January 2013 Archives

UPDATE: Don't bother with the Sacra Pagina exhibit at ORU, especially if you have young children. The line to see the first exhibit case stretched halfway around the room. After waiting for over 30 minutes with two kids bored and tired of standing in line, we were finally up to the front of the line for he first case, when a group of people old enough to know better cut in front of us. When I politely pointed out where the line began, one of the group said, "Sir, there is no line." While it was true that no official was enforcing a line, and you could opt to elbow your way in or peer over someone's shoulders to see any of the exhibit cases arranged in a circle around the room, nearly everyone was proceeding counterclockwise around the room starting at that first exhibit case; and there was a long line waiting to see it. With two kids under five feet tall, peering over shoulders or squeezing our way in was not going to be an option. We gave up and went home.

oru_sacra_pagina_codexclimaci_w.jpgFor the next few days, through Saturday, February 2, 2013, Oral Roberts University (ORU) is hosting an exhibit of 50 rare items from The Green Collection, the world's largest private collection of Biblical manuscripts and artifacts.

The exhibit is called Sacra Pagina, Latin for "the sacred page." Admission is free. The exhibit is in the Mabee Center, 8023 S. Lewis Ave. in Tulsa, in the Conference Banquet Center at the South Lobby. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., through Saturday, February 2, 2013.

Some of the items on display:

  • A leaf from the Codex Climaci Rescriptus, which contains some of the earliest and most extensive copies of the New Testament in the dialect closest to Jesus' household language of Palestinian Aramaic. (Shown in the photo to the right. Photo courtesy of The Green Collection.)
  • A leaf from the Aitken Bible, the first-known English Bible to be printed in America and the only Bible ever to receive official Congressional approval.
  • A leaf from the first printing of the Gutenberg Bible.
  • Manuscripts from the 13th through the 15th centuries.

As you might have guessed, the Green in The Green Collection is the family that owns Hobby Lobby and which has led the revitalization of ORU. The Green Scholars Initiative is giving researchers at over 30 universities in the US and Europe (including ORU, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Oklahoma) access to ancient manuscripts for study. That research is to be conducted by teams led by a senior scholar working with and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.

A friend posted tonight on Facebook that it was embarrassing that U. S. Sen. Jim Inhofe voted against the confirmation of his former Senate colleague, John Kerry (D-Mass.), as Secretary of State. Comments in reply generally agreed with this sentiment, casting aspersions on Oklahoma and Oklahomans in general. The embarrassed friend stated further in the comments, "It is astounding to me that I don't know anyone who will admit to voting for him, but he keeps winning."

I've voted for Jim Inhofe at every opportunity since his last run for mayor. One commenter made a subtle point, referring to Inhofe: "Perhaps he recalls Winter Soldier. And Kerry throwing somebody else's medals over the White House fence. And referring to Bashar Assad as a 'reformer.'"

Here's an essay from 2004, when Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president, about John Kerry's decades of flirtation with corrupt and vicious left-wing dictators. The essay quotes then Sen. Zell Miller, a Democrat who spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention:

For more than twenty years, on every one of the great issues of freedom and security, John Kerry has been more wrong, more weak and more wobbly than any other national figure.

I don't always agree with Jim Inhofe. Some of his interventions in local politics have been particularly irksome to me, but I'm proud to vote for a senator who believes that a lifelong apologist for thugs and dictators should not represent America to the rest of the world.

Blog roundup 2013/01/28

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Notes hither and thither:

If you're a fan of beautiful cartoon art, you should make at least a weekly visit to Whirled of Kelly, which features the art work of Walt Kelly, most famous for the comic strip Pogo. Blogger Thomas Haller Buchanan has been running a series of Sunday strips from 1952, scanned in color from the newspaper. The sequence involves Albert telling a fractured fairy tale called Handle and Gristle. The January 2013 archive also includes scans of Story Book Records from 1946: The discs were illustrated by Walt Kelly, and he's the reader on the recordings.

Nice Deb's Sunday tradition is a hymn, and this week it's a metrical setting of Psalm 23: The King of Love My Shepherd Is.

Maggie's Notebook has a bizarre story: The State of Delaware is stripping its county sheriff's departments (all three of them) of the power to make arrests and enforce the law. This despite a constitutional provision that says that "the Sheriffs shall be conservators of the peace within the counties respectively in which they reside." Only one of the three sheriffs, from Sussex County, is objecting to the change.

Route 66 News reports on a new Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide, handy for finding comfortable, historic, and locally owned along Route 66. (I love Jack Rittenhouse's guidebook, but it's old enough to collect Social Security, and Michael Wallis's book is old enough to drink.)


Every January, supporters of expanded educational options for America's school children and their parents put on School Choice Week, events across America to call attention to and advocate for school choice. Nationally, there's a whistle-stop tour, beginning tomorrow in Los Angeles and ending eight days later in New York, with special events along the way in Albuquerque, Topeka, Kansas City, Chicago, Milwaukee, South Bend, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany.

The goal of this tour -- along with the record-breaking 3,000 events being independently planned for National School Choice Week 2013 -- is to demonstrate overwhelming support, and demand, for school choice...while shining a positive spotlight on the hundreds of organizations, thousands of schools, and millions of Americans working every day to increase access to great schools in our country.

