Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Haven't Walked the Line yet, but ...

What a tragedy to be so busy and (relatively) broke at the same time.

Otherwise the Oklahomilist might already have seen "Walk the Line," the movie tribute to Johnny Cash. Nearly everything overheard or read has been positive, but the review that gave us the most useful information was from The Phantom who, from his New York City hideaway, has seen fit to critique it. His conclusion:
This film is married boy meets married girl, boy has long bout of drug addiction, boy wins girl finally when both are free. The movie ends somewhat abruptly when June accepts his proposal onstage in Toronto, when both are free. But what happens in between makes for a good movie. There is enough of Johnny Cash's life remaining to make at least one other movie.

I liked this movie, and will see it again.
No nonsense review (but you should read the whole thing).

Contrast that with Entertainment magazine which, while giving the movie an A-, managed to toss little digs at the film's co-stars, finally concluding that they did just enough to "walk the line."

Is anyone else fed up with the pretension of genius that oozes from the entertainment press?

Zealously Revising History ... for the children

Political Correctness run amuck!
KANSAS CITY (AP) - A recent change in the photo of a well-known children’s book illustrator to remove a cigarette from his hand has drawn criticism from a Kansas City bookstore.

Pete Cowdin, owner of Reading Reptile, said he noticed the change about six weeks ago while selling a copy of "Goodnight Moon," a popular classic written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd that was first published in 1947.

The photograph of Hurd published in the book for years showed him with a cigarette in his right hand, but in new copies brought out recently by HarperCollins Publishers, the cigarette has been digitally removed.

Cowdin, surprised by the change, reacted by setting up a Web site,, to protest what he says is censorship.

"This is one of the best-selling kids’ books of all time," he said. "There are certain responsibilities and obligations on the part of the publisher as a steward - not just a marketer - to what I consider an archival document. To go in and do something like that is the pinnacle of arrogance."

And what do the arrogant say?

Kate Morgan Jackson, editor-in-chief for HarperCollins Children’s Books, said the company contends the issue is about smoking.

"One of our responsibilities is to make sure we are publishing" the book "the right way throughout the ages and making it healthy for every generation," she said.

Oh, puh-lease!

Next thing you know they'll be going back and digitally editing out all those Rod Serling cigarettes from the Twilight Zone.

To know just how "pure" the anti-smoking, revisionist history zealots are, Cowdin discovered that his web site, had been hacked and a single computer had voted thousands of times in favor of the altered picture. The poll at his site has been fixed and now registers only one vote per IP address.

The before and after pix are there, as well as the poll.

Study shows 'pot' damage

A research study involving brain scans at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York shows brain damage among adolescents who smoke marijuana.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Adolescents who regularly smoke marijuana risk damaging a key brain pathway associated with language development and some predisposed to schizophrenia may contract the illness early, researchers said on Wednesday.

Brain scans revealed microscopic abnormalities in a region of the brain that governs higher aspects of language and listening functions in adolescents who are heavy marijuana smokers.

Similar damage to the bundle of fibers, called the arcuate fasciculus, that connect the Broca's area in the left frontal lobe and the Wernicke's area in the left temporal lobe was found in the brains of marijuana smokers and schizophrenics studied.

"These findings suggest that in addition to interfering with normal brain development, heavy marijuana use in adolescents may also lead to an earlier onset of schizophrenia in individuals who are genetically predisposed to the disorder," said psychiatry professor Sanjiv Kumra of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Let's see if we understand this correctly. If you drink too much, you may two of everything. But if you smoke pot too much, you may find yourself with a second personality.

Seriously, any objective witness of friends on pot knows that personalities and habits are changed through this drug. Motivation drops, except for the motivation to get wasted.

Not that we would expect the defenders of cannabis to be objective. After nearly a half century of "pot is cool" orthodoxy, why would they change now?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Denver's Deb Davis drama develops

Looks like Drudge has discovered the Deb Davis story from Denver that we spoke of Sunday. However, they tag to the Rocky Mountain News. The RMN has quotes from a government spokesman, Carl Rusnok, of Dallas. Mr. Rusnok is a spokesman for ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement - which is responsible for security at federal locations.

The Federal Protective Service in Colorado referred inquiries to Carl Rusnok of Dallas, a spokesman for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which oversees the federal police. Both are part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Rusnok said the federal officers in Colorado told him the policy of checking the IDs of bus passengers and others entering the Federal Center began shortly after the April 1995 terrorist bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City.

"It's one of the multiple forms of security," Rusnok said. "The identification is one means of making sure that, whoever comes on base, that you know that they are who they say they are.

"There are a variety of other means that bad people could take to circumvent that, but that's why there are multiple layers of security," he said.

First, we'd like to note that there is method to the madness of having a spokesman in Dallas try to explain what is happening in Denver. Rusnok can be hazy on details and have plausible deniability for anything that might give the government a black eye. Yet at the same time he sounds authoritative.

