Timing is everything

July 31st, 2007

Good news for General Motors.

General Motors Has $891 Million Quarterly Profit as Costs Fall

And good news for the UAW also.

General Motors Has $891 Million Quarterly Profit as Costs Fall

GM and the UAW kicked off contract negotiations last week.

GM’s Oklahoma City plant still has 123 active employees, 1,035 members on Pre-Retirement Leave, and about 200 inactive employees either attending school, volunteering for non-profit agencies, or awaiting assignment.

OK, do you know…

July 31st, 2007

the only Oklahoma town on Mountain Time?

– via Oklahoma Today

Too much partying for Tom Cole

July 31st, 2007

Have you ever seen a guy who spends so much time partying that it gets in the way of his job? It seems Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, who happens to be in charge of getting Republicans elected to Congress, is one of those guys.

Rep. Cole represents the Fourth Congressional District which includes the booming city of Norman. Growth in the university town is so strong, and water wells so full of arsenic, that the city has been sucking up more than their share of water from Lake Thunderbird; a resource shared with nearby Midwest City and Del City. The Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District manages the lake for the three cities and wants to evaluate an idea to pump water into the lake from McGee Creek Reservoir in southeast Oklahoma. Rep. Cole sought federal money to match local funding to finance further study. Cole explains his bill, H.R. 1337, to the House:

I introduced H.R. 1337 both at the behest of the Conservancy District and in the same spirit that Congress previously funded the building of Lake Thunderbird and the appraisal investigation: to facilitate the long-term vitality and well-being of the citizens served by the Conservancy District and, as an extension, the vitality and well-being of Oklahoma as a whole. It is important to note, Mr. Speaker, that the Conservancy District provides waters for more than 175,000 residents, meaning that no fewer than one out of every four of my constituents stands to benefit from this study.

Sounds pretty good. So why did it get voted down 211-208?

“Basically we were the victims of a tit-for-tat,” Cole said via telephone Thursday from his Washington, D.C., office. “It was Republicans vs. Democrats on the House floor.”

Cole, R-Moore, said his bill was voted down immediately after a controversial bill authored by a Democratic congressman was defeated.

Those damn Democrats and their partisan politics! So what was the “tat” that caused the “tit”?

The proposal was simple, the kind Congress approves with barely audible voice votes every day: Give 25 miles of Connecticut’s Eightmile River special federal status so it can get more money to protect water quality and different species.

But the bill to make that happen was defeated in the House on July 11, thanks to a fierce Republican effort aimed at hurting vulnerable rookie Rep. Joseph Courtney, D-2nd District, its chief sponsor…. The Republicans didn’t want Courtney to take credit for passing a major bill because it could help his re-election chances.

So why pick on Cole?

Republicans – led by Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., chairman of the House Republican congressional campaign – were concerned and launched a campaign to discredit the bill.

And remember Cole’s water bill? Well, it happened to be up for consideration the same day.

Democratic leaders put out the word: Vote against Cole’s bill. Punish him.

Cole, suddenly realizing what he had wrought, called Courtney and apologized.

He became aware he had offended not only Courtney but a lot of Republicans – including Rep. Christopher Shays, R-4th District.

Shays and Courtney quickly sent a letter to colleagues reminding them that the measure was backed by Connecticut’s Republican governor, M. Jodi Rell, as well as the Bush administration and the National Park Service.

Cole later explained that when he spoke against Courtney on the floor, he was not fully prepared.

Cole ultimately voted for Courtney’s bill, but it was too late.

Cole discounted his argument against the river legislation, saying “I wasn’t there to argue my personal beliefs.” In other words, Tom was just bullshitting to Congress for partisan purposes. And he reaped what he sowed. And Oklahomans that elect a person that places Party over constituents reap what we sow too.

Love is a many resplendent thing

July 31st, 2007

As a guy who tends not to take things too seriously, I don’t hate easily. Then again, I don’t love easily either. But that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying people that do.

I. Love. Oklahoma City.

Seriously…. I am so excited to move there, hopefully, in five or six months’ time.

Chalk one up for Bricktown. And chalk one up for Oklahoma too.

I love Oklahoma

Oh yes. Yes I do.

Not the state. The musical.

I love it. LOVE.

Hey, take what we can get.

Dis the government, not the flag

July 30th, 2007

I’m not a military veteran, but I think I’ll put our flag up today. And salute it. Wearing shorts and a t-shirt; just because.

