerard Vanderleun was watching from Brooklyn Heights when the towers fell, recording his observations online: "Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles."

Juliette Ochieng remembers the architect of the towers, Minoru Yamasaki, the son of Japanese immigrants. (Yamasaki also designed Tulsa's Bank of Oklahoma Tower and Performing Arts Center.)

Robert N. Going had been to New York City the day before the attacks to drop a foreign visitor off at the airport, pausing on the way for the guest to snap a photo of the skyline. He volunteered at Ground Zero, and he met the man who found the steel cross in the ruins of Building 6.

The Other McCain calls us to remember with the Falling Man documentary.

Midnight Blue Says remembers Cantor Fitzgerald employee Marcello Matricciano and uses clips from that day's morning news shows to remind us what was on the national mind before the towers were hit an hour later.

Now for my memories of the day (click continue reading if you're on the home page)...

While at breakfast yesterday morning, I saw a very well done TV ad with a sarcastic take on how the Washington, D.C., teachers' unions impede educational progress:

Mom: "I think it's great how they put politics above my child's education." Student: "It's cool how the union makes it almost impossible to fire bad teachers." Teacher: "It's impressive how my dues money supports politicians I don't even like."

I'm glad they included that last point. Many teachers join the union because they want liability coverage or representation in local negotiations. That doesn't mean they also want their dues going to support every left-wing cause under the sun. My mom founded the classroom teachers' organization at Catoosa Public Schools (affiliated with the OEA and NEA) and served many years on negotiating teams. One of the reasons she quit OEA and joined Professional Oklahoma Educators was because of the OEA and NEA's support for liberal causes and candidates.

I couldn't find a way to embed the commercial here, but you can view the 30 second TV spot and related print and video ads at

In Oklahoma the teachers' union wants to hold Oklahoma's budget priorities hostage to the decisions of the legislatures of our surrounding states. The idea behind SQ 744 is that more money will solve the problems with public education in Oklahoma. The reality is that over 40 years the cost of a K-12 public education (the national average) has almost quadrupled (that's adjusting for inflation) while performance has remained flat or actually declined. In Oklahoma over the last twenty years, education funding has increased by 40%, while ACT scores have only gone up 4%.

Money is not the problem with public education; it's how we're spending the money we have.

Blog Con 2010

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I'm excited to be in Arlington, Va., for Blog Con, a conference for political bloggers presented by FreedomWorks. From the organization's "about" page:

What We Do

FreedomWorks recruits, educates, trains and mobilizes millions of volunteer activists to fight for less government, lower taxes, and more freedom.

Why We Do It

FreedomWorks believes individual liberty and the freedom to compete increases consumer choices and provides individuals with the greatest control over what they own and earn.

How We Do It

FreedomWorks' aggressive, real-time campaigns activate a growing and permanent volunteer grassroots army to show up and demand policy change.

This is the first national bloggers' conference I've attended, and it's my first chance to meet up with bloggers from across the country since the 2008 Republican National Convention. Friday's program will be filled with interesting talks from the leading voices in the conservative blogosphere. On Sunday, we'll be attending the 9.12 March at the Capitol. Hundreds of thousands participated in last year's march, a protest against a wasteful and bloated federal government.

I will be writing here about the conference on a nightly basis, but for more immediate updates, follow the BatesLine Twitter stream and the #blogcon Twitter feed.

In the current issue of National Review, the conservative magazine's editorial board sets out the case for marriage as it has traditionally been defined, a definition that has been reaffirmed repeatedly by Congress, legislatures, and the voting public from coast to coast.

If you are a conservative, you need to study this article and fully digest it. National Review has done a great service with this piece, equipping conservative elected officials, activists, writers, and voters with sound argument to back up the conservative intuition against proposals to alter radically the institution of marriage. One of the challenges of conservatism is that you are called upon to defend ideas and customs that are long-established and were once universally accepted. When a radical idea like same-sex marriage is no longer immediately derided as a crackpot notion, conservatives need to prepare themselves to argue from first principles.

