December 2012 Archives

The Round-Up Boys will be playing a western swing dance tonight at the Broken Arrow Senior Center, 1800 S. Main St. in Broken Arrow (just north of 91st St / New Orleans). Dinner catered by Knotty Pine Barbecue at 6:30 and dancing from 8:00-Midnight. Admission is only $15.00.

The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate will swing in the new year with a swing dance at Southminster Presbyterian Church's Activity Center, west of Peoria on 35th Place. There will be a live band, and the event is smoke-free, booze-free, family friendly, and only $5 per person. Beginner lesson at 8 pm, dance from 8:30 pm to 12:30 am. Bring a snack to share for a chance to win a door prize.

Welch, in northern Craig County, is having a town-wide New Year's Eve party from 9 pm to 12:30 am with a family-friendly night of fun, games, and dancing at the Welch Civic Center.

If you're way down Texas way, Billy Mata and the Texas Tradition are swinging in the new year at Anhalt Halle, north of San Antonio, halfway between New Braunfels and Boerne. Jody Nix and the Texas Cowboys will be at their homebase, the Stampede in Big Spring. Alvin Crow will be playing the Broken Spoke in Austin. And way out west, the Lonestar Retrobates wlll be playing at the Presidio Yacht Club in Sausalito, California, and the Saddle Cats will be at the Speisekammer in Alameda. (See and for listings of western swing dances in Texas and the San Francisco Bay Area respectively; both areas have a very active western swing scene.)

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn issued this statement Sunday evening, December 30, 2012, regarding negotiations over the renewal of expiring tax cuts approved during the George W. Bush Administration. Emphasis added:

No agreement has been reached because too many politicians in Washington want to raise taxes in order to grow the government rather than decrease the deficit. If politicians want to raise taxes and stop spending cuts without offering alternative cuts, which is precisely where we are now, they should have the courage to be transparent and make that case publicly, not in secret.

We're stuck because many in Congress want to move toward Clinton-era tax rates but not Clinton-era spending. According to numbers provided by the White House, total federal spending is more than twice what it was during Bill Clinton's final year in office. As a percent of GDP, federal spending was 18 percent then compared to 24 percent now. If Congress wants to turn off sequestration we should replace those cuts with smart, targeted cuts. Our government throws away at least $350 billion every year through waste, fraud and duplication. Replacing across-the-board cuts with targeted cuts would not be difficult if Congress had the courage and political will to act.

In the final few hours before the fiscal cliff, Senate Majority Leader Reid should offer the American people an open, transparent and unlimited floor debate in the United States Senate. I have no doubt that if a balanced plan was brought to the floor in this fashion it would pass by an overwhelming margin.

The news release reminds that Coburn issued his own $9 trillion deficit reduction plan, Back to Black, in July 2011.

SOMEWHAT RELATED: Dave Barry's 2012 in review:

Speaking of troubled, in ...


... there is much fiscal-cliff drama in Washington as Congress and the White House -- after months of engaging in cynical posturing and political gamesmanship while putting off hard decisions about a dangerous crisis that everyone knew was coming -- finally get serious about working together to come up with a way to appear to take decisive action without actually solving anything.

MORE: Sen. Coburn appeared on CBS Face the Nation Sunday, December 30, 2012, with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)

A Facebook friend shared an item posted on December 28, 2012, by Teletul Estrellatv Tulsa (channel 51, Tulsa's only Spanish-language TV station) about President Barack Obama participating in a Día de Reyes event on January 6 at 3 pm in the parking lot of the Las Américas supermarket parking lot at Admiral and Lewis. Día de Reyes is known in the liturgical calendar of the English-speaking world as Epiphany or Three Kings' Day, marking the visit of wise men from the east to worship and offer gifts to the child Jesus, as related in the 2nd chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew.

La Casa Blanca confirmó hace minutos que el presidente Barack Obama aceptó la invitación de grupo Teletul y líderes comunitarios hispanos, para participar en evento del Día de Reyes, a realizarse en Tulsa el próximo 6 de enero a las 3 de la tarde. Es la primera vez que un mandatario estadounidense participa en un evento de este tipo, orientado a la comunidad hispana en Tulsa, y es parte de los esfuerzos del presidente por acercarse a las familias inmigrantes en su batalla contra el déficit fiscal. El evento durará sólo 30 minutos debido a la recargada agenda presidencial, y se llevará a cabo en el área de estacionamiento de Supermercados Las Américas de Admiral y Lewis, donde converge un gran número de hispanos. ¿Usted asistirá?

As it happens, December 28 is another feast day associated with the Nativity of Christ and with Matthew chapter 2. It's the Feast of the Holy Innocents, marking the deaths of the babies and toddlers killed on the orders of King Herod the Great of Judea, in his effort to destroy the prophesied king of the Jews, whose arrival posed a threat to his own reign. Matthew 2:16-18:

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.

Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

"A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more."

In the Hispanosphere, the Feast of the Holy Innocents is traditionally a day for practical jokes, along the lines of April Fools' Day. The notion of innocence could be connected with the innocent intent of the trickster or the innocence to the point of gullibility of the trick's victim. So Teletul's announcement was a prank.

The Facebook friend who shared the "news" about Obama's visit made a reference to Dia de Los Inocentes. Not knowing the day's connection to practical jokes, I thought it was a reference to Obama's radical support for the slaughter of innocent children, not only those still in the womb, but even those who manage to survive a botched abortion.

