July 2012 Archives

The problem with taking a blog hiatus to focus on day job and family assignments is that it's hard to figure when it's worth breaking the hiatus to post something. News happens all the time, so if I didn't post about the Big National Story yesterday, why should I break the hiatus with today's Moderately Big Local Story.

So instead I'll break the silence with something that isn't newsworthy in the least. A while ago I asked for readers to send in documents from the pen of Tulsa perennial candidate Accountability Burns, aka A. Einstein V Belcher Burns.

One friend (I'm not sure if he wants to be identified) sent in three documents. This first one I'm publishing here is a letter from Accountability Burns to the Oklahoma County Bar Association, dated January 15, 1984. This is a fine example of Burns's use of simplified spelling, and notice that he helpfully identifies his old name c. 1975 at the end.

dayt = Sun., 1-15-84, 1:20Am-Mun.

Accountability Burns (E5)
1119 S. Rockford, #3
Tulsa OK 74120

- too = OklaCtyBarAsso
OC 7/'3102

in ray: Bil, Lahwuhyr Refurl Serv.-Statemt 10-11-83 = 315.00
case = False Arrest, J.LsePortis-atty, Sep.16,1983

kahpee = Fred Nelson, atty-Ams.Cos. &: defunkt MentorCorp.-bush
BOK Tower

This iz belaytd check, pay OCBA. foh fyndn J .LeePortis, az
Speshlist in Const.Law-CR-FawlssUhrest, 1973 kayes, fyld in
OCDC, ginst 3 defs = bush-Mentor-BOK-AmsCos., OC pigs dept,

Awlzoh enclsd iz $50 check foh Portis, too pay foh LeeglConsult,
hr awn fahnix, Tulsa-OK, too diskuss kayes, downpaymt awn ackshn
too kumbyn kayes with uthr in USSCt, fum OkSCt (Burns v. Slater-SEB, '74).

Therr wil bee sum resrch needid, too lohkayt fyl, determine
fee foh xtr uv jurisdixn or purmishn too kumbyn or syt-refer
too USSCt. Portis kan handl bohth kaysiz, 1973 ackshn fyld in '75
& 1974 ackshn fyld in 1974.

In 1983, hav bin bizzee with noo ackshunz-kays/iz, fawlss uhrest
in Aug.14, '82 by Tulsa pigs, & AGE-SAGE-WAGE & uthr discrim. by
TJC in Aug. '83, in hiring. daytn back too Dec. '68 & Jan. '69,
wen returnd too Tulsa fum Hibbing-Minn too start EinsteinU.=TSU=
TJC=UCAT. Awlzoh, had misteeryus foot infexn, layd up sevrl wks.
Kayes iz in poltix, now, soh that accnts foh mutch delay too.

Demandid fum bush-Mentor-BOK-Wms.Cos. & OC pigs & VAH-OC =
$, foh tortchr, intents payn, anguish, lawst inkm-jahbs.
Must hohld awf awn estimut uv demand in Burns V. Slater, too rush this.
-E5 (1975 = Gene Crandall Burns)

Ken Walker, one of the candidates in the runoff for House District 70, skipped a Tulsa Republican Club forum for runoff candidates last Friday and refuses to participate in any debate or forum hosted by the League of Women Voters. The winner of the August 28 runoff will take the open seat, currently held by Ron Peters, who has hit term limits.

Daniel went to the lion's den, but apparently Ken Walker won't speak to a friendly audience or take questions from the stridently neutral LWV.

Below is a news release from Shane Saunders, Walker's opponent in the HD 70 race. 2012 shows disturbing signs of being the year of the amateur in Oklahoma politics. All you have to do to win a Republican primary is to look appropriately somber and concerned and avoid having any taint of political involvement. Having concrete opinions on issues, wanting to pass legislation to undo bad laws and regulations, voting on a regular basis, showing up and answering questions at a candidate forum -- evidently all of these attributes make you a "typical politician" and not to be trusted.


House District 70 Candidate rejects public scrutiny

Tulsa, OK- Demonstrating his refusal to support the basic principle that the best government is the one that listens to its people, Candidate Ken Walker is refusing to appear before voters to discuss the issues important to them.

According to Connie Siebold with the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa (LWV), Ken Walker today refused to participate in any debate or forum hosted by the LWV, an organization that has sponsored countless debates and candidate forums in Oklahoma.