Oklahoma military veterans say they’re amazed to learn of a federal law restricting when they can salute the American flag.

The law says veterans and active military personnel who are not in uniform should place their hands over their hearts when recognizing the flag.

Yet another reason why a vast majority of Americans have so little respect for Congress and the endless string of actions they take, only later to regret.

Retired Air Force Colonel Bob Powell of Tulsa says the current law – quote – “doesn’t mean a damn” and that no one will stop him from saluting the flag.

What a rebel; probably a Bush fan.

image

The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.

I’m curious as to what our nation’s chief law enforcement official, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, would say about all this. But then I probably wouldn’t know what he meant anyway.

Hell, maybe I should fly it upside-down.

Oklahoma an extreme disaster

July 29th, 2007

It’s often said that people living in Oklahoma have an inferiority complex when it comes to comparisons with other states. And I have to admit, the state has a lot of problems to deal with. Statistics in areas of wages, education, infrastructure, crime, and health, always put Okies near the bottom, and make us appear like, well, Okies.

But it turns out there’s a good excuse for Oklahoma’s bulging prisons, crumbling bridges, and struggling families. We’ve got more important things to deal with:

A combination of ice storms, flooding rains and tornadoes have left Oklahoma atop a dubious list. So far this year, the state has most federal disaster declarations in the country.

But Oklahoma’s high ranking in disasters isn’t new. Among the 10 states with the most federal disaster declarations since 1953, Oklahoma has the highest rate per capita.

Why, Oklahoma has even been graced with a hurricane disaster.

What I want to know: Is God testing us, or are we not praying enough?

Okie round-up

July 28th, 2007

The Daily Bitch blogs ’round the clock.
51313 Harbor Street opens his new book, Murder by Dewey Decimal.
Say It Say It Say It is glad not to be “accepted” in Edmond.
Chico and the Mom deal with a free La-Z-Boy.
The Swirls recommend free magazine subscriptions.
This little light of mine crams for her teaching test.
Diana just wants to talk.
Oklahoma Voice of Reason chooses choice.
Another Day in Middleville takes the bus to downtown OKC.
The Dessert Years is attracted to holes.
Don’t Try This At Home tries something new.
3:40 a.m. finds wisdom in animation.

OU football ranked #2 in nation

July 27th, 2007

Sooner fans usually don’t like being #2, but in this case it’s better than placing first.

Football’s Dirtiest Programs: #2, Oklahoma

The Sooners are no strangers to the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. With six football cases in their file, it’s no shock to find them near the top of this list.

What the heck do people expect from a team named for people who didn’t play by the rules?

Perhaps the best thing OU could do to appease the NCAA would be to change its name from Sooners

To claim a lot of land, prospective settlers had to participate in a land run. They lined up and waited for the blast of a shotgun to signal the beginning of the run, at which point they would race eagerly to claim a homestead. A “Sooner” was someone who snuck past the territory markers ahead of the gunshot to get an early start.

To Boomers.

As a result of the 1866 treaties the Unassigned Lands, two million acres lying in a north-south strip in the heart of Indian Territory were left unattached to any Indian tribe.

Dr. Morrison Munford of the Kansas City Times took special interest in the matter and began publicizing the idea of white settlement in the region, which had become known popularly as the “Oklahoma Lands” following previous efforts to establish the territory as a new, Indian “State of Oklahoma.”

This initial effort began the Boomer Movement. The intruders were quickly evicted by federal officials and U.S. troops. But it was by no means the last of the matter. The cause was then taken up by David Lewis Payne, a Wichita, Kansas, pioneer settler and politician who was then working in Washington as an assistant to the Doorkeeper of the House of Representatives.

In late April 1880 Payne led a party of twenty-one men from Wichita to the site of present Oklahoma City. There on the south bank of the North Canadian they laid out a town called Ewing and relished their new settlement until Lt. George H. G. Gale arrived with a troop of Fourth Cavalry and took them under arrest to Fort Reno. After being held there for a short time, the Boomers were escorted back to Kansas.

… Payne organized a larger group and returned to the Ewing site in July. Again his contingent were arrested, escorted to the Kansas line, and set free without going to court.

Payne continued to enlist Boomers. A June 1884 settlement venture at Rock Falls in the Cherokee Outlet turned out disastrously for him when in August the U.S. Army burned his buildings, confiscated his Oklahoma War Chief press, and took him on a punishing wagon journey overland to Fort Smith. During the trip he and his men were taken to the Cherokee Nation and paraded through the streets of Tahlequah, past the Indian populace who despised Payne for his efforts to seize part of their tribal haven in Indian Territory.