Second, unless they can trot out some happy civilian bus riders who can chirp that they've been asked periodically for identification since April 1995, that explanation doesn't hold spit (which is slightly more viscuous than water).

Third, if they are concerned with the identities of "whoever comes on base" then they should be demanding ID from everyone who gets off at the bus stops within the center, not on the through riders.

A spokesman for RTD - Rapid Transit Denver - makes sure that RTD is not held responsible by either side in this debate over how American citizens are to be treated while riding to their jobs on public transportation. Essentially worthless verbiage.

The newspaper notes that of the woman's four children, one son is a Navy veteran, and another, 21, is fighting in Iraq. She has five grandchildren. Check out her photo and ask yourself, does she look like she fits the profile of a national security threat?

Oh, one other thing. Deb Davis apparently lost her job after missing three hours due to her arrest. Some will say, "Yeah, but it's her own fault for being stubborn. She could've kept her mouth shut, handed over her ID and kept her job."

That was likely the prevailing view of most Germans in the early days of the Third Reich too. Just keep your mouth shut. Hand over your papers. Look straight ahead and pretend that nothing is happening to those Jewish people.

Sure wouldn't want to lose your job.

Dumbing Down America: Not lovin' it

McDonald's Corporation

To whom it may concern:

"Gift" is not a verb.

We're sure you pay your advertising and promotion departments dearly for their work. Make sure you employ people who know a little bit more about the language than your average burger flipper. Otherwise, pay them accordingly.

That is all.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Dear Mister Lexus, use your signal lights!

Hey, you with the vanity plate proclaiming your ownership of one fine car:

Use your damn signal lights when changing lanes or making turns.

And this might be a good hint for you too: Those red lights are pretty important. You are supposed to stop. Really.

Yeah, that's right. We followed you for awhile with our beatup old '93 Cougar.

True. We were shaking our manly fist at you.

You couldn't hear us? Probably because you had your CD surround stereo pumped up, and your cell phone to your elegaic, sophisticated ear. We'd be glad to repeat ourselves.

"It's too bad a dumbass like that owns such a damn fine car."

That is all.

This is just Sub-par ...

Via MeeCiteeWurker:
The Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR) and Express Sports have declined to renew the lease with the Tulsa Convention Center for the 2006 Express PBR Classic scheduled July 28-30. The decision was made due to city leaders and arena management’s decision to host a competing minor league bull riding event just prior to the Built Ford Tough Series tour stop.
Funk, Oilers’ owner Jeff Lund, and PBR officials met recently with Mayor Bill LaFortune and Tulsa Chief Operating Officer Alan LaCroix in order to outline the PBR’s stance on the City hosting a Built Ford Tough Series Event immediately following a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) bull riding; the PRCA league representing the double-A standard in the sport. The PBR offered the compromise of the PRCA event occurring after the already scheduled and publicized PBR tour date in July. In the final decision, none of PBR’s suggested compromises were entertained or implemented.
Why was the Mayor of Tulsa involved in the so-called negotiations?

Why was the major league bull riding event, worth about $2 million to Tulsa, sent packing to OKC?

Michael Bates has other questions and observations.

One of the things we like about living in Broken Arrow is the proximity to Tulsa, but it's getting harder to consider it an advantage. Tulsa was once far-thinking and proud metropolis but sadly has fallen upon hard times through what many suspect is the inevitable result of political in-breeding.

Time for new blood, people.

We're not so parochial that we want an emasculated, constipated Tulsa for a neighbor. We want a vibrant city that takes the lead in creating opportunities and enhancements for a broad cross-section of the populace, not content with the mere acquisition of perks for the well connected.

There are Llama tracks on our blog!

Apparently Steve LlamaButcher wandered the virtual West recently and came across our post on the crazy Canadian ex-politico who apparently believes George Bush wants to expand his war-mongering excesses against interstellar aliens. (The more we think about it, the more we like the idea, providing that we first finish the pacification of Iraq).

Anyhoo, and fortunately for us, the Llamas found favor with our post and we have noticed a considerable uptick in visitations. Very cool, and we'll enjoy it for as long as it lasts. Come by any time, fellas; we'll leave a big ol' block of salt and a couple pack of smokes out for you.

Now for some serious favor returns: Robert LlamaButcher posts today on Christmas decorating etiquette and offers sage advice you will not find anywhere else, not even with ex-con Martha Stewart. It may shock you, offend you, even go against everything you believe as a (capitalist) Christian. But read it you must.


That is all for now.

Good news from Iraq, Hollywood!

If you need an injection of hope and fortitude over the Iraq war today, click on over to "Bruce Willis Comes Out Fighting for Iraq's Forgotten GI Heroes" at London's Sunday Times-World. In addition to a well written, objective report on the new movie Willis is shooting, it also quotes military blogger Michael Yon about the improving conditions on the ground in Iraq.

The report is so remarkable on multiple levels that it puts the smile back on your face, you know, the smile you lost about two months ago when the American press turned on the pre-2006 election cycle vicious button.

Our favorite quote:
Willis said it would be wrong for Americans to give up on Iraq just as progress is being made. “The Iraqi people want to live in a world where they can move from their homes to the market and not have to fear being killed,” he said. “I mean, doesn’t everybody want that?”
Sounds reasonable to us.

UPDATE -- 4:18 p.m. Lots of comments today, leading us to suspect that, now that Thanksgiving is over, the word has been given to unleash the dogs of anti-war as first phase of the ramp up to next year's mid-term elections.

A word about the qualifications of Bruce Willis to comment on Iraq. He's as qualified as any other American, actor or otherwise.

A word about the suitability of citing Bruce Willis or denigrating Michael Moore. The both put themselves out in the public sphere; both are fair game. We happen to think that Willis is a rational human being, and a good actor. Moore is intelligent but he uses his talents to tear down people and destroy public confidence by creating perceptions in the way he edits. It also makes him wealthy -- which is not a crime but it does cast a shadow on his motives.

Finally, as testament to an unwillingness to even consider information contary to their world view, our suggestion to do more research on the WMD issue is met with an offer for "ocean-front property in OK." His meaning: Only stupid people believe Saddam posed a threat to his neighbors and to the world. Gee, thanks.

Our conclusion: There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Besides, we already have all the Oklahoma ocean-front property we can handle.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Checkpoint Denver: One woman's story

We do a lot of ACLU bashing, mostly because we think it's deserved and at least partially because we enjoy it. However, if a report out of Denver is anywhere close to accurate, we're going to toss them a few roses.

Deborah Davis doesn't consider herself a hero. Certainly not a modern-day champion of the Constitution. Yet, in her own way, she might be a little of both.

Two months ago, this 50-year-old mother of four was reading a book while riding to work on RTD's Route 100. When the bus rolled up to the gates of the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, a guard climbed on and demanded Davis, as well as everyone else on board, produce identification.

Perhaps it was that inherent American distaste for producing papers on demand, but Davis, who had gone through this drill before, decided to pass.

That didn't go over too well.

"I told him that I did have identification, but I wasn't going to show it to him," Davis explains. "I knew that I wasn't required by law to show ID and that's why I decided I wasn't going to. The whole thing seemed to be more about compliance than security."

According to Davis, the guard proceeded to call on federal cops, who then dragged Davis off a public bus, handcuffed her, shoved her into the back seat of a police car and drove off to a police station within the Federal Center.

While I was unable to reach anyone at the Department of Homeland Security on Friday to comment on Davis' case, the offense/incident report corroborates her basic story.

Though, it should be noted that, according to the arresting officer, Davis became "argumentative" before she "was physically removed from the bus and placed under arrest.

The Denver Post article goes into the details of the charges against her. She could wind up spending 60 days in jail for failing to provide documentation that she was a what? A working mother riding public transportation to her job on a route that just happened to cross into a "federal center."

Federal Center. That sounds serious. Here's what Deb Davis' web site, Papers, says about this:

The bus she rides crosses the property of the Denver Federal Center, a collection of government offices such as the Veterans Administration, the U.S. Geological Survey, and part of the National Archives. The Denver Federal Center is not a high security area: it's not Area 51 or NORAD.
In fact, according to the signs and the flags, Uncle Sam would just love it if you would stop by and chat awhile, maybe have a cup of java.

But have your papers at the ready.

Just a quick note: While there is a federal "No Fly List" for airlines, there is no such "No Ride List" for metro bus lines. And if there were, wouldn't it make more sense to screen your passengers BEFORE they get on the bus, not in the middle of the ride to work?

Our natural inclination on matters of security is to give the government a fair amount of leeway in the post-911 environment.

But a conservative viewpoint must first and properly wish to "conserve" the basic freedoms that were bought so preciously by former generations. The right to express ourselves without fear of Big Brother. The right to associate with others of our own persuation. The right to petition for grievances.

Too often what many wish to expand is "license", not freedom. That does not appear to be the case here. No American should be forced to produce papers on public transportation unless a) there is an imminent threat against the government and b) there is reasonable grounds to suspect that the individual is a part of that threat.

Tightened security must still follow the basic law and the guarantees of the Bill of Rights. It does not mean that some chowderhead security guard, even one working for the gov'mint, can arrest citizens at whim if he's having a bad day. To follow that path is the Dark Side. Go there we must not.

We recommend you read the story and visit the web site. If you have information that would make this case make any more sense, we'd be happy to hear about it.

In the meantime, we're interested to see how the government's going to handle this. There is a balance to everything, or should be, and that includes the concepts of freedom and security.

It would be a shame to win the world war on terror but lose our basic freedoms here at home while doing so. No, that's not right. It would be a crime against humanity.