Mother Jones, a left wing magazine, has been reporting on a feud at FreedomWorks between former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the chairman of FreedomWorks, and his allies on one side, and FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe and his supporters on the other. Kibbe and Armey co-wrote Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto in 2010. Armey's resignation from FreedomWorks was announced in early December. Stacy McCain has the story and the links.

Reports say that Armey attempted to get Kibbe removed but that the board encouraged Armey to leave with a reported payout of $8 million.

Dick Armey at the March on Washington, September 12, 2010, S3016625

FreedomWorks was arguing for Tea Party ideals for many years before the Tea Party came into existence in 2008. The group has positioned itself as a servant to the Tea Party movement, providing training, research, and networking to help Americans turn their concern about Washington's fiscal insanity into effective grassroots action.

FreedomWorks has been an effective watchdog, helping to vet candidates by digging deep into their records on fiscal issues, calling attention to the Romney campaign's power grab at the 2012 Republican National Convention rules committee, critiquing the Boehner debt plan and facilitating the grassroots development of an alternative. FreedomWorks VP for health care policy Dean Clancy provided the rationale for states to exercise their prerogative not to set up an Obamacare state exchange.

Matt Kibbe at BlogCon 2012, S3016535

I have gotten to know FreedomWorks mainly through a series of BlogCons -- informative workshops for bloggers. I marched with Dick Armey at the 2010 March on Washington and enjoyed the hospitality of the Kibbes at a post-march gathering at their home. I've had the pleasure of getting to know some of their great staffers, analysts like Dean Clancy, and organizers like Tabitha Hale (now with the Franklin Center), Sarah Desprat (now with Twitchy), and Kristina Ribali. FreedomWorks has made it possible for me to meet and get to know fellow bloggers from coast to coast. So it's worrisome to hear reports of turmoil.

The dispute, as I understand it, centers around this question: Should FreedomWorks judge every politician by their free-market principles, praising when possible, castigating when necessary, without regard to the politician's party affiliation or political connections? Or should FreedomWorks be pragmatic, take it a bit easier on old friends who wield power at the Capitol, even when they oppose us on our key issues? The former view seems to be held by Kibbe and his allies; the latter by Armey and his supporters.

A few reactions:

1. Why aren't the two factions working with their friends in the blogosphere and legacy media to get their side of the story out? Why is Dick Armey telling his story to a far-left magazine, rather than American Spectator? Why haven't Matt Kibbe and FreedomWorks communicated with the many bloggers who attended one or more BlogCons?

2. Back in 2010, I was surprised to learn that Armey was involved with FreedomWorks, particularly with their emphasis on holding elected officials accountable, even the Republicans. Armey won a seat in Congress in 1984 as an economics professor and came to Washington as a reformer and an outsider, but a decade in Washington changed him. Armey gets much of the blame for the failure of the 1997 attempt by Tom Coburn, Steve Largent, and others to oust Newt Gingrich as speaker. The coup and Armey's double-cross is described in detail by Coburn in his book Breach of Trust. In light of that history, I found many of Armey's statements in Give Us Liberty highly ironic. If the reported reasons behind the FreedomWorks dispute are true, I can't say I'm surprised about Armey's departure.

3. If someone can come up with $8 million to pay someone to go away, why doesn't there seem to be money in the conservative movement to sustain the conservative voice in new media and legacy media?

MORE: Since writing this, I've found a couple of right-of-center sources that covered this dispute back at the beginning of December: The Blaze had a story on December 4, mainly regarding the nature of the payment to Armey -- from a private party, not from FreedomWorks or its affiliates. A search for blog entries about this dispute mainly turns up items on left-wing blogs. The same day, Ace of Spades HQ had an item linking to the initial story in Mother Jones.

Roll Call had an item about two other senior resignations from FreedomWorks following Armey's departure, as did Outside the Beltway. Dave Weigel kicked himself for getting scooped.

Erick Erickson wrote about the story today at Red State:

Armey was willing to go in and try to take charge, but was willing to give up the fight for money and then run off to a left-wing publication to tell his side of the story.

If Dick Armey and his friends are concerned about "harm" "done to the movement," perhaps they should not be willingly talking to a left-wing publication that has been pretty clearly looking to harm the conservative movement and bring down conservative groups.

UPDATE 2013/01/03: Blogger Rusty Weiss notes the attempted intervention of Armey and his allies on the board in support of establishment GOP candidates -- for example, Orrin Hatch, whom FreedomWorks attempted to defeat in the nomination process. Weiss notes the irony that Armey had, in April 2012, signed a letter with Kibbe and Armey ally C. Boyden Gray opposing David and Charles Koch's efforts to gain control over the Cato Institute, as it would harm Cato's credibility and "undermine our community's intellectual defenses."

UPDATE 2013/01/09: Dick Armey tells the Daily Caller he thought he was talking to Media Resource Center (a conservative group that documents left-wing bias in media, headed by L. Brent Bozell), not Media Matters (a left-wing, George Soros-funded group headed by David Brock).

And here's the leaked packet from FreedomWorks December 2012 board meeting, containing budget and financial reports and other statistics, shows a tremendous growth both in donations and in number of people engaged with FreedomWorks in some way. By every measure, 2012 was a wildly successful year for FreedomWorks.

Gerry Anderson, RIP

| | TrackBacks (0)

Via TashaDoesTulsa, This Land Press's Do What Tulsa has a list of large-scale Christmas light displays in and around Tulsa. See them while you can.

Do What also has a list of New Year's Eve events in Tulsa, ranging from casual to fancy. (The Oklahoma Swing Syndicate dance looks like fun.)