The National School Choice Week Special -- a historic railcar -- will depart Los Angeles Union Station on January 25, 2013 and arrive in New York on February 2, 2013. Parents, students, community leaders, education organizations and elected officials of both parties will host 14 very special events along the tour's route.

The Special will link the modern-day fight for educational equality to important movements that have shaped the American way of life -- from suffrage to civil rights -- all of which used similar whistle-stop tours to generate overwhelming support for causes that changed our history for the better.

With bold strokes, our generation can -- and will -- make its mark on the tapestry of our national experience. Social change isn't just something we read about in history books. It's something we can make a reality, and in the process, secure for ourselves not only a place in history books yet unwritten, but secure for our country a brighter and more prosperous future where no child is denied the opportunity to attend the best schools possible.

The School Choice Week train won't pass through Oklahoma, but several local events are planned:

On Monday, January 28, 2013, at 8:30 a.m., Trinity School in Oklahoma City will host a celebration of school choice. Trinity is a non-denominational Christian school with Episcopalian roots which describes itself as "the 'I can' school where bright students who learn differently can succeed."

On Thursday, January 31, 2013, at 4:00 p.m., Sunnybrook Christian School in Stillwater will hold a balloon launch for school choice.

On Friday, February 1, 2013, at 11 a.m., Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy is holding a virtual rally for school choice. To participate, download, print, and fill out a placard, completing the sentence, "I support school choice because...," take a photo with the placard, and upload it to the OVCA Facebook page.

If you'd like to organize a School Choice Week event, you can find out how to do it here. You can follow School Choice Week events on Twitter through the #scw hashtag.

MORE: To learn more about the progress of school choice in Oklahoma, visit the Choice Remarks blog and the website for OCPA's Center for Educational Freedom.

RELATED: A story from the Religious News Service notes that parents from a wide variety of faiths have found virtual charter schools to be a good fit, providing a safe learning environment, time to include their own faith and values in the school day, and flexibility to incorporate a wide variety of extracurricular activities. The story also mentions that virtual charters can meet the needs of students who struggle in the traditional classroom environment and students who want to devote significant time to pursuits like the arts, music, and athletics.

There's a strong rumor circulating (UPDATE: It's official.) that former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor will be running this year to retake her former position as queen of the Borg Cube.

You'll recall that official election records in Florida and Oklahoma showed that Kathy Taylor cast a ballot in both states (in Florida by absentee ballot, in person in Oklahoma) in the contentious November 7, 2000, general election. Taylor and her husband, Bill Lobeck, were also involved in a legal dispute resulting from their claim of a homestead exemption both in Tulsa and in Broward County, Florida. Lobeck paid taxes and penalties during the 2006 mayoral campaign, then filed a suit after the election to recover what he had paid. (Taylor and Lobeck got a mention in a 2008 Miami Herald article headlined "Homestead Cheats" and in a 2010 South Florida Business Journal article on "property tax fraud.")

(Broward County, Florida, records indicate Lobeck dropped his suit against Broward County in April 2009, and Taylor and Lobeck sold their Fort Lauderdale waterfront home in March of 2012 for $2,425,000.00. Oddly, in the Trustee's Affidavit connected with the sale, Lobeck and Taylor each listed as "homestead address" 1132 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa, the site of a 12,574 sq. ft. commercial building constructed in 1938, which is commercially zoned and which does not have a homestead exemption, according to Tulsa County Assessor records.)

You remember the $7.1 million confiscated from Tulsa property taxpayers to pay Bank of Oklahoma to cover the default of Great Plains Airlines? Kathy Taylor signed off on the settlement that put Tulsa taxpayers on the hook (so did Dewey Bartlett Jr). Thankfully, this illegal settlement was reversed by the Oklahoma State Supreme Court.

As mayor, Kathy Taylor presided over a rapid increase in city spending during the first part of her term, when sales tax revenues had recovered after the recession at the beginning of the decade, despite calls from Councilor John Eagleton and others to limit spending growth to the product of inflation and population growth. The Taylor increase in spending made the cuts of 2009 all the more painful. Taylor didn't confront the looming 2009-2010 budget crisis (Bartlett Jr, who endorsed her for re-election, claims to have been unaware of the problem until the day he was sworn in), went on CNN to denounce city councilors concerned about strings attached to federal funds, and rather than listen to Cassandras like Councilor Bill Martinson, she appears to have orchestrated his defeat, with massive last-minute donations to his opponent coming from out-of-state businessmen with connections to Taylor's husband, Bill Lobeck.

Other highlights of Taylor's term as mayor: Joining Michael Bloomberg's mayoral gun-grabbing coalition and signing Tulsa up to global warming globaloney, while keeping the council in the dark about the hiring of a new police chief, the ill-considered and more-expensive-than-planned move of City Hall to the One Technology Center building, the massive hike in the cost of building the BOK Center, the misuse of the assessment district concept to pay for a new downtown minor league baseball park (resulting in a lawsuit).

