Okies getting poorer

November 30th, 2005

Oklahoma’s legislative efforts to attract good paying jobs by increasing business tax incentives hasn’t kicked in yet according to the most recently published U.S. Census data on income and poverty.

Just in case you hear about how family income has increased under this era of tax cuts and business exemptions, which it has:

Median Family Income

US     $43,318     $41,990
OK     $35,634     $33,410

Remember that these figures are not personal median income. They reflect all income within a household. And the number of people living under one roof can be expected to increase under times of escalating poverty; like today.

Poverty Rate

US     12.5%     11.3%
OK     14.6%     13.8%

My Cleveland County neighbors fair pretty good overall, with a median family income and poverty rate matching the national average. My neighbors in Little Axe, not so much.

School district figures are good indicators. For instance, even though Little Axe School is located within Norman city limits, its pupils have a poverty rate (18%) about 60% higher than students in the Norman Public School District (11%).

Food for thought as corporate politicians tell us how good our economy is doing. I’ll let you guess how executive compensation is doing over the years. Or you can take a peek here.

Hear ye, hear ye

November 25th, 2005

Due to unforeseen circumstances, blog entries here on Okiedoke will be somewhat more infrequent than normal. I think it best to accelerate the start of a project that I have long had planned for the future. It is an effort that will require me to dedicate much of my free time; something which I have little of right now. However, I still anticipate an occasional urge to spout off on this blog now and then, so I hope you won’t rush to remove all traces of Okiedoke from your computer. (I would promise to eliminate the crappy posts and only generate high quality blog entries, but frankly, I can’t always tell the difference.)

I fully expect fellow Okie bloggers to step up and fill the gap left by my shortcomings, many of whom are listed on the right.

Nothing is wrong on my end, and the current frenzy could subside in a couple of months. Since this will be something new for me, I can’t say for sure. (Yes, it’s legal.) But it is a project better not known by some people who read this blog.

Okiedoke – Vintage Okie opinion :: (Cat furniture wholesale) News

November 23rd, 2005

I enjoy being linked to by other bloggers. But some links are worse than others.

Okiedoke – Vintage Okie opinion :: News
sites. Data harvested at such sites is then used fraudulently. The Anti-Phishing Working group

There’s even a comment to that post. But I’ll be damned if I can read it.

Technology is a great thing, until numbskulls get a hold of it. And why is it that so many of them are related to business? Could it be because there is a good chance of them succeeding?

Oklahomans respond to GM announcement

November 22nd, 2005

Some people are taking the General Motors decision to stop production at the Oklahoma City assembly plant kind of hard. Beginning with the mayor.

While Gov. Henry was surprised by Monday’s announcement that GM would be closing its Oklahoma City plant, Oklahoma City’s mayor was more upset about the way GM made it.

He said there was no hint in his previous meetings with the company that there would be anything like a plant shut down.

And then some other folks chimed in via NewsOK.com.

“You wonder why GM is leaving?

“Go to the Made in Oklahoma Building, and they have the first GM car made in Oklahoma proudly displayed.

“Go to the Oklahoma State Fair Park Web site and read the news release.

“‘We proudly announce that TOYOTA is the OFFICIAL vehicle for OKLAHOMA STATE FAIR PARK and the OKLAHOMA State Fair.’

“I think GM needs to fire the people who design these ugly trucks and SUVs and cars; don’t put it on the worker.

I wish that GM would have opened their eyes a few years ago and realized that selling products that aren’t competing with other car manufactures would catch up to them. The losers are customers and, most importantly, the workers who have stood by GM the past decades. But simply closing down plants will not fix their long-term problem – not selling cars. Those employees across the nation are doing their jobs that GM has demanded of them, but now they are being punished for the poor planning of others. In the past 10 years I have purchased four different GM-made cars, but they can count on me backing a different automaker from here on out.”

“The main reason for the shutdown was because the SUVs that are built there are not selling. Wasn’t it just two years ago that they were building cars? I want to know why they switched this plant over to SUV when the SUV was already having low sales. And I thought at the time that that was not a smart move on GM’s part. Well, this proves that it was not a smart move. If OKC was still building cars instead of SUVs, would they still shut it down?

“I can’t help but wonder if the GM plant would still be in operation if the workers were nonunion? Unions were a wonderful thing for labor back in the first half of the 20th century, but have they defeated their purpose now? … Have the union members ‘priced’ themselves out of a job?”

And there’s always an optimist in the bunch:

“What if the workers took over the plant as a worker-owned cooperative and began manufacturing fuel-efficient vehicles? Public-private partnerships could raise venture capital, and bonds could be sold directly to the public. I would buy such bonds, and I bet many other people would, too. In Europe there are worker-owned cooperatives with thousands of members who do everything from manufacture heavy industrial machinery to distribute magazines in street kiosks. We need to think outside the box about this.”

Creepy librarians

November 21st, 2005

How many folks are driven out of Oklahoma by librarians?

i want out of oklahoma! i really can’t stand living here with all the messed up shit that happens here… but even if i manage to get out i’ll get drug back by my family and friends. well i gotta go the librarian is creepin me out she’s really goofy!

Perhaps we should hear the librarian’s side of the story.

OKC GM plant not really closing… yet

November 21st, 2005

News reports are saying that General Motors will be closing a local auto assembly plant early next year.

OKC’s GM Plant to Close

Don’t you believe it! Under the GM-UAW labor agreement, assembly plants can’t be closed. Of course, GM learned long ago that they can “idle” a plant.