Brian McCullough visited the newly-opened Soulfully Southern restaurant in Glenpool and finds it "yam good." Brian Schwartz was pleased with a chicken fried steak he had at the new Oklahoma Roadhouse in Broken Arrow.

Route 66 News reports on a new mobile-optimized website highlighting 72 Route 66 historic sites along Oklahoma's stretch of the road. Each link has text, photos, and audio, and you can have the site alert you when you're near one of the tour stops. Here's a link to the list of Oklahoma Route 66 tour stops. Route 66 News also has a link to a video interview with Arizona Route 66 preservation pioneer Angel Delgadillo, and remembers Frank Pastore, Cincinnati Reds pitcher, conservative radio talk show host, and repeat conqueror of the Big Texan 72-oz. steak dinner.

Yogi and family took a trip up Route 66 to visit the World's Largest Concrete Totem Pole, and they took lots of pictures.

Emily, the Red Fork Hippie Chick, explores the disconnect between "What I Do" and "Who I Am" and finds it disorienting.

Lee Roy Chapman, who proposed naming the area north of the Frisco tracks in downtown Tulsa the Bob Wills District, notes the George Kaiser Family Foundation's RFQ for a mural of Woody Guthrie, for whom GKFF's Guthrie Green was named and whose archives are now owned by GKFF, to be housed nearby.

Maggie's Notebook has news of an American citizen imprisoned in Iran when he returned to visit his family. The Rev. Saeed Abedini, a native of Iran, has been detained awaiting trial for his work as a Christian minister.

The Chatelaine of Raising Camelot is not amused by Jimmy Kimmel's latest infliction of emotional injury on children, but it leads her to some important thoughts on parenting and trust:

Trust doesn't have to be earned from our children: we receive it, lock-stock-and-barrel, the first time our son or daughter is placed in our arms. Look into the eyes of your newborn baby, feel her little fingers clenched around your own, listen to her sigh as she sleeps against your heart and you will hear her say, without a single word, two things. First, "I am completely dependent on you." And second, "I know you'll take care of me."

Absolute trust.

The tragedy is that in every moment to follow, we have the opportunity to chip away at that trust. Most of us don't mean to. But it happens....

So why, by all that is holy, would anyone want to hasten their child's discovery that mom and dad don't always tell the truth? More importantly, that Mom and Dad will casually lie in order to trick them for a TV stunt? Because if Mom and Dad will lie, who won't?...

Our living, daily example also trains our children what to expect from God. Will they see Him as a loving and sacrificial father or a heartless trickster ready to laugh at their misery?

Read any good Tulsa blogs lately? Let me know in the comments below.

BatesLine's blogrolls

| | TrackBacks (0)

A request from a fellow blogger for reciprocal blogrolling (adding each other to our respective lists of recommended blogs) reminded me that I got away from the traditional blogroll (long lists of links to blog home pages) some time ago in favor of aggregation. The old system provided a prominent link whether the blog had been updated recently or not. Aggregation focuses attention on bloggers who are actively publishing new material.

I use Google Reader to keep track of the blogs I want to follow and have set up four pages where you can find headlines and links for the most recent 100 articles from those blogs. It does this by aggregating the RSS (syndication) feeds from each blog. If you're bored waiting for my next post, I invite you to visit one of these four pages to find something worth reading:

BatesLine op-ed headlines: Latest opinion and feature stories from the Wall Street Journal op-ed pages, National Review, and American Spectator
BatesLine Tulsa headlines: Latest opinion and feature stories from Tulsa-area bloggers
BatesLine Oklahoma headlines: Latest opinion and feature stories from Oklahoma bloggers
BatesLine blogroll headlines: Latest opinion and feature stories from (nearly) all the blogs I follow

The last three categories are nested; you'll find headlines from Tulsa bloggers on the Oklahoma page, and headlines from Oklahoma bloggers on the blogroll page. The headlines on those three pages are mutually exclusive of those on the op-ed page, since the op-ed publishers tend to publish a large number of new articles at a set time each night.

(There are a few blogs I read regularly that I exclude from these pages because of their occasional use of off-color language in headlines, which I don't want appearing on my website.)

I started out using NewsGator for this purpose, until they discontinued their aggregation service for websites. In addition to headline and source, NewsGator also made a brief excerpt of the article and the date and time published available for display, and I miss having that information.

Merry Christmas to anyone who happens by BatesLine today.

As a Holland Hall high school student, I attended and sang in the annual service of Christmas lessons and carols at Trinity Episcopal Church, modeled after the annual Christmas Eve service from the chapel of King's College, Cambridge.

At the beginning of the service, after the processional, Father Ralph Urmson-Taylor would read the bidding prayer. Confessing Evangelical has it as I remember it. It's worth a moment of your time to ponder.

Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmastide our care and delight to hear again the message of the angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger.

Therefore let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child.

But first, let us pray for the needs of the whole world; for peace on earth and goodwill among all his people; for unity and brotherhood within the Church he came to build, and especially in this our diocese.

And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us remember, in his name, the poor and helpless, the cold, the hungry, and the oppressed; the sick and them that mourn, the lonely and the unloved, the aged and the little children; all those who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.

Lastly, let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore, and in a greater light, that multitude which no man can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom in the Lord Jesus we are one forevermore.

These prayers and praises let us humbly offer up to the Throne of Heaven, in the words which Christ himself hath taught us: Our Father, which art in heaven...