We mustn't overlook the shabby treatment that the Tulsa Development Authority (TDA) inflicted on developers Will Wilkins and Cecilia Wilkins, who were squeezed out of the chance to develop a parcel of Brady District land when it wound up across the street from site of the new ballpark (resulting in another lawsuit, which alleges that Taylor was right in the middle of the deal; the lawsuit was settled in June 2012, just days before a jury trial was set to begin).

No, I don't want another term for Dewey Bartlett Jr, but Kathy Taylor is just the other side of the same coin.

MORE: In 2009, Irritated Tulsa ranked Kathy Taylor's top 10 ungreatest moments.

A bit of levity seems in order. From the final gala performance of Beyond the Fringe here are the languid Peter Cook and the energetic Dudley Moore performing their classic sketch, "One Leg Too Few."

UPDATE: FOUND. At 10:20 a.m., Wednesday, January 23, 2013, TPD issued a release saying that Marilyn Chapel had been located by a family member late Tuesday, and that she was unharmed. Kudos to TPD for putting the info about her safe recovery on the same URL that was used to announce her disappearance.

From a news release from the Tulsa Police Department at 11:18 a.m., Tuesday, January 22, 2013: Marilyn Chapel, a 68-year-old white female, left her residence at the Woodland Terrace Senior Living Center at 9524 E. 71st St. on Friday, January 18, 2013, around 10:30 a.m. She has not been seen or heard from since. She was last seen wearing a long black coat, blue jeans, black shoes and a black purse. She is taking medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol.


The TPD news release doesn't say what to do if you have information about Marilyn Chapel's whereabouts, but it lists as a point of contact Corporal Joe Campbell, 918-596-9183.

RELATED: Last week, I made several suggestions for how local law enforcement could use the web more effectively to find missing persons and to let the public know when the situation has been resolved. TPD has a current news articles page, but nothing seems to be posted on it.

UPDATE: TPD now has a note about Marilyn Chapel posted on the current news page.

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the U. S. Supreme Court decision that overturned abortion laws in nearly every state, and in memory of the 55 million unborn children killed since that time by legal abortion in America (a holocaust that rivals Communist Russia and Communist China in scope and surpasses Nazi Germany by a factor of 10), the fourth annual Tulsa March for Life will begin at 8th and Boulder downtown tonight, Tuesday, January 22, 2013, at 7:00 pm. The march will proceed to Centennial Green at 6th and Boston, for a rally at which pro-life activist Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will be the keynote speaker.


AUL has transcripts and audio of the oral arguments in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.

Americans United for Life reflects on 40 years after Roe, and AUL's focus on laying the legal groundwork to protect the sanctity of human life whenever and wherever the political will exists to do so. AUL has ranked Oklahoma as 2nd in the list of states most protective of unborn children, trailing only Louisiana.

Last year, columnist Tim Carney posted a list of quotes by left-of-center legal scholars attacking Roe and Doe as bad decisions by the Supreme Court.

In a 2012 op-ed in the Baltimore Sun, Diana Schaub points to Baltimore's astronomical abortion rate (in 2005, 86.2 abortions per 1,000 women) as a cause of the city's decline:

It is this matter of ethos that is crucial, according to Montesquieu. He argues that "the chief cause [of depopulation] is to be found in a change of customs." Not surprisingly, the customs he focuses on are those most entwined with human procreation and childrearing -- above all, the status of the institution of marriage (although he doesn't neglect another closely related matter: the spirit of commerce and industry). In his examination of factors that can undermine the fruitfulness and health of populations, he singles out "the cruel habit the women [of some locales] have of aborting themselves, so that their pregnancy will not make them disagreeable to their men."

The decline of marriage, particularly among African-Americans, is all too familiar. Not as well-known is that Maryland has a very high abortion rate (third highest among the states in 2005, the year that the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene stopped collecting abortion statistics). The breakdown by jurisdiction reveals that Baltimore City is driving those deadly numbers, and also that the abortion rate among African-American women is at least triple the white rate.

Even for those in favor of legal abortion, the situation should be dismaying. And it certainly represents what Montesquieu termed "a change of customs." For comparison: In 1970, Baltimore City abortion rates for single white and black women stood at 7.43 and 10 respectively (the abortion rate is the number of abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44), with the married women's rates half that. By 2005, the Baltimore rate was 86.2. The National Abortion Rights Action League, which cites that figure, did not provide the African-American rate, but it would be substantially higher.

Yesterday was Gun Appreciation Day, with huge rallies at state capitols across the nation to remind officials that millions of Americans are determined to protect their right to keep and bear arms, a right with roots in the English Common Law long before the passage of the 2nd Amendment that enshrines it. (Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ.)

Did you know that Martin Luther King, Jr., applied for a concealed carry permit? Did you know that white officials in Alabama abused their discretion to deny him that permit? King and his team owned "an arsenal" of weapons to protect him against the forces that sought to harm him.

An interesting related quote from King about tyrants and oppressors:

Martin Luther King Jr. once said of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred World War II pastor, "if your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer."

Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, theologian, and pacifist, joined a conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler, but was captured and executed when the plot failed.

WikiQuote has a long list of quotations from America's Founding Fathers and others regarding the right to keep and bear arms. George Mason, in 1788, in Virginia's debate on ratifying the Constitution of the United States:

Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.

Patrick Henry, during the same debates, arguing against adopting the Constitution in the absence of a bill of rights:

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined....

Happy will you be if you miss the fate of those nations, who, omitting to resist their oppressors, or negligently suffering their liberty to be wrested from them, have groaned under intolerable despotism! Most of the human race are now in this deplorable condition; and those nations who have gone in search of grandeur, power, and splendor, have also fallen a sacrifice, and been the victims of their own folly. While they acquired those visionary blessings, they lost their freedom. My great objection to this government is, that it does not leave us the means of defending our rights, or of waging war against tyrants. It is urged by some gentlemen, that this new plan will bring us an acquisition of strength--an army, and the militia of the states. This is an idea extremely ridiculous: gentlemen cannot be earnest. This acquisition will trample on our fallen liberty. Let my beloved Americans guard against that fatal lethargy that has pervaded the universe. Have we the means of resisting disciplined armies, when our only defence, the militia, is put into the hands of Congress?

Noah Webster, arguing in support of the Constitution in the pamphlet An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (1787):

But what is tyranny? Or how can a free people be deprived of their liberties? Tyranny is the exercise of some power over a man, which is not warranted by law, or necessary for the public safety. A people can never be deprived of their liberties, whlie they retain in their own hands a power superior to any other power in the state....

Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force at the command of Congress can execute no laws but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive. In spite of all the nominal powers vested in Congress by the constitution. were the system once adopted in its fullest latitude, still the actual exercise of them would be frequently interrupted by popular jealousy. I am bold to say that ten just and constitutional measures would be resisted, where one unjust or oppressive law would be enforced. The powers vested in Congress are little more than nominal; nay real power cannot be vested in them nor in any body but in the people. The source of power is in the people of this country and cannot for ages, and probably never will, be removed.

Meanwhile, at the New York State Legislature, Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin was asked not to share a list of gun control measures floated by Democrats in the legislature as "it really has the capacity to dampen the enthusiasm to compromise." (Video at the link.) The list included a statewide database for all guns, a seemingly reasonable measure that has been used in other countries to lay the groundwork for later confiscation.

MORE: Susanna Gratia Hupp, a survivor of the Luby's massacre, explains why the number of bullets in a clip doesn't matter, and how the rules that discourage keeping a gun on your person at all times cost her parents their lives.

STILL MORE: Newly elected Oklahoma State Sen. Nathan Dahm has authored three bills to protect the rights of Oklahomans to keep and bear arms. One bill would treat our vehicles as an extension of our homes, allowing a firearm to be in the car without the need of a special license to carry.

Maggie's Notebook quotes extensively a column by Larry Elder, a Chicago native. It's not the gun culture that results in hundreds of murders every year in places like Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia; it's the fatherless culture.

January at MIT is neither fall semester nor spring semester. It's the Independent Activities Period (IAP). Students can choose to stay back in their hometown, travel, or come back to campus, and once on campus there are hundreds of activities to choose from. Nearly every department offers for-credit courses in special topics or accelerated versions of core courses. Then there are the unofficial activities: You can change-ring the bells in the tower of the Old North Church in Boston. You can learn Israeli folk dancing and the Argentine tango. You can learn table manners, knitting, trash can drumming, and how to build your own guitar delay pedal. You can play quidditch in the snow. Bell Helicopter is giving a half-day Introduction to Rotorcraft. A couple of Ph.D. candidates are offering a week-long Introduction to Modeling and Simulation.

One of the evergreen MIT IAP activities is a lecture by Computer Science professor Patrick Henry Winston on the heuristics of giving a lecture so that you succeed in communicating your ideas to your audience. I heard the hour-long talk when back when I was an undergraduate, 29 or 30 years ago. It's being offered once again this year, and a few years ago, the talk was captured on video:

MORE: The edX consortium -- MIT, Harvard, and University of California at Berkeley -- offers free online courses in which you can earn a certificate of completion. MIT's offerings include Introduction to Solid State Chemistry (the chemistry course typically taken by majors in electrical engineering and computer science), Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, and Circuits and Electronics. The work load is real -- they estimate, for example, 12 hours per week time commitment for Circuits and Electronics -- and you progress through the material at a set pace.

STILL MORE: One IAP class is called "Designing Your Life." You can take the Designing Your Life course as self-paced study through MIT Open Courseware. Here's the synopsis and a "trailer" for the course:

  1. Promises and consequences, areas of life: We learn how to develop your personal integrity by making and keeping weekly promises to yourself.
  2. Theories: We identify theories you have about the way the world works, and discuss how they impact what you see as possible and impossible. We learn how to author new theories that better align with our dreams.
  3. Theories, purges, and thought logs: We hunt for theories by recording our thoughts throughout the day. We also learn how to rid, or purge, the mind of destructive thoughts that keep us from honoring our promises to ourselves.
  4. Excuses: Every time your life does not resemble your dream life, there is likely an excuse that takes the responsibility for being great off your shoulders. We learn how to identify and debunk the excuses that are holding us back.
  5. Parent traits: Many of our personal traits are formed in reaction to our parents. In this lecture we study this concept more deeply, and identify how our parents' traits live within us.
  6. Haunting incidents: Incidents from our past that haunt us contain valuable clues to lessons we need to learn. In this lecture we learn how to find haunting incidents in our lives.
  7. Cleaning up haunting incidents: We learn how to clean up and resolve hauntings so they do not haunt us anymore, and so we can feel proud and confident in our skin.
  8. Connecting haunting incidents, traits, and theories: We explain how hauntings arise from our traits and theories, and as such can provide valuable insights on what we need to evolve to reach our goals.

