The United States of Oceania?

The United States of Oceania?

We have survived into the second week of President Trump’s America and to say this has been a newsworthy few days is an understatement.  In just over one week there have been over a dozen Presidential Executive Orders including some that impose unconstitutional overreach on specific segments of the population.  Through it all, the President has opted to attempt to underscore his legitimacy by floating the rightwing go-to argument of pervasive voter fraud.  This is playing out before the backdrop of the overarching intertwined issues of which facts, (empirical, experiential or “alternative”) will determine truth, who will control the frame of the message and which source or sources will be recognized as a legitimate deliverers of it.  This real...

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New year, new era, newspeak

New year, new era, newspeak

Regular readers may have noted that I have on occasion made the statement “let it never be said we do not live in interesting times.”  I will now add to that particular train thought to never let it be said that America is not unique among nations.  The USA is indeed the occupant of a category unto itself.  Have we become our own worst enemy?  We seem to have come full circle.  Allow me to explain. As one who served in the armed forces during height of the Cold War, I was well indoctrinated in the evils of the totalitarian system which controlled our then adversary.  I recall that the contrast between their system and ours was quite stark.  The one caveat then that stood out to me most about our government and that of the old Soviet Union was the...

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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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Arming our public schools

Arming our public schools

The deeply ingrained firearm culture has expanded yet again, this time to Oklahoma public schools.  Governor Mary Fallin signed off on House Bill 2014 earlier this week.  This new law authored by freshman representative Jeff Coody of HD 63 (Lawton) is intended to provide an extra level of security by allowing a trained school employee to carry a handgun on school property.  The authorized employee will be required to be a reserve peace officer or hold a security guard license.  This piece of legislation moved through the legislative process with relative ease.  The best part of it was the amendment by Senator Don Barrington (R-Lawton) which saves the state from funding the new law.  The cost of the required training will be relegated to the respective school...

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The Oklahoma Hall of Shame rapid expansion week

The Oklahoma Hall of Shame rapid expansion week

Since the late evening hours of this past Sunday when the infamous OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity racist chant video went viral, I have had to stop myself multiple times from making this post.  There have been other news items this week worthy of admission to this expansion of the Hall of Shame.  They include the passage of HB 1125 by the State House of Representatives which would eliminate state issued marriage licenses thereby not recognizing same-sex marriages and Governor Mary Fallin publicly demanding the benefit of federal subsidies for her constituents under the Affordable Care Act while still rooting for its overturning by the pending Supreme Court ruling.  However, with the amount of fallout that is raining down over the SAE video and public reaction...

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