Lake tracks

September 29th, 2008
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Before

 

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After

 

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Underground track

U.S. Treasury seeks guidance from Okiedoke

September 25th, 2008

I confess to have been a little worried about our nation’s severest financial crisis since the Great Depression; that is until I checked my site statistics this morning. Turns out that a likely top official (they were running Internet Explorer 6.0) from the United States Treasury visited this blog, not once, but twice this morning, obviously seeking the respected vintage Okie opinion offered up here on the pages of Okiedoke. And last night a visitor from the U.S. House of Representatives. (Probably Barney Frank, since Pelosi is still a little upset with me over an article I posted in 2005.) Anyway, it’s a great honor.

Now, some folks might think that influencing Oklahoma’s intellectuals and powerful policy makers through this blog would be satisfying enough for a guy like me. And yes, being Oklahoma’s most respected online sage does have its rewards, but saving America, and therefore the world, would make my blogging efforts all worthwhile; not to mention how good it would look in my obituary.

So have hope, fellow Americans. It appears those responsible for our economic future are starting to realize that just as you shouldn’t trust politicians when it comes to politics, neither should we trust economists to fix the economy.

Oh, and the blog post that the U.S. Treasury turned to in their time of dire need?

Hey, at least they’re thinking outside the box.

How to stand out in Oklahoma

September 24th, 2008

Having long been taller, hairier and uglier than the average guy, I’ve pretty much gotten used to sticking out in a crowd. Of course that diminished somewhat when I moved my fuzzy face from California to Oklahoma and began wearing ball caps. But lately I’ve been feeling even taller, hairier and uglier than ever. It started when I began donning my new hat.

Hat tip to my son-in-law for bringing the cap from Illinois.

Cornett has acute vision of past

September 24th, 2008

With the news that Oklahoma City ranks 49th in an environmental sustainability review of 50 U.S. cities, a person might think things are pretty bad in Thunderville. Yet, while overall OKC falls way behind the average in most areas, the few areas where the city excels are pretty important attributes to have: Affordable housing, low traffic congestion, and water quantity and quality.

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The one problem area that brings OKC down toward the bottom? Public transportation. And Mayor Mick explains to SustainLane where the blame lies for such a severe lack of public transit:

The citizens are becoming much more enlightened about the types of issues that you are writing about.

I would assume that this is a tremendous opportunity to advance the conversation on mass transit and density in ways that I never would have been able to do before,” says Cornett.

Yes indeed, Cornett may be able to finally begin convincing the ignorant citizens of Oklahoma City on the need to improve mass transit. Here’s Cornett over a year ago:

Now, it is time to consider taking Oklahoma City to a new level. MAPS 3 is an unwritten book, a blank canvas. We will decide together if we should push forward with another MAPS initiative.

Rather than presenting to you a finished plan, I have asked you to help me create one. If we go forward, we will go forward together. Through May 15, 2007, this interactive web site accepted your thoughts and ideas.

Sincerely,
Mick Cornett
Mayor

And those results by number of submissions?

668 – Transit (light rail, streetcars, etc.)
188 – Infrastructure, Including Streets
140 – Trials
123 – General Parks Improvement/Expansion
117 – Beautification (includes trees, streetscapes)
100 – Sidewalks
77 – Education
69 – Downtown Retail
65 – Football or Soccer Stadium
41 – Ford Center Improvements

Mayor Cornett could hardly contain his delightful surprise.

“The overwhelming support for transit surprises me in many ways, and delights me in others. I agree that it’s a shortcoming in the community,” he said.

So, armed with this strong input from his subjects, Mayor Mick joined forces with the business community in a richly financed campaign to make improvements to the Ford Center with a bond to be paid off with sales taxes in 2010. Which gives Cornett a little less than two years to convince people on the importance of mass transit. I’d suggest a poll of OKC residents, but who really takes polls seriously?

We’re the neocapitalists now

September 22nd, 2008

Since I’m not as bright about managing money as the legions of highly trained business experts running our global financial institutions, I’ve been paying attention to the Bush administration’s proposal to rescue our perilously, fundamentally sound economy. Here’s what I’ve concluded about the situation so far:

  • The estimated $700 billion U.S. taxpayer purchase of “toxic” debt incurred by capitalists throughout the world might save the global economy from total collapse.
  • The United States Treasury Secretary, a non-elected bureaucrat, will have sole discretion in expending the funds and be completely immune from congressional and legal oversight.
  • Preventing multi-million dollar payouts to executives of failing companies that receive government bailout funds would go against free market principles.
  • Foreign institutions are eligible for the taxpayer bailout.
  • It is not really socialism when the U.S. government takes ownership and control of the means of capital and property.
  • Voters should re-elect congressmen that encouraged such a crisis by having supported evermore deregulation, neglecting to provide oversight, and ignoring warning signs.
  • The bailout will put our government so far in debt that it further strains social security and completely removes the possibility of a national healthcare program.
  • The U.S. presidential candidate with the strongest voice regarding the threat of corporate abuse, unchecked executive greed, and their excessive influence on government, can only be considered by voters in 49 states. – Nader on all ballots except Oklahoma

Okie round-up

September 21st, 2008

Peace Arena points to OKC’s Pinwheels for Peace.
Drawing the Motmot observes toxic birds.
The Local Malcontent discusses a duty to die.
No Blog of Significance expresses little faith in American brains and spirit.
The Militant Moderate envisions a Republican nightmare.
But I digress is sleepless in Seattle.
jmbzine.com ventures to Alaska.
Danz Family blames it on the Democrats.
Doug Dawgz Blog claims OKC Thunder site fouls out.
Alternative Tulsa picks on Palin.
Batesline reports Republicans okay changes to OK votes.
MissWisabus is a pitbull with lipstick.
BlogOklahoma fills in the blanks for Choctaw County.