The phrase "upon another shore, and in a greater light" always gives me goosebumps" as I think about friends and family who are no longer with us, but who are now free from pain and delighting in the presence of the Savior they loved so dearly in this life. I think of the last verses of the Epiphany hymn, "As with Gladness, Men of Old":

Holy Jesus, every day Keep us in the narrow way; And, when earthly things are past, Bring our ransomed souls at last Where they need no star to guide, Where no clouds Thy glory hide.

In the heavenly country bright,
Need they no created light;
Thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
Thou its Sun which goes not down;
There forever may we sing
Alleluias to our King!

Here's another "it's my blog, and I don't care if anyone else is interested" posts.

Below is some rare newsreel footage from 1951 of the recording of a British radio comedy called Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh. The show began during World War II, and Much Binding was an RAF base in some obscure, presumably damp, locale in England. The show continued after the war with the same cast, but in new situations. In this clip you'll see the two leads, Richard Murdoch on the left and Kenneth Horne on the right, joined by Sam Costa (with the impressive mustache), Maurice Denham (as Mr. Blake with the west country accent and milquetoast Mr. Larkin), and Maureen Riscoe as Mrs. Larkin.

I'm impressed that the audience laughed at the Latin joke.

Kenneth Horne was not only a radio entertainer, he was a business executive, serving as sales director of Triplex Glass, managing director of the British Industries Fair, and managing director of Chad Valley Toys. After a stroke in 1958, doctors told him to choose between industry and comedy. He chose comedy and returned from his convalescence to star in Beyond Our Ken, a weekly sketch comedy show that ran from 1958 to 1964. Beyond Our Ken was followed by Round the Horne, from 1965 to 1968, with the same cast -- Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden, Bill Pertwee, announcer Douglas Smith -- but different writers -- Barry Took and Marty Feldman.

Each episode of Much-Binding ended with the theme song with lyrics customized to fit the episode's story and the news of the day. Here's the song that ended the show's 100th episode, from 1949.

Finally, here's Richard Murdoch talking about the origins of Much-Binding and a royal visit to the show's performance.

MORE: BBC Radio 4 Extra features comedy, drama, documentary, and radio productions of classic literature, available worldwide online. An episode of Much-Binding, Beyond Our Ken, or Round the Horne airs almost every week; this week you can hear the second episode of Round the Horne. And this week they've started serializing Charles Dickens's The Pickwick Papers in eight hour-long episodes. A three-hour special, Horne of Plenty, featuring two episodes each of Round the Horne and Beyond Our Ken, plus commentary by Jonathan James-Moore, will air at 3 am Central Time Saturday, December 22, 2012, and will be available on the BBC Radio 4 Extra website for a week.

This Land Press has a picturesque story by Sheilah Bright about Oklahoma's westernmost town, Kenton, in Oklahoma's westernmost county, Cimarron. Kenton is the only Oklahoma town that keeps Mountain Time and is closer to three other states than it is to its own county seat. There's no school, no store, no gas station, and the post office may be closed. Bright introduces us to long-time residents like 99-year-old Ina K. Labrier and former postmaster Bonnie Heppard, takes us to branding day on the ranch, and recalls tragedies ancient and modern. Be sure to read the comments, too, most of them from current and former residents.


Trinity Episcopal Church, 5th and Cincinnati in downtown Tulsa, will host two concerts this weekend featuring beautiful Christmas music in its Gothic Revival sanctuary.

On Friday night, December 21, 2012, at 7:30 pm, the Tulsa Boy Singers will perform a concert of Christmas and winter music Tickets are $10, and available at the door. Student admission is free. TBS's junior choristers as young as six will be joining the singers on a couple of songs. A reception will follow.

The TBS program includes familiar carols like Good King Wenceslas and In the Bleak Midwinter, ancient carols like Coventry Carol and Personent Hodie, and more modern seasonal songs like White Christmas, Jingle Bells, and It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

The Tulsa Boy Singers, now in their 65th year of existence, is made up of boys from 8 to 18 who rehearse twice weekly and are trained in vocal performance and music theory. If you know a boy age 6 or older with an interest in singing, there will be an opportunity for a brief audition after the concert. TBS was my oldest son's first musical activity, and what he's learned from director Casey Cantwell and assistant director Jackie Boyd has laid a strong foundation for everything he has done with music since, teaching him to read music, to follow direction, to blend with others, to feel confident performing in public, and to appreciate great music. I'm thrilled that my youngest son has the same opportunity and only wish as strong a program existed for Tulsa's girls.

On Sunday night, December 23, 2012, at 7:30, the Tulsa Symphony Brass and organist Casey Cantwell will present a concert of Christmas music, part of the Saint Cecilia Concert Series. Tickets are $20 ($10 for students and seniors), may be purchased in advance online, and will be available at the door.

One of my favorite memories of this time of year at MIT was walking out of the December chill and into Lobby 7 on my way to class in the morning and being greeted with a brass quintet playing Christmas carols, which filled that vast space. I imagine Sunday's concert will bring those memories back to life.

On Monday in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Oklahoma's free-market policy think-tank, hosted a forum on health care, highlighting the value of transparency and direct payment in medical pricing, and the accomplishments of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City in providing high-quality health care for reasonable prices.

The Surgery Center, founded in 1997, began posting its prices online a few years ago. The prices only apply to those paying up front (either on their own behalf, or covered by a self-insuring employer), but not to those who have the Surgery Center file an insurance claim for payment. The flat fee covers fees for the surgeon, anaesthesiologist, and facility, initial consultation, and uncomplicated follow-up care. Any hardware and implants needed are quoted in advance and priced at cost -- no markups. The center's website sets out the rationale behind their approach:

It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more and more out of pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.