Walker also insulted the Tulsa Republican Club by failing to appear at a runoff candidate forum last Friday. This long standing conservative Republican club would have been a great opportunity for Walker to explain his views on the issues.

"Clearly Ken Walker has something to hide," said Shane Saunders, a conservative Republican running for the House District 70 seat, "He won't discuss the issues that matter to conservatives and he won't give conservative Republicans the respect they deserve to hear their views."

"If Walker can't explain his own views to a friendly audience," Saunders said, "how can he fight for conservative Republican views in the state legislature?"

"Our campaign has always operated on the principle that, in order to truly be a representative, you have to be open and engaged with the people on the issues that matter," Saunders said. "Our campaign will debate, discuss, visit or otherwise interact with any interested voter or organization anytime, anywhere."

"I know exactly where I stand on the issues and I enjoy sharing my vision to lead Oklahoma," Saunders said, "It is a shame that Ken Walker doesn't think enough of the people to do the same."

It's been a very busy, very productive week for me. It just hasn't been productive at all here on BatesLine. One urgent project at work turned into three, plus some urgent tasks at home. The family stayed plenty busy with Vacation Bible School at church (with the theme of Babylon from the book of Daniel -- the six year old is convinced it should be pronounced "Baby-Lawn").

Despite the busy-ness, I did watch and tweet about the 2nd Congressional District debate, sponsored by Rogers State University and moderated by Lt. Gov Todd Lamb, between Republican runoff candidates George Faught and Markwayne Mullin. I was amazed to hear Mullin respond to a question about the legislation he would introduce by saying we don't need more legislation. I guess he missed the civics class where they explained that you have to pass legislation in order to eliminate bad laws. Maybe someone should give Mullin a copy of the Schoolhouse Rock DVD -- a little remedial education for the carpetbagging would-be federal legislator who doesn't want to legislate.

(Mullin's criticism was funny, too, since we just had a primary campaign in the 1st District was criticized for not introducing lots and lots of legislation and getting it passed.)

Not only did Faught dominate the debate, he had a prime timeslot for a radio interview with Sean Hannity a couple of days later.

Here's a collection of links from the 2nd District campaign this week:

Oklahoma 2nd Congressional District Debate on Vimeo

Sean Hannity interviews George Faught

George Faught press release on the debate and his interview with Sean Hannity

The MullinFacts.com website has some interesting info. Although Markwayne Mullin claims an Adair County address as his residence for the purpose of running for Congress, Mullin claims a house valued at over $500,000 in Wagoner County -- in the 1st Congressional District -- as his homestead for the purpose of a break on his taxes. Here's a direct link to the Wagoner County Assessor's office showing Mullin's ownership and homestead exemption.

Another fascinating piece of info: Mullin set up a campaign committee to run for State Labor Commissioner in 2010, then decided not to make the race. He's hardly the political babe-in-the-woods he appears to be.

Finally, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has targeted this race to retain the seat for their party in the battle for a majority in the House, calls both Republican candidates "severely flawed." You can guess what they named as Mullin's flaws -- the ATF raid on his place of business and the FEC controversy over his business advertising.

George Faught's flaws in the eyes of the Democrats? Faught supports the conservative budget plan for cutting the deficit and putting America on the road to cutting its debt, and Faught is endorsed by Mike Huckabee. Those may be severe flaws to a liberal Washington Democrat, but they're positive attributes for conservative eastern Oklahomans of all parties.

I was encouraged to come across a new poll showing conservative former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz pulling ahead of establishment moderate Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the race to be the Republican nominee for Texas's open U. S. Senate seat. Dewhurst finished first in the May 29 primary, but fell short of the required majority, with 45% to Cruz's 34%, so Dewhurst and Cruz will be on the July 31, 2012, runoff ballot.

The new PPP poll, taken on July 10 and 11, has Cruz at 49% and Dewhurst at 44%. This is a dramatic reversal from the same pollster's final pre-primary poll, which gave Dewhurst a commanding 59%-34% lead in a runoff with Cruz.

This reversal has happened despite Dewhurst's strong political pull and establishment support. The Lieutenant Governor is said by many to be the most powerful office in Texas, and anyone with interests at the State Capitol would be foolish not to endorse Dewhurst, as he would be in a position to punish them should he lose this election and remain as Lt. Governor. As http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/301055/will-fear-decide-texas-senate-race-katrina-trinkoNational Review's Katrina Trinko wrote back in May:

In Texas, the lieutenant governorship is a hugely powerful position. Its occupant is the leader of the state senate, meaning he appoints committee chairmen and members, determines the order in which bills are taken up, and decides which committees get to handle specific pieces of legislation.