The world’s largest automaker will idle or reduce operations at nine manufacturing sites and several non-manufacturing facilities

Workers at GM’s OKC plant were hoping to add production of a similar vehicle from another under-utilized GM assembly plant in Moraine, Ohio. That facility is a much older plant that was long ago converted over from building GM Frigidaires. Being a non-UAW represented assembly plant may have given it an edge in the round of closings idlings. Workers there are represented by the International Union of Electrical Workers, now the (IUE-CWA), left over from when they built refrigerators. And their labor agreements with GM have always been slightly more favorable to the company. For instance, the plant had a three-shift operation, which is unusual for GM. Due to under capacity, Moraine is scheduled to lose one of those shifts.

The impact on Oklahoma City’s economy will dig deeper than the loss of income from 2,400 well paid workers. The plant at one time had more than 6,000 hourly workers, and over the years it outsourced much of that work to local suppliers who set up business in the vicinity to facilitate just-in-time production methods.

Rumors are that Tinker AFB is interested in obtaining the OKC GM site which adjoins the base to the southwest. But with one of the most modern automotive paint shops in North America, GM’s OKC facilty may be more attractive to a foreign based auto manufacturer. I’m sure OKC’s Chamber of Commerce is already scrambling to address that possibility. That would be OKC’s best hope to quickly rebound from such an economic loss. Let’s at least hope the Chamber comes up with a better idea than this:

America – paper tiger

November 20th, 2005

Say what you will about the justification and methodology of the war in Iraq, the very fact that President Bush is willing to sacrifice thousands of Americans to secure democracy and security for people throughout the world shows the importance he places on freedom and human rights. Today, China’s leaders got a taste of that determination.

U.S. President George W. Bush pressed China on Sunday to expand religious, political and social freedoms and won renewed promises — but no concrete actions — from President Hu Jintao to open China’s huge markets to U.S. farmers and businesses.

“It is important that social, political and religious freedoms grow in China,” the president said at Hu’s side.

China’s reactions speak louder than words:

A Chinese crackdown on dissidents before Bush arrived dismayed U.S. officials, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the U.S. side would continue to raise the issue “quite vociferously with the Chinese government.”

She also expressed disappointment with China’s response to a U.S. request in September for action on specific human rights cases — a list Bush described bluntly as “dissidents that we believe are unfairly imprisoned.”

You get the feeling China isn’t too concerned about it.

China views America as a country that cannot survive without cheap Chinese labor. American elite rich that controls the massive wealth in America benefits every minute from Chinese cheap labor by selling gods [sic] and services to American people made in China. America does not view that way. America believes China can do what it does best and let America provide goods and services to Chinese people what America does best. Chinese politicians told George Bush to mind his own business and stay away from interfering in Chinese matters.

We’ll see what happens. But I have a feeling I already know.

Journalism reaches new low

November 20th, 2005

Sorry, politicians (and qualified journalists), the FEC says (pdf) I am a journalist.

…an entity otherwise eligible for the press exception would not lose its eligibility merely because of a lack of objectivity…

And God knows I’m lacking.

Okiedoke visitors more intelligent than most

November 20th, 2005

Lest you think Okiedoke is mostly frivolous nonsense, I’m happy to point out the number one search word bringing folks to this site so far in November is australopithecus. (I’d link to the definition, but all Okiedoke readers should already know what it is.)

Okie religious protestors

November 20th, 2005

For a relatively small religious denomination that believes salvation is found in faith rather than deed, Lutherans will certainly be busy doing good deeds this week preparing free Thanksgiving dinners throughout the state. Then again, perhaps it is a proper role for these religious pilgrims.

Even though Lutherans built churches in Oklahoma before statehood, even though one of the oldest churches in Oklahoma, formed among Cherokee Indians in the former Indian Territory, is a Lutheran Church, and even though Lutherans were well represented in the land runs, the Lutheran Church is not exactly the largest Protestant family in Oklahoma. Yet, Lutheran churches ranging from small to large, rural to urban are found in most parts of the state.


School members at Ebenezer Lutheran Church,
Oaks, Oklahoma, founded in 1903

Of course most people realize Lutherans originated from one of the most successful religious protesters, a Catholic priest named Martin Luther. Successful not only because he initiated the Protestant Reformation, but that he lived to talk about it.

Martin Luther was not the first to challenge the Catholic Church. But he was the first to do so without being burned at the stake for heresy.

Luther benefited from something that all of us can appreciate.

He also had a lot of help in spreading his ideas from Gutenburg’s movable type printing press which allowed documents to be mass-produced and distributed with a speed that was never seen before.

And then, for Catholics, all hell broke loose.

It was not very long before there came to be divisions among the Protestants. Differences in interpretation of the Scriptures developed, especially in the matter of the sacraments. Those who agreed with Luther’s interpretations came to be called Lutherans. (This name was first used by the enemies of Luther.) The other Protestants have come to bear the general name, Reformed. Among the Reformed there are various denominations, such as Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, Episcopal, and Methodist.

The vast majority of Oklahoma Lutherans belong to one of two factions – the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Missouri Synod. Major differences being that the Missouri Synod believes the Bible is without error and rejects women pastors and homosexuality.

But most Lutherans, who make up approximately 5% of U.S. population, can be flexible on some things.

…Sunday Services are a bit shorter during the NFL season
…you wonder why bread and wine are used for Communion instead of coffee and donuts
…you carry silverware in your pocket to church just in case there’s a potluck

Don’t fret, utensils are to be provided at this year’s Thanksgiving dinners.

Lutheran links –
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod
The Lutheran magazine
Lutheran World Relief
This day in Lutheran history