Transparent, direct, package pricing means the patient knows exactly what the cost of the service will be upfront. Fees for the surgeon, anesthesiologist and facility are all included in one low price. There are no hidden costs, charges or surprises.

The pricing outlined on this website is not a teaser, nor is it a bait-and-switch ploy. It is the actual price you will pay. We can offer these prices because we are completely physician-owned and managed. We control every aspect of the facility from real estate costs, to the most efficient use of staff, to the elimination of wasteful operating room practices that non-profit hospitals have no incentive to curb. We are truly committed to providing the best quality care at the lowest possible price.

The forum began with a screening of a short Reason.TV story about the Surgery Center.

It's remarkable that the chairman of the ear, nose, and throat department at Integris Baptist Medical Center, but "prefers to do his procedures at the Surgery Center of Oklahoma."

Some companies have found they can provide better employee surgical care more cost effectively by paying places like Surgery Center directly (and in some cases also paying for travel costs and lodging) rather than paying for conventional insurance.

The forum was broadcast on Ustream and is archived for watching at your leisure. The session starts at 4:40 into the video, introduced by OCPA vice president for policy Brandon Dutcher. You can find it embedded on the OCPA blog or directly on the Surgery Center of Oklahoma's Ustream channel.

(Note to the cameraman: Next time don't be so shy -- get up close!)

Pat McGuigan's story on Oklahoma Watchdog about the forum includes a note on how the center deals with people who can't afford the published price (even though it's typically far more affordable than the same procedure at a non-profit hospital).

In dialogue with CapitolBeatOK, [Surgery Center founder] Dr. [Keith] Smith said the center's approach is helping to restore an old-fashioned medical ethic for provision of charity care. Many referrals to the hospital come from churches and other groups helping the poor. Patients are encouraged in those cases to pay what they can, while physicians and anesthesiologists can (and often do) waive their fees for individuals in need.

Surgery Center does work with insurance companies, but that triggers a separate pricing structure. Dr. Smith explained, "We take on a lot of risks when we file with insurance companies, so we have to charge for that risk."

MORE: Dr. Smith has a frequently updated Tumblr blog commenting on health costs and policy.

Dewey Bartlett JuniorMy guess is that Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett Jr has a friend at the libertarian Reason Foundation or has a friend who is a major donor to the organization, because they've posted another story -- with video this time -- hailing him as a budgetary genius. Clearly, the only Tulsans they've been asking about Bartlett's record are Bartlett himself and his publicist. Earlier this year, an article appeared on the Reason Foundation's website under Bartlett's byline.

The article, posted on December 10, 2012, began:

When Mayor Dewey Bartlett took office on December 7, 2009, Tulsa, Oklahoma was in its worst budget crisis since the Great Depression.

"We would have probably had to file for bankruptcy," Bartlett tells Reason TV. "It certainly got us focused on how to run a government better."

With a $10 million budget shortfall and employee compensation spiraling out of control, thinkng about layoffs was just the beginning. Bartlett schooled himself about the budget and decided to focus "on things a government really should do and also make a decision on what a government really doesn't need to do." He reformed pay for police and firemen, sold unused vehicles and property, and privatized some city services, including the city's zoo.

Worst budget crisis since the depression? Tulsa had a deeper crisis in 2002, when Susan Savage was leaving office. Officials projected a $11.3 million shortfall. Incoming Mayor Bill LaFortune and the City Council approved an FY03 budget that was $13 million lower than its FY02 budget. They didn't raise taxes, either.

Bankruptcy? Mayor Junior doesn't know the meaning of the word. There was no chance that Tulsa would default on its general obligation debt, funded by property tax, or its revenue bonds, funded by sales taxes. You don't declare bankruptcy just because you don't have as much money to spend as you expected. You declare bankruptcy when you can't even make the payments on your debt. The City of Tulsa had to tighten its belt, like nearly every Tulsan has had to do. Unlike cities in some other states, Oklahoma's cities and towns are required by state law to balance their budgets every year.

It's nice that Bartlett Jr bothered to "school[] himself on the budget" after he was sworn in. Many candidates for public office feel an obligation to study the issues before running, but clearly that was unnecessary for a candidate with a famous name and a pile of daddy's money.

Terry SimonsonIn the video, there's a cameo (likely unintentional) by Bartlett's former chief of staff Terry Simonson, who is seen pushing through a door marked Office of the Mayor at 14 seconds into the video.

At 2:22, Bartlett begins to talk about the Management Review Office, and a pull-quote appears from a May 2011 Tulsa World web story, headlined "Management Review Office tackles 18 projects."

The city's Management Review Office - created to vet and help implement the KPMG study's efficiency recommendations - is working on projects that are expected to save Tulsa a minimum of $2.6 million annually.

$2.6 million is certainly worth saving, but it's not all that impressive as a percentage of the city's more than half-billion-dollar annual budget.

The graph at 2:30, comparing City of Tulsa spending to the rate of inflation, was produced by City Council researcher Jack Blair at the request of Councilor John Eagleton. Eagleton was at times the lone voice for fiscal restraint during the Kathy Taylor administration, calling for limiting budget growth to the rate of inflation. Because Eagleton's counsel was rejected in 2006, 2007, and 2008, the cuts were far more painful when the revenue shortfalls hit in late 2009.