The Tulsa Youth Opera is marking its 15th season with two free performances of Brundibar, an opera by Czech composer Hans Krasa.

The first performance will be Sunday, January 13, 2013, at 2:00 pm at the University of Tulsa's Performing Arts Center (TUPAC), on the west side of Harvard Ave. at about 6th Street. The performance will be accompanied by orchestra, including students from the Barthlemes Conservatory.

The second performance will be Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 2:00 pm at the Sherwin Miller Museum of Jewish Art, on 71st Street between Utica and Lewis.

Brundibar, a fable about children rising up against an evil oppressor, was written in 1938, but was not performed until 1943, after its composer had been imprisoned at Terezin (Theresienstadt) concentration camp. A performance of the opera by Terezin prisoners was filmed for a Nazi propaganda film, after which the cast and author were taken to Auschwitz, where most were exterminated.

REVIEW UPDATE: Notwithstanding the tragic circumstances of its first performances, on its own terms, the opera has a happy ending, as the children and animals of the village drive away the organ grinder Brundibar, who had tried to prevent a brother and sister from performing in the village square to get money to buy milk to help their sick mother. The little opera is preceded by some poetry and folk songs read and sung by Tulsa Youth Opera singers. The entire program lasts about an hour.

Earlier tonight (January 10, 2013), a friend posted a photo of a boy on Facebook, surrounded by a yellow and black striped border made to look like police crime scene tape, and overlaid with the following text (phone numbers redacted):

Have you seen me? My name is Micheal Kanada I am from Okmulgee. I was wearing a Black polo shirt, khaki pants & black backpack yesterday & was last seen around OSU-IT Campus about 6PM. If you saw him or might know where he is Please, Please call 918-xxx-xxxx, 918-xxx-xxxx, or 918-xxx-xxxx... Share this to spread the word!


The first phone number appears to be for the Okmulgee Police Department; the other two may be private numbers.

What set off alarm bells for me was the word "yesterday" with no mention of a specific date. It's the stuff of urban legends. A real crisis situation exists, an email is sent with vague or missing information about dates and places and no place to find up to date info, and people, moved by the crisis, forward it on without verifying whether the situation is true and whether it has been resolved.

(For example, a nine-year-old cancer patient named Craig Shergold wanted to set the Guinness record for greeting cards received. He did -- 16 million. That was back in 1989, but the appeal kept circulating and the cards kept coming, climbing to 350 million. Shergold was successfully treated with surgery in the US in 1991 and is now 33 years old. Read this article on Snopes to see how the ongoing circulation of this appeal and similar ones can cause real problems for the people we hope to help.)

The correct response to an appeal for help lacking key details is to do a web search for more information. Is it a hoax? Is it outdated? Or is it a current crisis? But that strategy only works if there is reliable, updated information that is tagged to be easily found by a search engine's web crawlers. That's an area where law enforcement and others involved in a crisis could do a far better job with some smart use of their existing web capability.

My attempt to find out when "Micheal Kanada" went missing was thwarted by the misspelling on the photo. Only copies of the same appeal turned up. But the fact that Google auto-suggested Okmulgee as I typed his name indicates that I wasn't the only one looking for information.

I thought to try the standard spelling for Michael and found an undated story by the Henryettan about the boys' recovery:

Missing boys found in Henryetta

Two Okmulgee teenagers reported missing earlier this week were found Wednesday morning in Henryetta, cold and tired.

The pair, Michael Austin Kanada, 13, and Dayleimion Bryan Sorrell, 14, were found near Frisco and Bollinger around 8 a.m.

A phone call alerted Henryetta police that two youths wrapped up in sheets and blankets matching their description were seen along the roadway. When police arrived, they detained the youngsters until Okmulgee County sheriff department personnel could arrive.

Both boys were said to be health despite going missing for over a day. They told authorities they walked from Okmulgee to Henryetta.

Saying "Wednesday morning" isn't even sufficient for print, much less the web. Yes, on the printed page there's a date at the top, but an article could be cut from the paper, scanned, and circulated. There's no date on the web version of the story, either. So who can tell when all this occurred.

This is why I always include the full date when I post about upcoming events, even though it must often seem superfluous to readers. Otherwise someone is going to reach that archived page via a search engine and think that "tonight" (which was really back in June 2007) is tonight in January 2013. There's also a date stamp on each blog entry.

I also found a tweet on October 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm from the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office about the search for two boys who had gone missing:

The Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office is attempting to locate Michael Austin Kanada and Dayleimion Bryan Sorrell...

The tweet included a link to a Facebook post which has since been deleted.