Although Payne’s demise temporarily set back the Boomer movement, Payne’s lieutenant, William L. Couch, assumed leadership. Couch led four intrusions, one in mid-winter 1884 to the site of present Stillwater. Once again, the U.S. Army arrested the Boomers and drove them back to Kansas. Another Couch-led expedition to the North Canadian in October 1885 also resulted in expulsion…

Hmmm… never mind. I guess I should be happy with only being a Sooner and not a Boomer Sooner.

Hi Rickety Whoop-te-do
Boomer Sooner Okla-U
Hi Rickety Whoop-te-do
Boomer Sooner Okla-U

– mp3

Coburn and Lucas ham it up

July 16th, 2007


After writing the previous post, I thought maybe I should go check on my “pork-buster” senator and see how he’s standing up against his assault on some of the biggest pork producers in Washington D.C. Now, I’m talking big ol’ oinkers here, like Senators Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). So I drove on out to Muskogee to see first-hand how Dr. Tom is doing.

I don’t want to publicize Sen. Coburn’s home address, but I will say it was easy to spot from the road. Along side the driveway, leading to the barn, was a sure sign that I had found his place. Luckily, I brought a camera or you might think I’m making this stuff up.

Taking the driveway around back, I came across Tom cuttin’ up with some of his buddies.

As you see, Tom was in hog heaven. Now I know why most of his distinguished colleagues at the Capitol steer clear of him.

This year’s Pig Book breaks a run of seven consecutive years of record dollar amounts of pork, culminating in $29 billion in the 2006 Congressional Pig Book. This lesser barrel of pork can be attributed to the efforts of Senators Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who prevented the enactment of nine appropriations bills in December, 2006, and the subsequent moratorium on earmarks announced and enforced by the House and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairmen David Obey (D-Wis.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)

In the defense appropriations bill alone, Alaska received $209,900,000, a 127 percent increase over the total of $92,425,000 in 2006.

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) defines pork as:

… a line-item in an appropriations bill that designates tax dollars for a specific purpose in circumvention of established budgetary procedures.

And Coburn wasn’t the only Okie the watchdog group recognized. Rep. Frank Lucas was also mentioned just last month for his agricultural work:

… members are content with a continuation of the most expensive farm subsidy payments in history, which has cost taxpayers an average of $20 billion annually for the last five years.

Although a primary justification for continuing the failed agriculture policies of the past 70 years has always been that they are essential to protecting “small family farmers,” subsidies overwhelmingly go to the largest farmers and agribusiness. In 2003, the top 10 percent of farm subsidy recipients collected 72 percent of total subsidies and the top 5 percent collected 55 percent of payments.

Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) suggested that his Agriculture Committee colleagues “circle the wagons” against reforms to the current system.

Yeah, it sounds like everything’s perfect.

But can we really blame Lucas? After all, the largest source of funding to his 2006 campaign came from agribusiness political action committees. In fact, according to OpenSecrets.org, over 60% of donations to Lucas’ last campaign came from PACs, compared to only 18% of campaign contributions to Coburn.

And here I would’ve pegged Rep. Lucas as a beef man.

Coburn better not mess with Smokey

July 15th, 2007

It’s no secret that I’m a Tom Coburn fan. Not that I agree with Tom on everything, but I feel the guy does more good for government than bad. And to top it off, he has to fight the status quo to do it. You can’t say that about many congressmen.

However, as much as I appreciate my senator’s fervor for open government and fiscal responsibility, Dr. Tom sounds as if he may be getting a little carried away.

Coburn criticizes government mascots

Coburn estimated the government may spend as much as half a billion dollars a year to maintain mascots and their Web sites, adding the costs to develop them may be seven or eight times higher.

So I just had to check on my favorite government mascot of all time, Smokey the Bear. It’s a great website! (If you have the sound off.) Why, it’s well worth half a billion dollars alone. Just viewing the archives puts a smile on my face. All I can say is: I won’t stand idly by if Sen. Coburn tries to snuff out my buddy Smokey. For one thing, look at what things were like before Smokey was born:

And then came Smokey:

I concede that my junior senator may have a point about money possibly being wasted for a lot of expensive government websites, but if we have to cut a mascot out, I say we consider this guy: