Movie review: The Water Diviner

Movie review:  The Water Diviner

War is definitely the gift that keeps on giving.  It was appropriate that The Water Diviner, a fictional post-World War I historical drama, opened the day before the 100th anniversary of the start of the military campaign which inspired it.  Russell Crowe directs and acts in the lead role and seems to gain a measure of redemption after foundering in Les Miserables. The Gallipoli Campaign was, as one of the movie’s characters aptly describes, a battle lost by the British Army in a war won by the Allies.  The story begins in the NW Victoria home of the parents of three Australian soldiers who fought at Gallipoli some four years after the battle.  Australian farmer Joshua Connor (played by Crowe) who possesses the skill of locating water in arid places and his...

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The death grip on the death penalty

The death grip on the death penalty

Death by nitrogen hypoxia.  That is the latest modality now legally available to the State of Oklahoma to carry out death sentences.  Governor Fallin signed off on HB 1879 last week after it wound its way through the legislature and was placed on her desk.  The bill’s author is Representative Mike Christian from HD 93 (South OKC) who himself is a former member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.  As stated in the new law, nitrogen hypoxia merely serves as a backup modality to lethal injection.  If for whatever reason either of those modalities become unavailable, the State can still resurrect its electric chair or assemble an ad hoc firing squad to carry out a death sentence.  It is duly noted that one selling point of nitrogen gas is it does not require the...

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The Oklahoma Standard endures

The Oklahoma Standard endures

Like many of my fellow Oklahomans, I have a list of memories of the Oklahoma City Federal Building long before it became the center of the universe twenty years ago for the worst of reasons.  Like most other people I know, I never knew its namesake, Alfred P. Murrah, was an old federal judge until a domestic terrorist’s bomb blew a third of it away killing 168 citizens, 19 of whom were young children.  Yes, I had been in that building several times.  When I first enlisted in the U.S. Navy in January of 1978, Navy Recruiting Command (CRUCOMM) was housed in a new facility that was not even yet a year old.  I remember how clean the Federal Building was and its newness.  The Armed Forces Examining and Entrance Station (AFEES) occupied the entire second floor of...

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Pay-to-play law enforcement?!?

Pay-to-play law enforcement?!?

Sadly it is not my imagination that my beloved home state and home town cannot seem to stay out of national and international limelight of tragedy and shame.  Again, this is one blog post that I have had to stop myself from making more than once since this story broke last week and I may be posting this before the story has had a chance to fully evolve.  It just happened too close to home to ignore.  Even still it underscores a problem epidemic in America today, the problem of overzealous policing by members of an ever increasing militarized police force.  This home town case appears to take that a step further. As someone who was career military I see myself as a member of the establishment and therefore on the side of law and order.  I understand that the world...

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Ex-Republicans in charge

Ex-Republicans in charge

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her formal announcement on Sunday that she was a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for President of the United States. Image by HillaryClinton.com Hillary Clinton, once the President of the Wellesley College Young Republicans, enters the fray with another ex-Republican.  Democrat Jim Webb, the former Virginia Senator, served as an assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy under Republican President Ronald Reagan.  The national stage of Presidential politics however is not the only one shared by once dyed-in-the-wool party line GOP members.  A few candidates for office in my very own local Tulsa County Democratic Party also shared such a past commonality. On Saturday this past weekend, all...

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