Apparently ignorant of the fiscal warnings from Eagleton and colleagues Bill Martinson and Rick Westcott, Bartlett Jr endorsed Kathy Taylor for reelection until she opted to quit the race. By his own statement, Bartlett Jr didn't seem to get hip to the budget crisis until the day he was sworn in, when Finance Director Mike Kier came into his office "with a very concerned look on his face." Bartlett Jr's 2009 mayoral campaign didn't address fiscal issues at all; rather it was focused on his Democratic opponent's support for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

I applaud Bartlett Jr's initiative to apply the penny test to detect unused and unneeded vehicles and his efforts to sell off surplus capital equipment and real estate. It's good to see managed competition, an idea that emerged about 20 years ago from Indianapolis in the administration of Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, at work in Tulsa, but I seem to recall some of that began under Bill LaFortune. (In managed competition, when a city function is considered for privatization, city employees are able to bid against private companies and have an incentive to find savings.)

It's notable that the City Council gets no mention from Bartlett Jr in this exercise in self-backpatting. The Council spends weeks examining, amending, and ultimately approving the city's budget. Their effort to restore key services without raising fees was thwarted by Bartlett Jr's veto, according to then-Councilor Rick Westcott, in a November 24, 2010, UTW news story by Mike Easterling.

From Westcott's perspective, other factors have contributed to the falling out between the mayor and the council, particularly the list of fee increases Bartlett proposed in the spring to help restore the city services that had been cut. When the council shot down those increases and countered with budget amendments of its own that restored those services without raising any fees, it appeared to make the mayor angry, Westcott said.

"He vetoed our budget, specifically our amendments, and that's not the way a fiscal conservative should approach the budget," he said.

Westcott also maintains the day-to-day operations of the new administration leave a lot to be desired.

"He's missed several deadlines of several different issues," Westcott said. "It does not appear there is anyone on the staff paying attention to those things ... There have been several examples over the course of the year where he's missed deadlines. I find that very disappointing. That's basic stuff."

As I noted in the same story, Bartlett Jr was the first mayor in my recollection who had managed to alienate all nine city councilors. You might expect a budget-cutting mayor to face the ire of councilors supported by public employee unions, but he managed to tick off the most devout fiscal conservatives on the council as well. There are indications that his relationship with the new crop of councilors isn't much better.

Bartlett Jr's mishandling of police layoffs should have caught Reason's attention. A federal grant could have been used to avoid layoffs and the significant costs of processing the layoffs and recall -- possibly exceeding $1 million, not to mention the bad publicity for the city.

The next time Reason decides to lionize a local public official, I hope they'll do some independent research first. Maybe talk to other elected officials, talk radio hosts, city hall reporters, local bloggers. I'm sure the city officials of Bell, California, would have told Reason all sorts of good things about themselves, too.

MORE: Reason surely wouldn't approve of Vision2, the corporate welfare and pork barrel plan that Bartlett Jr spent months promoting as campaign co-chairman. Vision2 would have borrowed money today against revenues that wouldn't be collected for four years in order to fund specialized equipment for the benefit of a bankrupt airline and in order to accumulate a "deal-closing" fund that would be doled out to benefit politically favored companies.

Those of you who tune into BatesLine for political commentary likely won't care about this, but it's my blog, so I can indulge myself with notes about a topic of discussion around our lunch table today -- the topic being the history and origins of infant baptism (aka paedobaptism, household baptism, covenant baptism) as it is practiced in our church and why my wife and I disagree with it.

My wife and I grew up in churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. (Her childhood church was a rare congregation also affiliated with the American Baptist Convention.) In 1990, we started attending at a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America, the Bible-believing offshoot of the mainline Presbyterian Church. The church's strengths in missions, music, and adult Christian ed, and their offer (at that time) of seminary extension classes were all appealing to us, so we joined and got involved.

We came when the senior pastor of the time didn't place a great deal of emphasis on the doctrine; a few of the elders and deacons were not paedobaptists. A few years after we joined, all that changed under a new pastor from a more traditionally Presbyterian background, and those officials who dissented from paedobaptism were removed from their responsibilities (although many of them remained involved in the church in other ways). We love our church, but we have that one difference of opinion: βαπτίζω means "immerse" and only a follower of Jesus is a proper subject of baptism.

In my 22 years at this church, I've been confronted with all the arguments in favor of paedobaptism. The arguments have always seemed to me to have massive gaps and internal contradictions. For example, if 1 Corinthians 7:14 justifies baptizing the children of believers, it also justifies baptizing unbelieving spouses of Christians.

A resource I found especially helpful was a series of tapes on the doctrine of baptism by Greg Nichols, then an elder at Trinity Baptist Church in Montville, N. J. Trinity is a Calvinistic Baptist church, agreeing with Calvinistic Presbyterians on most topics other than infant baptism and church governance. Nichols led an adult Sunday School class through a 32-week series covering every imaginable aspect of baptism with a special focus on the arguments made by Reformed (Calvinist) paedobaptists. I still have the tapes, but I just recently discovered that the audio has been converted to MP3, and the entire series is online.

Click here for a detailed outline of "Infant Baptism: Is It Biblical?" by Greg Nichols. Here's another link with just the titles of each talk and a link to the audio.

More recently, Pastor Nichols has written a book on covenant theology, partly to refute the notion that rejecting paedobaptism means rejecting the unity of God's redemptive plan. (A sample of the book may be found here.)

RELATED: If you'd prefer a shorter, written treatment of this issue, see Fred Malone's personal account of his journey away from paedobaptism to disciple-only baptism, "A String of Pearls Unstrung." Malone's rethinking of the issue cost him his job as a Presbyterian minister. It began with his reading of Exodus 12, and wondering why, if children of believers are to be added to the covenant community by baptism, they should be excluded from the covenant meal, and then noticing the inconsistent hermeneutic applied by Reformed paedobaptists to baptism and communion. (Malone has also published a book on the subject: The Baptism of Disciples Alone: A Covenantal Argument for Credobaptism Versus Paedobaptism - Revised and Expanded.

And in the Winter 2012 issue of the Founders Journal, Robert R. Gonzales, Jr., observes that John 1:12-13 bolsters the case for baptizing only those who make a credible profession of faith in Christ.

MORE: At a much more basic level, here is a pamphlet, "The Truth about Baptism," by I. M. Haldeman, pastor of the First Baptist Church of New York City from 1884 to 1933. The pamphlet explains what baptism is, what it means, and why Christians are obligated to be baptized.

UPDATE: I'm informed that Greg Nichols's title at Trinity Baptist Church was "elder," and I have corrected the text above accordingly. My use of the term "associate pastor" was based on my understanding of his role -- a preacher and teacher, but not the principal preacher and teacher.

Tonight, December 14, 2012, at 6 p.m., the Barthelmes Conservatory will hold its semi-annual open concert at The Church at Midtown at 38th and Lewis. The conservatory's talented and hardworking students, mainly high school and middle school students, will perform short solo and ensemble pieces from the classical repertoire for violin, viola, cello, piano, and flute.


The conservatory's flagship program is its Music School. Children ages 7 - 13 are selected for musical aptitude, regardless of prior musical training, and enter into a rigorous program of private lessons, ensemble instruction, and classes in music theory, history, and literature, laying a foundation for a lifetime in music. You'll have the chance to hear the results of their efforts this evening.

thephoenix-logo-flag.pngAfter the concert, drive a few miles north to 6th and Peoria for a drink and a bite to eat at The Phoenix, Blake Ewing's newest venture.
It's a library-themed coffee house offering fresh baked bagels, coffee drinks, and a full bar, now open to the public. In keeping with the theme, a selection of books from Gardner's, lining the walls of the library room, are available for sale. The Phoenix offers an assortment of seating options, and the west window has a spectacular view of the downtown Tulsa skyline. The cafe's hours are 6:30 am to 2:00 am Monday through Saturday, and 6:30 am to midnight Sunday.

When Match Game '74 came out, I was sure I could remember the earlier Match Game with a theme song that sounded a bit like "Wim-Oh-Weh." (It was Bert Kaempfert's "Swingin' Safari.") Thanks to the magic of the internet, I've got confirmation of a dim early childhood memory. Here's the pilot episode of the original Match Game, from 1962, with host Gene Rayburn and celebrity team captains Peggy Cass and Peter Lind Hayes.

You're more likely to have seen this version of Match Game. This particular show featured celeb panelists Orson Bean, Brett Sommers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Mary Ann Mobley, Richard Dawson, and Betty White. The game goes to two tie-breaker rounds:

And then there's this clip, featuring a cameo by Orson Bean, standing by to pinch hit for Gary Burghoff.

A more serious post about city government is in the works, but I couldn't get it finished as quickly as I'd like, so you get this instead.

The Tulsa Christmas Parade is tonight, December 8, 2012, at 6 p.m. at the Tulsa Hills Shopping Center.


It's the culmination of a full day of activities:

Come early! Tulsa 9.12 will have Santa in his sleigh at Lowe's in Tulsa Hills Shopping Center for the kids from 11am-4pm! Bring your camera and take lots of pictures of the kiddos with Santa. NO Charge!

Tulsa 9.12 will also be collecting Coins, Cash & Coats for our annual fundraiser. Coins & Cash will be donated to the OK Nat'l Guard "Families in Need" program, supporting our soldier's families as they defend our freedoms. The coats will be given to Yale Cleaners for their "Coats for Kids" project, to be distributed through Catholic Charities.

Come early and shop, let the merchants know you support them for supporting the celebration of Christmas! We hope to see you there!

Some articles of interest in the alt-weeklies I brought along to read during take off and landing:

Orlando Weekly had an interesting review of From Dreamer to Dreamfinder: A Life and Lessons Learned in 40 Years Behind a Name Tag by Ron Schneider, an actor, writer, and director at many of Orlando's famous theme parks. Schneider was the original actor who played Dreamfinder and his dragon Figment at Kodak's Journey into Imagination Pavilion at Epcot Center. Columnist Seth Kubetsky extracts from the book "seven laws of live performance that ought to be tattooed inside the eyelids of those running our local attractions." This was my favorite:

Creating this "Miracle of the First Time" is a central discipline of any live performance. The only way this thing works is if you show up every night... ready to pretend you've never sung these songs and never heard these jokes.... The moment you decide it's more important to amuse yourself or another cast member, the guests will pick up on it.

Boredom with the material is a problem among performers and producers, and if they don't overcome it with a professional attitude, they cheat the audience who may have never experienced a popular classic: The choral director who says he'll scream if he has to put on another Messiah, the ballet director who wants to "update" and "improve" the setting and choreography of The Nutcracker, the stage actor who decides to break the fourth wall or break up his fellow performers, the church song leader who insists on modern, whiny settings for traditional hymn texts.

In case you wondered what I've been up to: I'm on my way back to Tulsa after a week at the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The conference brings together the military agencies that need training devices, the companies (big and small) that make them, and the suppliers that provide the new technology that the simulator manufacturers put into their products. The focus is on the U. S. Department of Defense, but the show draws military officials and companies from all over the world. The show combines a 500,000 square foot exhibit floor (bigger than the IPE Building at the Tulsa County Fairgrounds) with a week of presentations of technical papers, tutorials, and workshops.

The Tulsa area's simulation industry was well represented at the conference: FlightSafety, Safety Training Systems, and CymSTAR were all there.

Steven J. Smith and Brad Torgler of FlightSafety Simulation Systems in Broken Arrow were recognized for the best paper in the simulation category -- "Leveraging Technologies to Reverse Engineer a Helicopter for Simulator Development" -- and were one of six finalists for best paper out of 155 presented and more than 600 abstracts that were submitted. The paper described how they went about designing and building an accurate, high fidelity (Level D) simulator for a helicopter despite the lack of design information from the helicopter manufacturer.

Smith also presented "Sideslip Misconceptions in Helicopter Simulators" and a FlightSafety colleague, Andrew Morris, presented "High Fidelity Ballistics and Gunner Training as a Part of Integrated Aircrew Training Simulators." The last paper sounds a bit dry, but it described a very cool idea -- mounting a gunner training station on a motion base with a helicopter cockpit simulator. Morris described the challenges involved in simulating everything from the complex way a round of ammunition flies out of the side of a helicopter to the force the gunner feels on the gun as its pushed by the airstream along the side of the helicopter. The resulting simulator has three visual domes -- a big one for the pilot and copilot, two smaller domes for the gunner and flight engineer -- all mounted together on a 60" electric 6-DOF motion base. I'm happy to see Tulsa-area engineers recognized for technical innovation at a worldwide conference.

Washington journalists are fond of referring to the White House Correspondents' Dinner as "nerd prom" but the real nerd prom was the first Thursday in December in Orlando at the Peabody Hotel, where a couple of thousand simulation industry professionals gathered to recognize the outgoing I/ITSEC conference organizers (volunteers), the incoming leadership, the best papers of the year, and the winners of postgraduate scholarships in modeling and simulation.

The exhibit floor displayed the diversity of the simulation industry -- much broader than pilot training. Medical simulation is a growing part of the industry, and much of the military focus these days is on "dismounts" -- the soldier on foot.

Each conference features "Warfighter's Corner," where U. S. servicemen speak about how simulation has helped them do their jobs more safely and effectively. One of this year's speakers was USAF Capt. Abram "Sole" Burk, an A-10 pilot, who described how the A-10 simulators at his home base helped him and his men familiarize themselves before deployment with the airfields they'd be encountering overseas and allowed them to practice against simulated surface-to-air and air-to-air threats. The Air Force's worldwide fleet of A-10 simulators are operated and maintained by Broken Arrow-based CymSTAR Services, and improvements to the A-10 simulator are being developed at CymSTAR's Tulsa A-10 engineering facility.

The video playlist below will give you an overview of the conference, starting with the process of bringing the exhibit floor to life, followed by highlights of new technologies on display.

A couple of the highlights:

This video of Christie Digital exhibit shows off their 120 Hz projectors and FlightSafety's spectuacular building-by-building visual model of Manhattan I got to try a demo of their visual system that could display two eyepoints with one lens and one screen. Each participant had active glasses that showed one scene and blocked the other. A flip of the switch flipped the scene -- an interesting application of 3D technology.

Rockwell Collins put on a demonstration of "Live, Virtual, and Constructive" (LVC) training. In an LVC exercise, trainees in simulators (the virtual component), trainees in real aircraft, on real ships, or on the ground (the live component), and computer generated forces (friendly, hostile, or neutral) interact to produce a complex environment in which they can prepare themselves for complex real-world missions. For the demo, three simulators in the exhibit hall were "flying" with two real aircraft (Czech-built training jets) flying over Iowa. The real aircraft could see the simulated aircraft on their instruments; the sims could see the real aircraft and each other on their instruments and out-the-window displays.

Elsewhere on the floor: A company called Virtusphere showed off their namesake device, which looks like a giant hamster ball and allows someone wearing a virtual reality visor to walk and run in any direction through the virtual world without restraint. Here's a video of the device from G4TV:

What better way to break a week of blog silence than with a video of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu, the Genius of the Carpathians, cheating at volleyball. He's the short guy in the white shirt and shorts pulling down the net almost every time he tries and fails to hit the ball over.

Later in the video, he is serenaded by Imelda Marcos, visits Universal Studios, and is praised by Jimmy Carter.

What got me started on this was a friend mentioning Ceaucescu's moment of truth, giving what was to be his final speech in front of what was supposed to be another staged rally. About 1:20 into this video, everything starts to fall apart.

(A few days later, Ceaucescu and his wife were allegedly tried and executed. But within a week, my wife and I spotted him at the Eastland Mall food court. He was incognito in blue jeans and a plaid shirt, enjoying a snack with a taller lady in a lime-green pantsuit with a beehive hairdo and Virginia Gregg cats-eye glasses. Despite the agricultural attire, his hair and build were unmistakable. Perhaps there is something to the rumor that he lived out his days as an Inola hay farmer.)

Earlier, my friend sent a link to a video of Ceaucescu being greeted with parades and mass demonstrations in North Korea in 1971.

No, that was not a preview of next January's inaugural.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2012 is the previous archive.

January 2013 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Subscribe to feed Subscribe to this blog's feed:
[What is this?]