At the very least, everyone has to be aware of the sway Dewhurst will have if he remains lieutenant governor. And according to state insiders backing Dewhurst's most prominent rival, former state solicitor general Ted Cruz, it goes beyond that: They say the Dewhurst campaign has made it clear that those who want to see their legislation pass if Dewhurst remains lieutenant governor had better back Dewhurst for senate. The Dewhurst campaign denies this categorically.

One source familiar with Texas politics who supports Cruz says that he knows "a number of significant donors" who also have business interests in the state and have been "told by their lobbyists in Austin, 'Don't dare give money to Ted, don't endorse Ted . . . because if you do you'll never get anything else through in Austin.'"

So despite the leverage for arm-twisting and the list of endorsers that "reads like the Chamber of Commerce directory for the State of Texas" and includes public employees organizations/unions, Dewhurst's star is falling fast. Cruz, meanwhile, has donations from a broader array of Texans, plus endorsements from national conservative leaders and organizations, the troops on the front lines of the fight in Washington for fiscal sanity, traditional values, the sanctity of human life, 2nd Amendment rights, and a strong national defense.

Cruz's endorsers include FreedomWorks for America PAC, Club for Growth PAC, Eagle Forum PAC, Dr. James Dobson, Sen. Jim DeMint, Sen. Tom Coburn, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Pat Toomey, Sen. Rand Paul, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin, former U. S. Attorney General Ed Meese, Phyllis Schlafly, Mark Levin, and Sean Hannity. When Dewhurst supporters said that Cruz was backed by Washington "insiders," Cruz replied, "I've got to say that if Sarah Palin, Mark Levin, James Dobson are DC insiders...hallelujah, we have truly turned this country around."

Cruz's big turnaround gives me hope in the Oklahoma 2nd Congressional District runoff. As in Texas, we have a big-money candidate, Markwayne Mullin, with backing from establishment, corporate-welfare types, versus a grassroots candidate, George Faught, who has the support of grassroots Oklahoma conservatives and national conservative leaders who want a principled, knowledgeable leader to help fight for the conservative cause in Washington.

Faught has endorsements from Mike Huckabee, Gary Jones, Phyllis Schlafly, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund, Family Research Council's Action PAC, Concerned Women for America PAC, David Barton of Wall Builders, and Mike Farris, head of the Home School Legal Defense Fund.

Last week Mullin was touting an endorsement from Doug Cox, arguably the most liberal Republican in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Cox frequently votes against pro-life legislation, supports government funding for Planned Parenthood, and was a leading advocate for a bill that would allow someone with a gender identity disorder to rewrite history by changing his birth certificate to match his delusions. What does it tell you that Doug Cox would rather have Mullin in Congress than George Faught, who helped to expose and defeat Cox's gender-bender bill?

Mullin's campaign is promoting an internal poll showing their man ahead by a margin similar to the lead Dewhurst held six weeks ago. Those numbers should change as conservative 2nd District voters take a closer look at Mullin's associations and backers. If Ted Cruz can turn those numbers around in six weeks, so can George Faught.

Today's (July 11, 2012) meeting of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (TMAPC) includes these two items near the very end of the agenda, under "Other Business":

21. Review and discuss the Tulsa Preservation Commission Design Guidelines Updates for Residential Structures and Non-Residential and Mixed-Use Structures within Historic Preservation Overlay Zoning Districts

22. The Planning Commission (PC) will make a determination and direct PC staff and City of Tulsa Planning Staff of what steps to take next regarding the Form-Based Code.

The only item following 22 is the "Commissioner's Comments" placeholder that marks the end of every agenda.

Unlike the other items on the agenda, no background information is linked for these two items.

It's apparent that the so-called "planning" commissioners aren't interested in feedback from anyone other than zoning attorneys and the special interest groups they represent. If you can only spare an hour or so away from work, you can't be present for items at the end of an agenda, since their starting times are dependent on previous agenda items and could vary by hours. Only someone whose job is to be at the TMAPC meeting (e.g., zoning attorney, development lobbyist) can afford to be there for the entire meeting, no matter how long it lasts.

The lack of background information linked online means that insiders will know what is going to be discussed and whether it will be important and worthwhile to attend, but Joe Citizen won't have a clue. An ordinary Tulsan won't have the information needed to prepare remarks to the TMAPC (assuming citizens will be allowed to speak at all) and certainly won't know enough to draft a letter.

The decision on the 11th & Utica QuikTrip has had its own deterrent effect: People saw from that decision that the "planning" commissioners and the majority of City Council members have no intention of following our brand new comprehensive plan, notwithstanding the three-year process involved in gathering public input from thousands of Tulsans, creating a plan, gathering feedback, making adjustments, and bringing the plan through the approval process.

This new comprehensive plan will be followed when it works to the advantage of the big players in town. It will be set aside when it works to their disadvantage.

After doing their best to discourage, deter, and complicate public input on these items, the "planning" commissioners will claim that the lack of dissent is because people are content with whatever the big players want.

As individuals participating in the PLANiTULSA process and through our elected representatives on the City Council, who adopted the final version of the comprehensive plan, Tulsans decided how we want to see our city develop. We want to protect our beloved single-family neighborhoods, both old and new. But we have areas of town with run-down commercial buildings, run-down apartment complexes, and abandoned industrial buildings -- in areas like these, we can allow for mixed-use, urban, walkable development, for people like college students, singles, young couples, and empty-nesters who want to live in that kind of place. Tulsa can and should offer a wide range of living choices to suit different tastes and different stages of life.

Where better to re-create a walkable, urban community than a neighborhood originally built like that -- a neighborhood like the Pearl District, developed when people walked or rode the streetcar to get places, a place that had homes, stores, churches, schools, and workplaces all within walking distance. Only a few, simple rules are needed to ensure that new development reinforces the walkable character of the district. The proposed form-based code gives a property owner far more scope to make economically productive use of his land than our current use-based zoning system does.

If I were conspiratorially minded, I would suspect that the developer lobbyists and the Tulsa Metro Chamber had conspired to get my friends in the Tea Party movement all worked up about "Agenda 21" so they'd ignore the corporate welfare county sales tax proposal likely to be on November's ballot and at the same time oppose the greater freedom offered to property owners by form-based codes as somehow a threat to liberty.

(Remember what TEA stands for? Taxed Enough Already! But have any of you heard even a grumble out of the Tulsa-area TEA Party groups about the proposed county corporate welfare tax?)

PLANiTULSA, Tulsa's new comprehensive plan adopted by our elected representatives, is not Agenda 21. We haven't signed ourselves up to obey UN treaties or regulations. We haven't ceded our sovereignty to any other entity. Blue-helmeted soldiers are not going to drop out of black helicopters onto your patio and relocate you at gunpoint into a tenement slum. Tulsa has had a comprehensive land use and transportation plan since the 1920s, and previous plans have been far more prescriptive than PLANiTULSA.

(But former Mayor Kathy Taylor did sign Tulsa up to obey the Kyoto Protocol and signed up for NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun-grabbing coalition, and yet a candidate claiming to be a "conservative Republican" endorsed her for re-election. I wonder how many Tea Party conservatives supported him anyway.)

I hope that next year we will elect a new mayor who is committed to carrying out the comprehensive plan that was developed by the people of Tulsa and adopted by its elected representatives, who will pull Tulsa out of TMAPC and constitute a city planning commission for Tulsa (under the same statute as Oklahoma City's planning commission), and who will entrust planning recommendations to a city planning department that is also committed to carrying out our comprehensive plan. (INCOG would continue its transportation planning role, and Tulsa may find it useful to continue to contract with INCOG to maintain zoning records and provide mapping services, but Tulsa should stop paying INCOG to analyze and make recommendations on zoning and planning.)

A peach of a day

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My wife wanted more blueberries.

She and the two younger kids picked an astonishing amount (18 gallons?) a few weeks ago at Thunderbird Berry Farm east of Broken Arrow. Nevertheless there didn't seem to be enough to cover pie baking, freezing for later, and random noshing. She wanted more, if we could get them.

Saturday she thought perhaps we could go and pick some more. Nope: Thunderbird's Facebook page said they ended the season June 30. Getting too hot for the berries. Owasso Tree Farm's website said they were done, too, not just blueberries but blackberries, too. The early hot weather had ripened everything earlier than normal.

So Saturday morning the six-year-old and I headed to Cherry Street for the Farmer's Market. We kept our eyes out for blueberries but found none.

I have mixed feelings about farmer's markets. I love the concept: A weekly community gathering, farmers bringing fresh produce straight to the consumer, no middleman to boost the price to the consumer and lower the price to the farmer, supporting our community's ability to feed itself in the event of a disruption to national and international food distribution networks.

In practice, I find it uncomfortable and expensive. I never have a clear picture of what I need, so I either underbuy or overbuy. I find myself tempted to make aspirational purchases -- buying food without a realistic idea of when we'll cook and eat it. It's awkward to look at produce at one booth, under the watchful eye of the farmer, only to excuse myself to see if the tomatoes are better or cheaper at any of the other booths. I rarely know what the price of the item is at the supermarket, and even if I did, the farmers tend to use a different standard to price each item than the supermarket does. Reasor's prices peaches by the piece, one farmer prices them by dry measure, another prices by the pound. So I leave feeling glad that I helped support a local farmer (particularly if it's someone I know), glad that I bought some fresh food, but frustrated with myself for not being a good steward of the family food budget.

Lomah Dairy had a sign at its booth that explained that their cows have names and are treated with love and respect. It brought to mind that Portlandia sketch where a hipster couple at a restaurant grills the waitress about the living conditions of the chicken they were about to eat for dinner. ("His name was Colin. Here are his papers.") Unsatisfied with the waitress's claims, they go to the chicken farm to investigate for themselves.

One booth sold us a bag of pickle cucumbers for $4 and 6 ears of corn for $5. (The pickle cucumbers were the six-year-old's idea.) The ears were a bit scrawny (already picked over toward the end of the market, I expect), so the farmer threw in a couple more on the house.

I stopped at the Bootstrap Farm booth because I recognized one of the farmers as a friend who is a philosopher and erstwhile barista. We were given a sample of golden, sweet cherry tomatoes, and we bought a quart container of them, plus a few pounds of vine-ripened, regular-sized tomatoes -- $11. (I had one of the big tomatoes that night with a little bit of salt -- wonderful!) Then a stop by the Council Creek Farm pickup, its bed loaded with fresh cantaloupe and watermelon. We bought one big watermelon ($6) and two canteloupe (@ $4) -- $14. I struggled up the hill to the car cradling the melon in the crook of my arm, carrying a plastic shopping bag with the corn, cucumbers, and tomatoes by the handle, and carrying a partly torn plastic bag with a cantaloupe. The six-year-old managed to carry the other cantaloupe in his arms.

We dropped off the goods, then headed back down the hill for a cup of coffee (for me) and a cup of fruit (for him, although I ate the pineapple, kiwi, and orange bits he didn't want).

Next stop: Hardscape Materials in Bixby. We've got a small pond, bequeathed to us by the previous owners, and I've tried to keep it in shape, but because of the big freeze of 2011 and a 15-month stretch when work had me out of town half the time, things got out of hand. Tall flowering plants, joined by a thick mat of roots, had completely taken over the pond. (We were told they were water hyacinth, but they aren't.) I cleaned all of them out, leaving the water lilies, but in the clean out process I apparently made a couple of small tears in the liner.

So we went to Hardscape Materials, which has an entire building devoted to pond equipment and supplies and several large demonstration ponds with waterfalls, fountains, rocks, and gigantic koi. Hardscape has developed many of the pond products they sell.

They had the patch kit we needed, and after we bought it, the six-year-old led me around the grounds for a while. (There are few more interesting ways to spend time than to follow the whims of a six-year-old.) Hardscape has acres of stone, rock, and gravel of all types. They even sell basalt columns. They come from naturally hexagonal rock formations, the most famous of which is Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Back in the car and south on US 64. Next stop was Carmichael's produce stand, on the west side of the road just south of the river. They had plenty of Bixby corn, much healthier-looking than what we bought on Cherry Street -- a dozen ears for $6, cheaper than $7.50 for the same amount at the supermarket. Cucumbers were two for a dollar, sweet potatoes were 89 cents a pound (same price as the supermarket), so we bought some of those.

And they had blueberries from Nacogdoches, Texas -- $32 for a flat of 12 pints. That was much cheaper than the supermarket, where we would have paid about $48 for the same amount. Via text message, I was told to buy two flats.

They had peaches, too, but I intended to buy some peaches straight from the orchard in Porter, so we headed south again, but not before a quick drive around downtown Bixby. We noticed the removal of an ugly facade from a historic retail building in progress, a steeple for sale, and an interesting two-story gas station that now belongs to the local historical society.

South and east again along US 64 through Leonard and Stone Bluff, which reminded the six-year-old of Route 66, which led to questions about when towns were bypassed by highways and why the interstate highway system was built, followed by answers about pre-interstate bypasses and Eisenhower's post-World War I convoy across America and his experience with autobahns in Germany and how some bypasses (like Tulsa's Skelly Bypass) don't bypass anything any more.

Downtown Haskell has lovely new streetscaping, some interesting buildings with potential, and a couple of blocks where most of the buildings are gone, the result of a fires some years ago. (The Google street view imagery from February 2008 shows how much is now missing.) We stopped at Family Style Barbecue, in one of the old buildings, for lunch. The ribs were pretty good, a bit fattier than I like, but good flavor and no need for sauce. The beans had a nice smoky flavor. I tried a bit of their barbecue sauce but didn't care for it. The six-year-old enjoyed his ham sandwich, but not as much as he enjoyed the funny animal-video show on the TV in the corner.

After lunch we walked around a bit, noticing a sign ("HOME AND AUTO STORE") that had belonged to the OTASCO that once had been there, across the street from a building bearing the name ADELMAN (which, if memory serves, was the name of the family that built the Delman Theater at 15th and Lewis -- they dropped the initial A), an exposed native stone wall, a hexagonal tile floor (the only remnant of Broadway Cleaners), a pig statue in front of a butcher's shop and a mid-century modern facade on a defunct bank building. The six-year-old noted the irony of the painting on Family Style Barbecue's window: three walking pigs -- dad, mom, and son -- carrying balloons, one of which read "LET'S EAT!" "They shouldn't go in there. They'll be butchered!" he said with a grin.

East on 104 across the Arkansas River at Choska, then on to 231st Street, a gravel road between sod farms. We'd have probably been better off to go a couple of miles north, then east and back south, but I was following Google's directions. The six-year-old was grateful to get back on a paved road after two or three miles.

Livesay Orchards had lots and lots of fresh peaches, at least three different varieties, and a lady at a booth offered samples on toothpicks of each. They had a special on Scarlet Prince -- a half bushel for $18 (other varieties were $27 for a half bushel). They also grow apples. We drove past the orchards heading east, north on the first paved road into Porter proper, where the east-west streets are named for peach varieties. Porter is a town that could use some serious TLC. The town's famed Porter Peach Festival is July 19 - 21, 2012. This year they'll have carnival rides, mud races, a 5k run, and a car show, in addition to the peaches.

Home the easy way, on 51, and then the hard part -- finding some place to put 20 ears of corn, a big bag of cucumbers, a half-bushel of peaches, five pounds of sweet potatoes, two flats of blueberries, two cantaloupes, and a watermelon. I baked all the sweet potatoes, and we had watermelon, peaches, and tomatoes with a little bit of leftover ham for dinner that night.

My wife gently reminded me that the fresh produce is perishable, is best when you buy it, and you want to use it before it goes bad. So we are going to be gorging ourselves on fruit and vegetables for a week or so.

P. S. Anyone have a good pickle recipe? I'm thinking half-sour or maybe bread-and-butter.

Way back in 2003, when this blog was in its infancy, I wrote about a weekend visit to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for a reunion of alumni of the New Creations, University Baptist Church in Fayetteville's collegiate choir. My wife sang with the group throughout her time at the University of Arkansas. During the reunion, long-time director Tanner Riley led a massed choir of alumni in several oft-performed songs.

I needed to hear one of those songs again today; perhaps, at the end of a hard week, you do, too. It's by John Purifoy, and it's a setting of Jesus' words in Matthew 11:28-30. Here's the New Creations from their 1984 spring concert. The second clip has a few words of invitation from Pastor J. D. McCarty followed by a reprise of the song.

Come to Me All Who Labor (MP3)

Come to Me All Who Labor (reprise) with remarks by J. D. McCarty (MP3)

MORE: From Pilgrim's Progress

Now I saw in my dream, that the highway up which CHRISTIAN was to go was fenced on either side with a wall; and that wall was called "Salvation".

"In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." Isaiah 26:1

Up this way, therefore, did burdened CHRISTIAN run; but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back.

He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulchre. So I saw in my dream, that just as CHRISTIAN came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble; and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more.

Then was CHRISTIAN glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart,

"He hath given me rest by his sorrow,
And life by his death."

Then he stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks.


We're getting rid of clothes we don't need and came across a couple of bright teal windbreakers from the 1990 International Science and Engineering Fair, which was held in Tulsa that year. My wife and I, then newlyweds, volunteered for the fair, marshalling buses and giving directions to visitors.

ISEF 1990 Tulsa embroidered Indian head logo on a teal windbreaker

I guess we took the windbreakers with us to Europe later that year, because in the pocket of the smaller jacket was a little wrapper, likely from a mint:

Mövenpick Marché Heidiland mint wrapper

Autobahnrestaurant N13

Mövenpick Marché Heidiland mint wrapperOn the back, a young female model holds something that looks like a Paris street sign, reading:


The Mövenpick Marché Heidiland is a roadside restaurant in Canton Graubünden, in eastern Switzerland. It's part of a chain, but more than just a fast-food place -- more like the Stuckey's and Howard Johnson's you used to see along Oklahoma's turnpikes, but much bigger and nicer. You'll still find this sort of thing along the some east coast turnpikes and British motorways -- restaurant or food court, convenience store, tourism info -- some of them approach the size of small malls.


But I've never been to one in the US or UK with a goat enclosure.

Marché Heidiland, on the highway A13, is one of the most well-known rest stops in all of Switzerland. The "Heidi and Geissenpeter Game" is waiting for you as soon as you walk in the front door. Two large game rooms provide an exciting experience for all kids. There is also an outdoor playground and a goat enclosure close to the entrance.

We would have come across this place on the way between picking up a rental car in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, and our stop for the night in Chur, Switzerland.

Our September 1990 vacation, facilitated by my wife's employment with American Airlines, started in Frankfurt and took us to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Mittenwald, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and Munich in Germany, Prague in newly freed Czechoslovakia, Vienna, Melk, and Salzburg in Austria, Liechtenstein, Chur, Glarus, Lucerne, Rüschlikon, and Zurich in Switzerland, whence we flew home. We had a Eurail / Hertz car/train package deal, used the car in Bavaria, took the train through Czechoslovakia and Austria (including a brief ride on a boat on the Danube), then picked up a car in Vaduz for the last few days of the trip.

I remember being disappointed that you couldn't find a cheap lunch in Vaduz, as you could in Austria, Bavaria, and Prague. So we likely stopped here for a meal.

I don't recall whether it was cheap then, but it certainly isn't cheap today. The website touts fresh baked goods and abundant buffets. The evening buffet (7 pm to 10:30 pm) runs $25, not including beverages. The lunch special -- dish, drink, and dessert -- is about $18, and the Sunday brunch buffet is about $27. There are size discounts: Under 110 cm is free, under 140 cm is half price. The bargain breakfast -- croissant, bread roll, butter, jam, and coffee -- is only $9. (The US dollar and the Swiss Franc are right about at par at the moment. When we visited, a dollar was worth 1.30 Swiss Francs.)

In addition to the goat enclosure, the Marché Heidiland has an outdoor playground, an indoor play area, a smokers' room, a conference room, and free WiFi.

The baby facilities are impressive: A microwave oven, bottle warmer, and hot water kettle for use in preparing your baby's food, built-in changing tables (not just pulldown tables in the handicapped toilet stall), and special strollers that give you a place to put your tray of food and your child's tray as you navigate the buffet.

MORE: Bill Clinton stopped here on his way to Davos a couple of years ago.

MORE reminiscing: Older readers will recall the midway rest stop on the Turner Turnpike, with a pedestrian bridge connecting eastbound and westbound rest areas. The eastbound area had a Howard Johnson's restaurant, a souvenir shop, a Phillips 66 service station, and a tourism display. One thing you couldn't get on the eastbound side was a bottle or can of pop. If you wanted anything other than HoJo Cola, you had to walk over the turnpike to the vending machines at the Phillips station on the westbound side.

Midway Station Overpass - Turner Turnpike, OK -1950s

MORE stuff that fell out in the dryer (should have checked the pockets more carefully): A chestnut and (found in the lint trap) a ticket labeled "RVO" dated September 26, 1990, at 16:00, for two people. RVO is a regional transportation company in the Bavarian Alps, so perhaps this was a ticket for our day train trip from Salzburg to Berchtesgaden with another American couple.

Don Wyatt of Boondoggle Blog was on KFAQ with Pat Campbell and Eddie Huff recently to discuss his research into the Tulsa County Industrial Authority (TCIA) and the bonds it has issued in support of the privately-owned Montereau, an upscale retirement community near 71st and Sheridan. Wyatt also raised questions about the county's practice of refinancing bonds and how that could provide a financial windfall to the bond advisers and dealers who get the TCIA's bond business without having to compete for it. For all the claims of transparency from county officials, the TCIA's operations are shrouded in mystery, with very little information on the county's website. If I heard correctly, Wyatt learned about TCIA bonds for Montereau through tax filings of the beneficiary entity. I learned about TCIA funding of other private developments through a report on moodys.com.

I hope Don will favor us with a detailed written report of his findings, but in the meantime, please listen to his KFAQ interview.

A group of 75 U. S. Senators and U. S. House members, led by Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Michelle Bachmann, and Rep. Jim Jordan, have written a letter to the National Governors Association urging against the implementation of state health care exchanges. Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn and Rep. James Lankford are among the 12 senators and 63 congressmen to sign the letter to the governors, which was released today, July 2, 2012.

The letter provides more backup for the assertion that the ObamaCare employer mandate cannot be enforced in states without a health care exchange. The letter makes a strong case that states with an exchange will spend more tax dollars establishing and running it and will make it more expensive to do business in those states.

The full text of the letter, followed by a list of signatories:

Dear Governors:

The Supreme Court has ruled significant parts of the Medicaid expansion of the President's health care law unconstitutional as well as ruling that the individual mandate violated the Commerce Clause and will therefore be implemented as a punitive tax on the middle class. This presents us with a critical choice: Do we allow this reprehensible law to move forward or do we fully repeal it and start over with commonsense solutions? The American people have made it clear that they want us to throw this law out in its entirety.

As members of the U.S. Congress, we are dedicated to the full repeal of this government takeover of healthcare and we ask you to join us to oppose its implementation.

Most importantly, we encourage you to oppose any creation of a state health care exchange mandated under the President's discredited health care law.

These expensive, complex, and intrusive exchanges impose a threat to the financial stability of our already-fragile state economies with no certainty of a limit to total enrollment numbers. Resisting the implementation of exchanges is good for hiring and investment. The law's employer mandate assesses penalties - up to $3,000 per employee - only to businesses who don't satisfy federally-approved health insurance standards and whose employees receive "premium assistance" through the exchanges. The clear language of the statute only permits federal premium assistance to citizens of states who create a state-based exchange. However, the IRS recently finalized a regulation that contradicts the law by allowing the federal government to provide premium assistance to citizens in those states that have not created exchanges. The IRS had no authority to finalize such a regulation. By refusing to create an exchange, you will assist us in Congress to repeal this violation which will help lower the costs of doing business in your state, relative to other states that keep these financially draining exchanges in place.

State-run exchanges are subject to all of the same coverage mandates and rules as the federally-run exchange. Clearing the hurdles of crafting an exchange that complies with the 600 plus pages of federal exchange regulations will only result in wasted state resources and higher premiums for your constituents.

Implementation of this law is not inevitable and without the unconstitutional individual mandate it is improbable. Join us in resisting a centralized government approach to health care reform and instead focus on solutions that make health care more affordable and accessible for every American. Let's work to create a health care system of, for, and by the people, not government or special interests.


Here is the complete list of signatories:


Bachmann, Jordan, Paul, Roe, Wilson, Duncan, Akin, Hensarling, Garrett, Mulvaney, Walsh, Walberg, Stearns, Ross, Gowdy, Emerson, Franks, Buchson, Rokita, Broun, Boustany, Huelskamp, Scalise, Amash, Olson, Canseco, Price, Blackburn, King (IA), Adams, DesJarlais, Landry, Gingrey, Lankford, Miller (FL), Guthrie, Manzullo, Bono Mack, Ellmers, Pitts, Benishek, Calvert, McClintock, Jenkins, Gohmert, Flores, Bilbray, Ryan, Sensenbrenner, Buerkle, Denham, Lungren, Harris, West, Long, Westmoreland, Fleischmann, Aderholt, Poe, Labrador, Neugebauer, Pompeo


DeMint, Lee, Johnson (WI), Coburn, Graham, Vitter, Paul, Cornyn, Sessions, Rubio, Toomey and Shelby

MEANWHILE: The Daily Disappointment urges immediate implementation of an Oklahoma health-care exchange.

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