Okies to Brits: don’t take ‘English Only’ literally

May 30th, 2008

It seems to me that Oklahoma is seeing a little too many Englishmen migrating to our great state. I suspect it has a lot to do with the push for an English Only law. But that’s only part of the reason. Limeys like Marc Lee of The Telegraph are also glamorizing our image.

Try getting the title song of Oklahoma! out of your head once you’ve heard it.

Then listen to Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ – another song from the film – and you’ll believe it’s true, even as you trudge through the sort of damp May mornings that much of Britain has endured this week.

Add to this mix of humour, intrigue and song some riotous dance routines, a balletic dream sequence, and some gorgeous big-country locations on the rolling prairies, and what have you got? “Oklahoma – OK!”

No wonder folks in England believe it’s a paradise here. They think us Okies do nothing but dance, sing, and ride fringed surreys through the countryside with our honey-lambs. But the truth is: the last thing we need is more Okies with funny accents, bad teeth, and poor spelling, e.g. humour.

Refining the price of gas

May 29th, 2008

When it comes to understanding the volatile pricing of gasoline, who can Oklahomans trust? Some people say the free market.

Gas prices keep climbing even as oil prices drop

Oil prices fell back Thursday ahead of a report expected to show U.S. inventories of crude and petroleum products grew last week.

So even if U.S. crude supply exceeds demand, prices still rise? There must be something else choking the supply system. Surely, we should be able to trust the insight of our elected representatives.

Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Mary Fallin, R-Oklahoma City, called for comprehensive energy legislation that would open more public lands for oil and gas drilling and make it easier for new refineries to be built.

Ah yes, those whacky environmentalists preventing oil companies from building new refineries. I wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. still has the same number of refineries today as we had 25 years ago.

Over the last quarter-century, the number of refineries in the United States dropped to 149, less than half the number in 1981.

Oh, well all those refineries closing is probably from pressure by liberal lawmakers.

2004 – SAN DIEGO — State Assembly member, Christine Kehoe from San Diego, is trying to force Shell Oil to keep a California refinery open in order to help push gas prices down.

Oh, then it must be the EPA.

From 1975 to 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received only one permit request for a new refinery. And in March, EPA approved Arizona Clean Fuels’ application for an air permit for a proposed refinery in Arizona. In addition, oil companies are regularly applying for – and receiving – permits to modify and expand their existing refineries.

But then why would oil companies want to close refineries?

  • 1981 – 329 refineries operating at 68.6% capacity
  • 2006 – 149 refineries operating at 89.7%

Oh. Well, at least that makes good business sense. A refinery operating at 90% capacity should be much more profitable than running at 70%. So I guess we know where all the profits from high gasoline prices are going; to the stockholders of the nation’s biggest refinery companies.

Consider some of these price moves over the past year: Frontier Oil (symbol FTO) 28%. Valero Energy (VLO) 40%. Tesoro (TSO) 63%. Alon USA Energy (ALJ) 64%. Western Refining (WNR) 76%.

Now, here’s the punch line: All of these numbers represent losses, not gains.

Shoot! Well then, I guess it makes sense to keep refineries operating at even greater capacities.

In response to falling gasoline demand and rising costs, refiners have cut their production rates. Refining utilization rates, for example, slumped to a low of 81.4 percent in the second week of April, compared with 90.4 percent at the same time last year. Earlier this month, refineries were running at 85 percent of their capacity.

“They are not sitting in a boardroom and colluding, but they can see easily enough where their benefit lies, and it doesn’t lie in a price war,” said Judy Dugan, the research director at Consumer Watch. “In a truly competitive market, you might see some of these providers try to improve their market share by reducing prices. But this is not happening. They are all better off by restricting production to keep prices up.”

Mark Cooper, director of research at the Consumer Federation of America, said mergers in the 1990s had cut the number of refiners in the country and contributed to reduced competition in the refining market.

“We let them accumulate market power through the wave of mergers, and we’ve been paying the price in the last five years,” he said. “If there is a small number of players in the market, they learn from each other’s behavior.”

Hmmm… Either Sen. Inhofe and Rep. Fallin are catering to our nation’s oil cartel by blaming the problem on lack of supply and refining capacity, or they know something everybody else doesn’t.