Let’s get smart about wind powered cars

September 18th, 2008

The word is out that struggling automakers are licking their chops over the willingness of U.S. taxpayers to shower money on businesses that are threatened due to poor executive management.

They need the money, they say, to finance a quick switch to producing more fuel-efficient vehicles … they’ve got all this great technology, etc., they just need some help getting it to market.

Plus, the U.S. auto market is not a free market in which all the manufacturers are competing on a level playing field. I mean, it’s not like Toyota doesn’t get help from Japan.

Though I am a big supporter of domestic manufacturing, I disagree with a bailout. However, I do support government subsidization of our nation’s misguided auto industry, while at the same time supporting our nation’s energy independence. And no, I’m not talking about some convoluted alchemy scheme like turning crops into fuel. What I propose is incentives to power cars from the wind.

The great thing about such an effort is that the system is already practical and uses our existing utility infrastructure. There is no need for massive investments in building a nation-wide network of hydrogen or CNG fueling stations. Using wind energy to power vehicles won’t require huge ethanol refineries that burn more energy than they produce. And the best thing is that U.S. automakers are already able to produce vehicles that move with the wind.

General Motors unveiled the Chevrolet Volt electric vehicle on Tuesday, allowing outsiders their first full look at the car GM says will go on sale in 2010.

The Volt will be driven by electricity stored in a large T-shaped lithium-ion battery pack running the length of the car. After charging for several hours, the Volt will be able to run for up to about 40 miles without using gasoline.

So what government subsidy do I propose? Smart residential charging stations.

One of the limitations of wind energy is the fickleness of wind. No matter what our brightest intellectuals say, it is not yet feasible to reliably power something like a college campus on 100% wind energy.

When electric power is derived from Oklahoma wind, it is merged with electricity from our coal and natural gas power plants into the power grid. As the wind fluctuates, so does the amount of electricity produced from it. In order to prevent brownouts, fossil fuel power plants must remain online and ready to ramp up or down to meet the changing demand. This is extremely fuel inefficient, especially for coal fired boilers. The greatest efficiencies come with steady power demands and near capacity boiler output.

Installing a huge bank of smart batter chargers into the system at residences, businesses and parking garages, would allow energy providers to reduce such fluctuations and increase efficiencies. More wind turbines (and solar arrays) could be introduced into our energy grid with greater overall efficiencies. Electrical generating costs and pollution from power plants would actually be reduced.

Perhaps the best advantage is that U.S. taxpayers would primarily be bailing out themselves. (And Canadians also, since the Chevy Volt is being manufactured in Windsor.) Hey, maybe Canadian taxpayers would chip in a few bucks, too.

Confession of an American capitalist

September 17th, 2008

Even though much of my income is from investments (much less lately), I’ve never been a real good American capitalist. I like to avoid debt and am satisfied with a reasonable return for a reasonable risk. I believe that workers should not pay a higher income tax rate on their wages than folks who profit from investments. I have guilt over piling debt on future Americans to bail out greedy, opportunistic money managers who earned millions per year while bankrupting their companies.

I feel it is against our national interest that government incentives result in moving our manufacturing base outside the country. I respect the guy who picks up my garbage more than all the Wall Street executives. I prefer a fair trade policy over a free trade one. I think profiting from a war that kills and maims tens of thousands of Americans is unpatriotic. And I am convinced that most Democrats and Republicans fool themselves into believing that they are not part of the problem; it’s the other Party.

My simple approach to life is balance and moderation, the antithesis of capitalism and the American dream. “Real” American capitalists know only suckers perform manual labor, and we’ll all be better off when every American has an MBA and all “menial jobs” are performed by a non-citizen underclass.

But then, I would think like that. For I live in a humble working class neighborhood in Oklahoma, and one of those suckers that labored for a living. I’m afraid I’ll never be a real good American capitalist. Of course, how many of us really are?

Obama for President, Reason #23

September 17th, 2008

Sen. McCain’s lengthy experience regarding illegal immigration:

McCain’s Record of Rewarding Illegal Aliens

Bottom line: McCain has the worst Republican platform for ending future illegal immigration.

John McCain on Illegal Immigration: “I’m from a border state”

“I’m from a border state, so I know what to do about illegal immigration.”

McCain’s Abysmal Record On Illegal Immigration

Record and analysis of all of Sen. McCain’s immigration related congressional votes, cosponsorships, and other immigration actions during his career in Congress

Picture this, Sooner fans

September 16th, 2008

Just for visiting Okiedoke*, you are entitled to receive a free archival quality official OU Sooner print of your choice, ready to mount, frame or display.

Just enter your email address [here] to get your FREE $34.95 Voucher (same price as a 9″x12″ print) and to join our newsletter. Shipping and handling charges will apply. Your voucher is good for 30 days on anything at SoonerSports.com’s new Photo Store. Your code will be sent immediately to the email address provided.

Print images include a wide range of subjects including football, basketball, panoramas, stadiums, and more OU traditions.

More than 200 images are included in the gallery, and pictures from this year’s competition will continue to be posted each week throughout the season.

*Visiting Okiedoke not required.