I went directly to the Okmulgee County Sheriff Office's Twitter account (@OkmulgeeSO), scrolled back a ways to October, and found this tweet from October 10 at 8:08 a.m.:

The two Runaway boys have been located and are in custody at this time. Let everyone know they are okay. Thank...

That tweet led to a slightly more complete Facebook post:

The two Runaway boys have been located and are in custody at this time. Let everyone know they are okay. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. God Bless

Do you see the problem? The tweet and Facebook post that announces the boys' disappearance included their names, but the tweet and Facebook post announcing their recovery did not mention the boys' names. Anyone searching for information will read an official source telling them about the disappearance, but they won't find the info that says they were found and are safe.

I wonder how many phone calls the three phone numbers have had since Michael was found. I imagine he is seen at school, around his neighborhood, and around town all the time, and at least once in the while, I expect he is spotted by someone who just saw this photo posted by a friend on Facebook.

What could have been done better? What should be done next time?

Here are a few recommendations for law enforcement agencies and other interested parties to get the most out of the web:

1. If local law enforcement is looking for someone, whether a missing child, a nursing home resident gone astray, or a fugitive criminal, they should post an entry on the blog on their official website. This is going to be the official location for complete information on the subject of the search and its status, including any clues or details being released to the public. Let's call this the authoritative blog entry. It's crucial that there should be a permanent, unique web address that points to the official info in the case.

2. The title of the authoritative blog entry should include the names of the persons being sought.

3. The tags of the authoritative blog entry should include the full name of each subject, nicknames, and any misspellings that may be circulating. The entry should also be tagged with the name of the city and state and similar specific information.

4. The authoritative blog entry body should include the complete date (month, day, and year) of key events and full address information (block, street, city and state) of key places. An alert like the photo of "Micheal Kanada" may circulate for years and may circle the globe as it's passed around via email and social media.

In this case at least, a person could deduce location from the phone number and the relative uniqueness of the name Okmulgee. Imagine an appeal for a missing person from Miami or Springfield (no state) with seven digit phone numbers (no area code).

5. Any updates about the search should go in that authoritative blog entry, with the most recent status and the date and time of that status at the top of the entry, highlighted to catch the reader's attention. For example: "UPDATE October 10, 2012, 8:18 a.m.: Michael Austin Kanada and Dayleimion Bryan Sorrell have been found in Henryetta. They are fine and are in care of the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Department. Original post follows."

6. When there's a major development in the case, post a new blog entry to catch the attention of someone visiting the department's blog, following the above rules about titles, tags, specific dates, and places, but be sure to include a link back to the authoritative blog entry. At the same time, edit the authoritative blog entry to include a summary of the new development. (See 5 above.)

7. Add an easy-to-hear, easy-to-remember, and easy-to-type URL that will redirect to the authoritative blog entry. (It's called a "301 redirect," and any webmaster worth his salt will know how to set one up.) You want something that could be repeated over the phone, over the radio, on TV, and then easily typed by someone into a smartphone. Add additional redirect URLs with likely misspellings and point them to the same page.

8. When you send a press release to the media about the case, urge them to link to the authoritative blog entry and print or read on-air the easy-to-type URL.

9. Any Facebook statuses or Twitter tweets about the topic should link back to the authoritative blog entry. Encourage your fans and followers to do the same.

You can follow the same steps even if you aren't a law enforcement official. While the information will carry more weight if it's on an official website, you can create your own authoritative blog entry if the local LEOs won't or don't know how to do it. If you don't already have a blog, you can create one for free in a few minutes at www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com.

And if you're making a heart-tugging photo to circulate on social media, include specific dates, specific places, and that easy-to-type URL to connect to the authoritative blog entry, so the curious can confirm that the case is still open before forwarding it to their friends.

When a child goes missing, search engine optimization and web server configuration are not going to be at the top of your mind. But a few simple steps can help the World Wide Web help you accomplish your search, can keep everyone informed as the search reaches the hoped-for happy conclusion, and can reduce unnecessary anxiety and concerned queries long after happily every after.

The past week or two, I've seen a new wave of spam from email accounts on Yahoo. They tend to have blank subject lines and only a link and possibly a snippet of text in the body of the message.

Yahoo! has a couple of helpful articles on accounts sending spam. Changing your password is an important step, but it may not be sufficient to fix the problem, so you should look at every Yahoo account setting they tell you to examine. Among other things, you need to check any linked accounts to make sure all of them belong to you, check the alternate address (how Yahoo! contacts you, e.g. for sending a password reset) to be sure it belongs to you, make sure no one has hijacked your Yahoo vacation response, and review contacts and linked apps for suspicious entries.

What to do if your account is sending spam
What to do if your account continues to send spam

It's important to know whether someone has been sending messages directly from your account, rather than impersonating your account. (Different problems require different fixes.) You can look at your recent login history to find out the IP addresses from which someone connected to your account, when the login occurred, and the approximate location corresponding to each IP address. If someone logged into your account from Elbonia when you know you were asleep in bed, you know your account has been compromised.

(Note to Yahoo: You need to make Recent Login History easier to find. It's mentioned on this page, but the instructions for navigating to the Recent Login History page are incorrect.)

Have you had problems with your email account sending mail without your knowledge? How did you fix the problem? Let us know in the comments below.

MORE: Here's a technical explanation of the Yahoo spam hack. It appears that Yahoo has yet to plug the hole. The articles offer this advice:

Users with a Yahoo account should make a point not to click on any suspicious links they receive by email or from anywhere else. In fact, that goes for all users; don't click on random links, even if you get them from a friend. If you think your account was compromised, also change your password on any related accounts, especially if you use the same one elsewhere.

It's easy for Christians to get tangled up in everyday life or politics and to lose sight (or never gain sight) of what God is doing around the world to redeem a people for Himself "from every tribe, tongue, and nation," much less what we could be doing to participate in His redemptive work.

At 200 sites across the nation this winter and spring, including nine sites in Oklahoma you have a golden opportunity to correct that deficiency. It's a 15-week collegiate-level course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement. Weekly classes begin this week in the Tulsa area, and you can sample the first night of the course for free. The course is offered by the U. S. Center for World Mission, an organization focused on mobilizing effective action to reach those cultures which are yet unreached with the Gospel.

The course begins with Biblical perspective, and God's purposes in reaching every nation as revealed from Genesis to Revelation. Historical perspective covers the spread of Christianity in the early centuries and the tremendous push over the last two centuries to fulfill the Great Commission. The final six sessions deal with culture and strategy for reaching every ethnos -- every distinct culture -- in our time with the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.

As this preview video hints, the Perspectives course will change the way you think about world missions and can turn your life upside down.

The course can be taken for college credit through Trinity International University, for a certificate (you complete weekly homework and a semester project and receive course feedback from an instructor), or, if you don't have time for all the work, the key readings level allows you to see the lectures but do less reading and homework. Course cost is $500 for college credit, $275 for certificate or key readings levels.

There is a Perspectives course in the Tulsa area for nearly every night of the week:

Mondays: Garnett Church of Christ, begins January 7, 2013 (tonight!)
Tuesdays: Arrow Heights Baptist Church, Broken Arrow, begins January 8, 2013
Wednesdays: Baptist Collegiate Ministries Building, University of Tulsa, begins January 9, 2013
Thursdays: Tulsa Bible Church, begins January 10, 2013.

The course will also be offered starting next week in Bartlesville, Norman, Edmond, Stillwater, and Yukon.

Color me surprised and impressed.

Newly sworn-in Oklahoma 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine was one of 12 Republicans who did not vote to re-elect incumbent Speaker of the House John Boehner. (I exclude Boehner from that number, as the sitting speaker customarily does not vote.) Bridenstine and two other congressmen, Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Ted Yoho of Florida voted for Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Paul Broun of Georgia and Louie Gohmert of Texas voted for former Congressman Allen West. (The Speaker does not have to be a member of the House.) Tim Huelskamp of Kansas voted for Jim Jordan of Ohio. Justin Amash of Michigan voted for Raul Labrador of Idaho. Thomas Massie of Kentucky voted for Amash. Walter Jones of North Carolina voted for David Walker. Steve Stockman of Texas answered "present." Boehner, Labrador, and Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina did not vote.

Bridenstine was the only dissenter from the Oklahoma delegation. Markwayne Mullin, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, and James Lankford all voted for Boehner.

Boehner had a very slim majority of 220. Had four more Republicans abstained or not voted for Boehner, he would not have had the majority required for election. (I'm assuming Boehner would have cast the winning vote for himself had it been necessary.)

On the Democratic side of the aisle, 192 members voted for former speaker Nancy Pelosi, 5 voted for other candidates (Jim Cooper, John Lewis, John Dingell, Colin Powell), and 3 did not vote.

The consensus among conservative commentators and activists was that Boehner was in over his head in negotiating with President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and needed to be replaced. There were reports that sufficient numbers of Republican House members were prepared to vote to deprive him of another term as speaker. Nevertheless, Boehner successfully whipped the vote, twisting arms according to dissenter Tim Huelskamp:

However, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) told Human Events after the vote that "arm twisting" on Boehner's behalf was "very intense" with threats that Republicans would lose plum committee assignments or campaign donations from the National Republican Congressional Committee if they opposed the speaker's reelection.

Huelskamp is one of four Republican lawmakers who lost key committee assignments recently for reportedly voting against issues that were important to Boehner.

"The intimidation and pressure was intense, there are a lot of people that wanted to vote no and today, the last call, the last twisting of arms, convinced them not to do that," Huelskamp said.

"And certainly my vote was one of no confidence. I want conservative leadership, and that has not been provided by the speaker," Huelskamp said.

Asked specifically who was intimidated to cast their votes for Boehner, Huelskamp declined to name names.

Huelskamp did add that one freshman lawmaker was called prior to the vote and told their committee seat was "probably gone if you vote your conscience."

Bridenstine's vote suggests that his campaign rhetoric was not mere posturing. While it may be costly in the short run -- watch to see if he loses his seat on the House Armed Services Committee -- it may also establish him as a rallying point for dissenters when Boehner stumbles again in negotiations over the debt ceiling and sequestration. The stand of 12 dissenters now may encourage more to join them.

Patti Page, RIP

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Born Clara Ann Fowler in Claremore, Oklahoma, a graduate of Tulsa's Daniel Webster High School, she took her stage name from the Page Dairy in Tulsa, the sponsor of the radio show on which she was featured. In a 2010 interview with the Claremore Daily Progress, Patti Page explained how she came by the singing job and the name:

"We were living in west Tulsa," she recalled, "and about the time I completed the ninth grade, Mother called us girls together and told us we each needed to find jobs. The family needed the money. I decided I would go to Page Milk Company to get an application for what any job was available. They had a daily 15-minute program on Radio Station KTUL, but I wasn't even thinking about that.

"While I was waiting in the office the radio show's program director saw me. He had heard me sing at a school program and thought I was there for a tryout. After explaining I was only getting an application, he said to go ahead and fill out the application and wait until he returned. He was going to round up a couple of musicians and arrange a quick taping.

"The song I sang was 'Frankie and Johnnie'. A few days later the director called my mother and asked her if I could come to work as the singer on the radio show.

"You realize I wasn't the first 'Patti Page'. In fact, there were two before I arrived. The Page Company used the name for their program. The girl on the show at the time was getting ready to leave. That allowed me to step in. I did it the next three years while I attended high school at Daniel Webster and then one more year.

"When I left my sister Peggy replaced me and the name was changed to Peggy Page. The company officials said it was all right with them if I continued as Patti Page. Later in New York I went to court and made it my legal name."

Page's active singing career spanned seven decades. In April 2010, she performed a concert at the Robson Performing Arts Center in Claremore. A September 2012 message to fans mentioned the medical challenges that forced her to take a break from performing.

Throughout my life I never really gave much thought to my senior years. I was always able to hop on a plane, go out on stage and make music with the band. At this point I am no longer able to do that. My travels now are quite limited to North San Diego County, CA where I have called home for the past four decades. Although I feel I still have the voice God gave me, physical impairments are preventing me from using that voice as I had for so many years. It is only He who knows what the future holds.

Page died New Year's Day at the age of 85.

Here she is in 1950, singing one of her biggest hits, "The Tennessee Waltz."

Here's my favorite Patti Page tune, "Old Cape Cod." It brings back memories of a vacation in Yarmouth and leisurely drives along the gentle turns and hills of Old Highway 6. It was one of her favorites too:

"I believe 'Old Cape Cod' may be my most favorite," she replied, "The words are so beautiful and they describe the location perfectly. Of course 'Tennessee Waltz' is also at the top of the list. My father loved it and cried each time he heard me sing the song. Because of him it is my sentimental favorite. Then, I also like all the old standards."

LINKS: Patti Page's official website.

Have seen only one press release so far from our congressmen and senators on the "compromise" they approved yesterday. Both Oklahoma senators and four out of five congressmen voted in favor of the Senate version of the bill, which raises income taxes on individuals and small businesses, does not extend the payroll tax cut, and does not cut spending, instead adding $4 trillion more to our national debt. Only one Oklahoma congressman, James Lankford, voted with the majority of House Republicans against the bill; Sullivan, Boren, Lucas, and Cole voted in favor. This appears to be the final roll call for Sullivan and Boren.

Here's the statement from Tom Coburn's office:

While this bill is far from perfect, it does prevent massive tax increases while making tax cuts permanent for 99 percent of Americans. Congress and the president, however, have a lot of work to do to address our long-tern spending problem. Our debt - which is 120 percent of our economy if you count federal, state and local debt - is still the greatest threat to our national security. We will never address that threat until Congress and the president acknowledge that the only way to save entitlement programs is to change them.

MORE: Jim Inhofe defended the bill on KRMG, describing it as a choice between the compromise with its flaws and the cost of doing nothing.

Has anyone heard any comment from the two incoming Oklahoma congressmen, Jim Bridenstine and Markwayne Mullin?

UPDATE 2013/01/03: Jim Inhofe tells Human Events that he's now Mitch McConnell's biggest fan:

"Why any conservative could not look at this bill and rejoice is beyond me," the senator told Human Events--in fact, phoning us early Thursday morning from a Midas muffler shop in Tulsa where he was having work done on his car. Inhofe had just finished with more than a dozen interviews on Sooner State talk radio on the bill and, as he told us, "one of our popular talk show hosts here in Tulsa, Pat Campbell, had been a vigorous opponent of the measure but I think I turned him around."

"When 99 percent of the taxpayers get a very large reduction in their taxes, you can't say it's not a conservative victory," he explained. "I think that many were upset because the bill didn't have spending cuts. Well, this was a tax bill and cutting spending is the next step, along with dealing with sequestration, so we don't disarm America. We'll deal with that shortly."

Inhofe cited the high income threshold on the capital gains rate, the limitations on the imposition of the death tax, and the fix for the Alternative Minimum Tax as far better than the alternative with the expiration of the George W. Bush era tax cuts.

For his part, Pat Campbell, host of the morning show on 1170 KFAQ, wrote on Facebook about Inhofe's comments: "Now this takes balls!" Campbell also wrote, "I still think this deal is a disaster!"

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