I’m saving my smog for Inhofe

May 28th, 2008

Sen. Tom Coburn has scheduled a Town Hall meeting today in Midwest City:

Midwest City Town Hall
12:00-1:00 p.m.
Rose State College Student Center
6420 SE 15th Street
Midwest City, OK 73110

Tom is kind of dissing the bulk of Oklahomans living here in the center of the state by holding only two meetings. He hosted three town hall meetings in Tulsa. Nothing in the Norman area.

Hopefully, someone close to Midwest City can pop in and report on things. I’d go myself, but would only feel comfortable burning that much gas to see Sen. Inhofe.

Okiedom not for everybody

May 28th, 2008

Maya is a Harvard trained psychologist, learning the reality of becoming an Okie.

The Shawnee Animal Hospital is clearly one of the un-aired Twilight Zone Episodes and let me tell you, I should have been warned.

I must have look dazed when a woman came up to me asking what she could do…that was in between eating her pastrami sandwich, mayo still in the corner of her mouth. She wore a too tight black tank top with a studded cross on the front . Then another enormous gold cross filled with rhinestones around her neck that was so big it should have been on the altar of some Catholic church. How she stayed on her feet under the weight of it all I don’t know. Her black baseball cap with studs and jewels spelling “I Love Oklahoma” was oh so dazzeling.

The din of noise and smells and sheer mayhem was so overwhelming that I forgot why I had come in all together and for a brief second I do believe the residents of this madhouse thought I was going to fall down or that I was having a senior moment. I got what I needed after much deliberation and interruption and as I was on my way out of the scene, Lilly Tomlin called out after me and said, “You’re not from around here are ya, hun? I took it as a compliment and smiled saying, “No, but I’m trying.”

I’m afraid Maya just isn’t cut out to be an Okie. She has two major things working against her: her Ivy League education and experience as a psychologist.

‘Suck it’ other Edmond bloggers

May 27th, 2008

One difference between job bloggers and hobby bloggers is their attitudes. Hobby bloggers write for pleasure and like to encourage diversity in the blogosphere by linking to other talented and interesting bloggers. Job bloggers, not so much.

My desire is that the Edmond blog be your one-stop Web site for all Edmond news and information.

Judging by the blog’s three posts over the past week, Edmond is the deadest city in Oklahoma. At least that’s what Jerry L. thinks:

Edmond is a landfill.

Luckily, Mile 103 does have some links.

A click of a link will show you fuel prices in Edmond …

Another link will take you to Edmond news powered by NewsOK.com.

If you are looking for something to do for the weekend, click on the “Things to Do in Edmond” link, and you will be taken to wimgo.com.

One of the newest upgrades allows you to purchase photos taken in Edmond and featuring Edmond people by The Oklahoman’s photo journalists.

Plus there are also Berry Tramel’s sports columns…

Wouldn’t it be easier to just bookmark NewsOK.com?

Okie liberals not normal

May 27th, 2008

I can see why Okies like me and Big Ass Belle are considered liberal by many conservative Oklahomans. As for me, I only own three shotguns, a rifle and a handgun. And Belle

It’s not politically correct for one as left-leaning as I am to admit to owning guns. I do, though. Lots of them.

Do you think that’s insane? I am as far left as they come. I am a socialist. I capture bugs in my house and take them outside. I bring tidbits for the little mouse that lives in the corner of my warehouse office. I provided food and water to the skunk that lived under my house one winter so he could survive until I could open up the crawlspace again.

Though I did once have a pet skunk, I am a capitalist and a killer of squirrels. So I got to admit feeling Belle is indeed a bit insane. She feeds a mouse?

Sen. Coburn suggests drug as census incentive

May 27th, 2008

One thing I like about Tom Coburn is his honest concern about wasteful government spending. While other politicians talk the talk, Coburn is one of the few who is not afraid to actually walk the talk. Take the cost of conducting the U.S. Census:

… I learned that the 2010 Census is likely to once again cost nearly twice the amount of our last Census—without a corresponding doubling in our nation’s population. The 2010 Census is expected to cost at least $11.3 billion over 10 years although agency insiders speculate the cost will likely soar well beyond $12 billion.