We think that there is quite a bit to be said for [marriage]: that it is true, vitally true. But it is a truth so long accepted that it is no longer well understood. Both the fact that we are debating same-sex marriage and the way that debate has progressed suggest that many of us have lost sight of why marriage exists in the first place as a social institution and a matter of public policy.

The editorial sets out the reason government is involved in marriage at all:

So at the risk of awkwardness, we must talk about the facts of life. It is true that marriage is, in part, an emotional union, and it is also true that spouses often take care of each other and thereby reduce the caregiving burden on other people. But neither of these truths is the fundamental reason for marriage. The reason marriage exists is that the sexual intercourse of men and women regularly produces children. If it did not produce children, neither society nor the government would have much reason, let alone a valid reason, to regulate people's emotional unions. (The government does not regulate non-marital friendships, no matter how intense they are.) If mutual caregiving were the purpose of marriage, there would be no reason to exclude adult incestuous unions from marriage. What the institution and policy of marriage aims to regulate is sex, not love or commitment. These days, marriage regulates sex (to the extent it does regulate it) in a wholly non-coercive manner, sex outside of marriage no longer being a crime.

Marriage exists, in other words, to solve a problem that arises from sex between men and women but not from sex between partners of the same gender: what to do about its generativity. It has always been the union of a man and a woman (even in polygamous marriages in which a spouse has a marriage with each of two or more persons of the opposite sex) for the same reason that there are two sexes: It takes one of each type in our species to perform the act that produces children. That does not mean that marriage is worthwhile only insofar as it yields children. (The law has never taken that view.) But the institution is oriented toward child-rearing. (The law has taken exactly that view.) What a healthy marriage culture does is encourage adults to arrange their lives so that as many children as possible are raised and nurtured by their biological parents in a common household.

The article addresses the distinction between bans on interracial marriage and affirmations of the traditional definition of marriage, and it addresses the oft-stated objection that childless couples are allowed to marry:

Some couples that believe themselves to be infertile (or even intend not to have children) end up having children. Government could not filter out those marriage applicants who are certain not to be able to have children without extreme intrusiveness.

I appreciated this point, too, which echoes a discussion we had in the comments here:

Same-sex marriage would introduce a new, less justifiable distinction into the law. This new version of marriage would exclude pairs of people who qualify for it in every way except for their lack of a sexual relationship. Elderly brothers who take care of each other; two friends who share a house and bills and even help raise a child after one loses a spouse: Why shouldn't their relationships, too, be recognized by the government? The traditional conception of marriage holds that however valuable those relationships may be, the fact that they are not oriented toward procreation makes them non-marital. (Note that this is true even if those relationships involve caring for children: We do not treat a grandmother and widowed daughter raising a child together as married because their relationship is not part of an institution oriented toward procreation.) On what possible basis can the revisionists' conception of marriage justify discriminating against couples simply because they do not have sex?

Read the whole thing and arm yourself to make a stronger defense of the societal benefits and rationale behind the government recognition of marriage, as traditionally understood.

Many of my fellow conservative bloggers have been beating the drum loudly in opposition to proposals for "Net Neutrality." I can understand their skepticism -- truth-in-labeling laws don't apply to legislation and net neutrality is no more likely to be about neutral handling of internet data than NAFTA is a simple declaration of free trade between the U. S., Canada, and Mexico. Special provisions and sneaky codicils find their way into what should be a simple expression of a simple idea. I wouldn't be shocked if a Democrat net neutrality proposal in fact imposed net bias through some obscure amendment passed in the dead of night.

Nevertheless, the concept of net neutrality is not one that conservatives should dismiss out of hand. This concept is not a Fairness Doctrine for the internet that would require every website to provide equal time for every point of view. It is the simple notion that packets should be routed by the backbone and by ISPs without regard to the contents, source, or destination, in the same way that the phone company connects calls and the postal service delivers mail. Only in a case of abuse (e.g., denial-of-service attack) should the ISP care about what data is going where.

