Farewell to toxic symbolism

Farewell to toxic symbolism

It has been a very historic week in America in terms of commemorating notable events, landmark decisions handed down by the highest court in the land and executive orders issued by some southern state governors to remove archaic incendiary emblems from their purview.  I myself could feel the tectonic shift of public opinion when the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality, both decisions coming on the heels of the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the Alabama State Capitol.  Where that flag has not been removed, its disposition is at very least going to be discussed.  It crushes me that it took the murder of nine innocent citizens in a church in Charleston, SC by a misguided merchant of hate to highlight something so glaringly...

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FreeOK 2015

FreeOK 2015

Imagine if you will a camp meeting of atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers and pagans.  Focus on that conceptual image for a moment and you can grasp the essence of the fifth annual Oklahoma Freethought Convention.  FreeOK 2015 was held on Saturday, June 20th at the Cox Business Center in Tulsa.  This is another of those local community functions which make this the most conservative stretch of Old Route 66 habitable.  Yours truly was on hand for this all day annual event just as I was for the preceding four. This year’s convention coordinators had an impressive slate of eight speakers, a few of whom have graced this event with their presence before.  All brought a positive and educative message to the attendees, this year numbering around 300.  As...

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A gutted budget, lofty platitudes and good stuff, too!

A gutted budget, lofty platitudes and good stuff, too!

Will Rogers once waxed philosophical on the subject of the Congressional budget:  “The budget is like a mythical bean bag.  Congress votes mythical beans into it, then reaches in and tries to pull real ones out.”  Oh Will, you have no idea how creative the legislature of your beloved home state has become in paying its bills.  Earlier this month Governor Mary Fallin signed off on the FY 2016 Oklahoma State Budget and commented on some of the highlights of the 2015 legislative session.  Governor Fallin seemed proud of the fact that the $611 million budget shortfall was closed without cutting K-12 education even though higher education took a $24 million reduction.  It seems the tax cuts the governor pushed for a got two years ago have not made it easy...

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Pride is alive along the Mother Road!

Pride is alive along the Mother Road!

One of the community celebrations that make this the most conservative segment of Old Route 66 habitable took place this past weekend.  Yes, the 33rd annual Tulsa Pride celebration attracted thousands to Downtown Tulsa on Saturday afternoon and evening culminating in the Pride Parade.  This is an annual festival sponsored by Oklahomans for Equality. Yours truly was on hand to staff the Tulsa County Democratic Party tent where we were able to register a few dozen new voters and hand out Hillary and Bernie Sanders buttons for a small donation. No, I am not gay but like everyone who may be reading this blog post I have a gay family member and know several people who identify as LGBT, some of whom I consider personal friends.  Like most of the rest of America that...

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Petroleum interests uber alles

Petroleum interests uber alles

Make no mistake about it, when it comes to pet industries of the State of Oklahoma Big Oil & Gas has a firm lock on the top spot.  Yes indeed, just last week the small government conservative majority in the state legislature and their rubber stamp governor passed a law banning municipalities from imposing bans on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and other oil and gas operations such as drilling within their boundaries.  The corporate bottom line drove this ramrod bit of legislation given that so much of the state’s revenues are derived from the petroleum industry at a time when a budget shortfall confronts those in control.  In contrast, the State of Maryland recent banned fracking altogether so they could evaluate the public health and economic dangers...

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