What is particularly astonishing about our next Census is that in an age when millions of Americans pay their taxes, conduct financial transactions and shop online no plans are in place to take advantage of the Internet. By 2010, 84 percent of Americans will be Internet users, according to the Computer Industry Almanac, up from 48 percent in 2000. The Census Bureau’s plan to double the cost of the 2010 Census without incorporating the Internet makes as much sense as an agency making a major procurement of carbon paper during the advent of the Xerox machine.

This makes sense to me. I would much rather fill out a census form online. And I’d be willing to bet that the majority of the only 67% of households responding to the 2000 Census would prefer responding online also. Especially if there were incentives.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., also a member of the subcommittee [that oversees the Census], says offering prizes would be cheaper than chasing people who don’t return their questionnaires. It costs $75 million to increase the response rate by 1 percentage point, Census data show.

Then the question becomes: What kind of prizes? This is where my cheap-ass junior senator falls short.

A $1 million prize has been suggested but “something on the scale of a Starbucks coupon would be more appropriate,” says John Hart, Coburn’s press secretary.

Starbucks coupons? Sheesh! Tom and his staff are definitely spending way too much time in Washington! Free lattes might go over well with the coastal elites, but us regular Americans here in the heartland would much prefer a million dollar lottery over some fancy schmancy fix of caffeine. If there’s one thing we don’t need more of is the availability of psychoactive stimulants. Now, a six pack of beer, on the other hand…

Norman road signs confuse motorists

May 25th, 2008

I really like Norman, Oklahoma. I’ve come to know lots of good people there over the years, there is plenty of culture, and it being a university town, I have access to many educational resources. But even with all the learning opportunities available, the city still has its share of idiots. And these days the bulk of them seem to be congregating in the vicinity of 36th Ave and West Main St.

Lane Closures at 36th and Main

The project is scheduled to be completed by November 1, 2008. Beginning Monday work will begin to reduce through traffic to one lane each direction at all four legs of the intersection. These lane reductions will remain in place throughout the duration of the project for the next 8 to 10 months. The traveling public can expect delays and is encouraged to find an alternate route if possible. Signs will be placed accordingly to direct the traveling public.

Construction began back in January and these signs are still baffling many drivers.

Is it something I said?

May 25th, 2008

I checked my blog stats this morning and continue to find that about 50% of Okiedoke visitors come from within Oklahoma. I also noticed that fully 15% of all Okiedoke visitors so far this month originated from one other Oki website.
Or, translated for Okies that don’t speak Oki.

If you’re wondering what Okies and Okis could possibly have in common (besides their affection for Okiedoke), one is their love of ‘ruck’ pulls.

Okinawa townsfolk have theirs:

– JuneMidyear present large sale luck pulling
– DecemberYear-end large sale luck pulling

And us Okies have ours:

image

Lance Cargill tops legislative award list

May 24th, 2008

iSpeak dished out some Oklahoma legislative session awards. And there’s one I especially agree with:

Worst Legislator (Senate and House)
The nominees are Lance Cargill, Randy Terrill and Jim Williamson, Sally Kern. This category has candidates that are dumb, dumber, dumbest and just plain mean.
No one has ever risen faster and then crashed and burned as fast as Lance Cargill.
Randy Terrill may be getting some political traction in the short run but butting heads with the likes of Aubrey McClendon and other business leaders is not the way for a Republican to advance their political career in the long run.
Sally Kern has done more damage to the state’s cultural and business image in her short legislative tenure than Gene Stipe did in 5 decades –that’s impressive in a negative sort of way.
Jim Williamson is nominated here really as a sort of lifetime achievement award. He is mean and nasty not only to other members (he drove Senator Nancy Riley into the arms of the Ds thus creating the tie we have now in the Senate) but he has threatened professional staff with their jobs when or if the Republicans take over.
The winner is Lance Cargill for sheer velocity of stupidity. Many others have made the same mistakes – but not in such an incredibly condensed period of time.

Cargill ranks as one of the slimiest legislators I’ve seen in my 29 years in Oklahoma. Not that there weren’t others just as bad, but his overwhelming arrogance only accelerated his mistakes. Of course it didn’t help that he persuaded some of Oklahoma’s most influential political and business leaders to endorse and finance his self-indulging power plays. He should do fine as a practicing attorney in corporate or tax law.