It's a mistake to think about this issue in terms of the free market. There are high barriers to entry to the ISP market; one of the biggest is getting local government permission to run your cables or build your towers on, over, or under their property. Where I live, we have two choices -- the phone company and the cable company. If both providers choose to allow their customers access only to a limited number of "partner" websites (imposing the cable TV tiering model on the internet), I wouldn't have any alternatives, and it might mean I could no longer read my favorite conservative bloggers and news sites.

An internet that routes data without discriminating based on content, source, or destination is what we have now, for the most part. There is now a low barrier to entry to publish your information and make it available for the world to see. If ISPs begin to discriminate in favor of certain sites, it may mean bloggers would have to pay a high fee to each ISP to gain access to those customers. You might also see ISPs pressured by the usual suspects on the left to cut off access to conservative websites.

(To the argument that ISPs aren't engaged in this kind of discrimination yet: I don't think they will until they feel comfortable that net neutrality is dead and buried. If they were to begin now, it would build popular support for net neutrality.)

The future of the internet as a medium for free speech and public accountability needs true net neutrality -- an internet infrastructure that passes data along without regard to content, source, or destination.

The Admiral Twin theater, a Tulsa icon that was celebrating its 60th season this year and our city's last surviving drive-in movie theater, was destroyed by fire today. The wooden structure that supported the twin screens caught fire and burned to the ground. According to news reports, the wooden screen structure was uninsurable, but there's hope of raising enough money to rebuild.

A Facebook page has been created to rally support for the Admiral Twin. One commenter on that page suggests that the stars of the movie The Outsiders, which used the theater as a location, ought to be approached to see if they would be willing to help.

I hope it is rebuilt. I remember seeing my first PG movie there -- Young Frankenstein -- making myself nauseous by getting that free refill on the 32 oz 7up, and I remember Mom saying something to Dad about the risque jokes going over my head. We've taken our kids to the Admiral Twin, too.

But there are several factors working against reconstruction. It's valuable, highly visible property fronting an interstate highway, although it's not easy to reach because of the weird left-hand exits at Sheridan and Memorial. You could probably meet payroll and cover expenses with a paid-for facility, but reconstruction was not in the business plan.

And how much will it cost to rebuild to modern standards? I don't know what codes apply to a drive-in theater screen -- maybe similar to outdoor signs? it wouldn't need to be safe for human occupation -- but I imagine you couldn't simply rebuild what was there. I don't have a map handy, but I suspect the Admiral Twin was outside the city limits when it was built in 1951.

There's another theater that may be on the verge of demolition. The old Park Lane Theater north of 51st and Sheridan is surrounded by a fence, the porte cochere has been demolished, the first floor windows are covered in plywood, and there's an Ark Wrecking dumpster out front. The theater was twinned sometime in the 1980s, served as a comedy club and venue for live theater, and more recently has been home to a business school.

The Admiral Twin was the last Tulsa theater from my childhood and youth still operating. The Continental, Will Rogers, Brook, Delman, Park Lane, Spectrum, Forum, Fox, Fontana, Annex 3/7, Southroads, Plaza 3, Village, Eleventh Street Drive In, 51 Drive In, Boman Twin, Williams Center, Woodland Hills -- all closed, many of them demolished. (The Circle is an ambiguous case -- the theater where I saw The Phantom Tollbooth is an empty shell, but there are plans to rebuild, and the Circle 2 is open next door.)

MORE: Agent Bedhead, a Tulsan who is senior film critic for the entertainment website Pajiba, has an entry about the Admiral Twin fire and about the attempt of movie PR weasels -- for the movie showing at the theater the night before the fire -- to capitalize on the tragedy. She also has some speculation on the cause and a clip from The Outsiders that highlights the drive-in in better days.

Grease is the word

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PICT0065Photo by mollyeh11 on Flickr

Three times this year (twice in Tulsa, once in Wichita), I've walked into a locally-owned restaurant, enjoyed a delicious meal, and walked out smelling like a fryolator in need of an oil change. I haven't been back to any of them.

One of the restaurants is a venerable midtown Tulsa institution. The other is a new place: good food, friendly service, cool music and decor, free wifi, and, evidently, a malfunctioning vent hood. I assume it was malfunctioning, although I suppose they may have been going after a retro greasy-spoon ambiance.

After leaving each place, I stunk, maybe not badly enough that people around me noticed, but I noticed, and it bugged me until I could shower off the stink and put on clean clothes. It reminded me (and not at all in a pleasant way) of how I smelled each evening after a shift cooking Quarter Pounders five on the turn at the Catoosa McDonald's back in 1984.

I thought about going back to one of the restaurants today -- an item on their menu sounded really appealing -- but I took a pass. I didn't want to spend the rest of the day smelling like a rancid hushpuppy.

Restaurateurs, check your ventilation system. Greasy vapor shouldn't be wafting its way into the seating area. It's bad for your furnishings and bad for the customers, too.

The cover story in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly is a profile of Tulsa District 9 City Councilor G. T. Bynum. Reporter Mike Easterling has written an interesting story about a significant figure in Tulsa politics, and he includes extensive quotes from Jack Henderson and Rick Westcott, Bynum's colleagues from Districts 1 and 2; former Sen. Don Nickles, Bynum's first boss in Washington; and me.

As the article noted, I like G. T. personally, but I've been disappointed with many of his decisions on the council. At the same time, as I told Mike Easterling, although the point didn't make it into the story, I appreciate G.T.'s leadership on the charter change that requires the council to sign off on large lawsuit settlements and the new proposal to require the city to save money when times are flush, rather than expanding government. (That said, I still wonder why he wasn't helping Bill Martinson when Martinson was trying to get Mayor Taylor to deal forthrightly with the city's fiscal crisis last summer.)

Another admirable aspect that came out in the story is Bynum's respect for the City Council as an institution, the city's legislative body. However you may feel about the current membership of the Council at any given time, it has an important role to play in representing Tulsa's diversity, crafting legislation, and providing oversight of our city government. In the early years under our current charter, a majority of councilors seemed to see themselves as mere rubber stamps or window dressing. 2004 and the advent of the Gang of Five began to change that outlook; Dewey Bartlett has cemented the City Council's identity as an independent co-equal branch of government:

One of the great ironies of the situation, he acknowledged, is that it has unified the council like never before.

"If you look back, every mayor's had problems with councilors," he said. "Mayor Taylor had problems with some councilors, Bill LaFortune did, Susan Savage did. But none of them have had unanimous problems before. I'm hopeful that the mayor'll take that as a sign that he needs to work in a more cooperative fashion with the council. And I say that as someone who worked on his campaign and grew up looking up to him."

Also worth pondering from the story was the quote from the late Sen. Paul Coverdell that Bynum has written where he'll see it often: "If you have been given a moment here, you should not let the dust grow under you."

(Coverdell, by the way, beat an incumbent senator, Wyche Fowler, thanks to a general election runoff. The Libertarian candidate split off some of the anti-incumbent vote, and Fowler finished first at the 1992 general election, but without a majority of the vote. Under Georgia law at the time, a runoff was held three weeks later, and Coverdell won narrowly.)

Conservative parents of politically-aware young people should also take to heart what Bynum had to say about his experience as a congressional staffer:

"It was wonderful," he said of that period in his life. "For a young person interested in government, there are few things you can do that give you so much access and opportunity as working on Capitol Hill. I do encourage any young Oklahomans who are interested in government to do it.

"I think that's one of the great secrets about our government that a lot of people aren't aware of is Capitol Hill is largely staffed by people under 30 years of age because they're the only ones who'll work that cheap and that hard. And so you get a tremendous amount of responsibility, and you learn a tremendous amount. That experience was really formative for me."

On the negative side of the ledger, it was interesting to read that Bynum's support for the defeated 2007 Tulsa County sales tax increase helped him decide to seek a seat on the Council:

But there were other, more worldly factors motivating him, as well. Bynum and his wife were big supporters of the 2007 Our River Yes! campaign for a sales tax increase that would have funded $282 million in improvements to the Arkansas River, and they were not happy to see it go down in defeat.

"When it failed, I was really disappointed in the response of the leaders of the city, which seemed to me to be, 'We'll wait 10 years and then try again,'" Bynum said. "Working in the Senate, I'd known that when we had a bill that was really important and it failed, we went back to the drawing board and found what things we needed to fix in order to get the votes to win. We didn't just say, 'Oh, well, it's over, we'll try again 10 years from now.' "

Bynum characterizes the river as the biggest untapped asset in the city and believes it has the capacity to become Tulsa's biggest economic driver. Earning himself a seat on the City Council, he believed, would provide him with the chance to champion that belief.

It's hard to believe that any intelligent person would believe in the river as "Tulsa's biggest economic driver." And while Bynum talks about his libertarian leanings, it's hard to see how having government taking a bigger share of everyone's money is consistent with a libertarian perspective.

And what was libertarian about the ballpark deal, which Bynum supported? Is it libertarian to take money by force from owners of distant property who will see negligible benefit from a facility built to house a private entertainment company?

It's also hard to see what's libertarian about a city policy that will be used to penalize people for a sort of thought crime. What Bynum's non-discrimination policy amounts to is a ban on taking any notice of a major component of a person's psyche and character. When Bynum says that sexual orientation "has nothing to do with job performance," he's effectively saying that it never has anything to do with job performance under any circumstances, a view that is not universally shared but which, thanks to Bynum's leadership, is now universally imposed.

(My blog entries at the time explain in more detail why I feel Bynum "didn't really understand the issue from a conservative perspective" and seemed to ignore the long-range consequences of the decision: G. T. Bynum's sexual orientation proposal, Bynum gay proposition on council agenda tonight.)

I seem to recall that, when he spoke to the conservative Tulsa Area Republican Assembly back in 2008, when he was running for office, he used the word conservative a lot, and talked about his work for Sen. Coburn. I don't recall him making any use of the word libertarian.

Regarding Bynum's new lobbying business, Easterling writes that I "described [the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF)] as Bynum's biggest client." That's true, but I didn't leave it to opinion or speculation. I pointed the UTW reporter to the Senate Office of Public Responsibility's Lobbying Disclosure Act database, which shows that G. T. Bynum Consulting, LLC, reported $30,000 in lobbying income from GKFF for the first and second quarters of 2010, and $20,000 from Williams and Williams (Bynum's former employer) over the same period. (Over the entire length of Bynum's lobbying career, the two are currently tied; Bynum began lobbying for Williams and Williams in the 4th quarter of 2009.)

To clarify my concern about Bynum representing GKFF as a lobbyist and serving on the City Council: GKFF is actively engaged in civic and governmental issues here in Tulsa, as are closely related individuals and entities. George Kaiser is a significant political donor in local elections, as is the BOK Financial Political Action Committee. Kaiser and GKFF were heavily involved in the 2007 Tulsa County sales tax increase for river improvements and in the downtown Drillers stadium deal, to name two recent examples of their engagement in local political issues. I cannot think of another example of an elected official at one level of government simultaneously serving as a lobbyist at another level of government. It would be a different matter if Bynum limited his lobbying practice to organizations and businesses that had no interest in City Hall affairs.

By the way, Bynum's 2010 second quarter disclosure form reveals that the job he created -- the other lobbyist he hired -- is Stuart McCalman, who was Governmental Affairs Director under Mayor Kathy Taylor, and who continued in that role under Bartlett, until his involvement in the Mayor/Council dispute over the JAG grant and police layoffs.

FLASHBACK: G. T. Bynum's statements on the ballpark assessment district in 2008, with commentary by Steven Roemerman.

MAFB-Magformers-20100715.jpgI was playing Uno this evening with my four-and-a-half-year-old. Spiderman Uno, with the Spider Sense card that lets you see one other player's cards before deciding on the new color.

I won the first hand. (Bad daddy.) Little Bit's lower lip started trembling, and he starting getting sniffly. He said something I couldn't quite make out in a teary voice, and he excused himself to his room for about half a minute to collect himself.

The next hand I lost. (Good daddy.) Midway through the third hand, he exclaimed with a grin, "I love this game!"

"Even when you don't win?" I asked.

He replied, nonchalantly, "I didn't mean to cry. It was myself that made me cry." He shrugged. "Why did my body think of that?"

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