I Read The News Today, Oh Boy... (5/15/16)

Try Not To Cry

Sometimes your mind and your emotions reach a point that they click 'off' as a sort of survival mechanism. That's what happened to me this week as I sat at Mom's Family Diner (41st & Mingo. Oh My-Baby-Elvis-in-a-Manger IS IT GLORIOUS!) catching up on the week's news.

Clearly I should have been drinking something stronger than coffee. Then again, it was 6:30 in the morning.

E.W. MarlandA film about Oklahoma oil giant and later governor E.W. Marland is coming out this week. An earlier version was scrapped after the Marland Estate discovered the filmmakers had juiced up the plot a bit.

For those who don't know, Marland had made and lost a fortune before coming to Oklahoma in the 1920s. He negotiated unheard of concessions from local tribes in order to drill, controlled 10% of the world's oil supply for a time, built a mansion on the Oklahoma praries, brought fox-hunting and other upper-crust vanities to the plains, instituted health coverage and other worker benefits decades before anyone DID that, and then fell prey to a hostile takeover by J.P. Morgan and his financial machine, losing everything. He later came back as the Governor who brought the New Deal to Oklahoma. 

Not intriguing enough? I left out that he and his first wife adopted the son and daughter of her sister. After his wife died, Marland had the adoption of his daughter, Lydie, annulled so that he could MARRY her. It was quite the scandal. Not Kardashian enough for Hollywood, though. *sheesh*

The new one is apparently much more on target, for those of you hung up on facts and reality. Unlike, for instance...

00000klahomaOur State Legislature, which is having trouble coming up with a solution to having so much of the weird crap they pass declared unconstitutional.

No, no... they're not going to start writing constitutionally viable legislation - don't be stupid. They're trying to change the process so that the current bi-partisan Judicial Nominating Committee has only a symbolic role, and the legislature itself gets to pretty much pick appellate judges across the state.

Which would be, arguably, unconstitutional. Our state constitution has this whacky idea about three branches of government, balancing one another in some convoluted way. It wouldn't matter, though, because - well, you get the idea.

I realize the courts and all those civil liberties are a nuisance. How are we supposed to get anything done if we have to remain consistent with our founding values? Speaking of which...

Sally KernSally Kern gave her farewell speech this week. She's term-limited, along with dozens of other current legislators. I don't know if they all make dramatic exits, or just the most loathsome of them.

Kern wanted to make sure to emphasize one last time that gays are worse than terrorist. That the 'gay agenda' (also known as 'The Bill of Rights') has destroyed more lives than, say, Timothy McVeigh.

There are 19 undersized chairs not far from where she gave this speech representing families who might disagree.

She trotted out the usual "public schools spend all day every day trying to turn your kids into trannies" argument. No wonder they resent funding us.

I particularly liked this bit:

"The problem is we're trying to change the definition of what sin is, when God is not changing the definition."

That, in a nutshell, is the mindset of far too many of our elected leaders. But it's not their job to define sin and write it into or out of law. There is no scenario in which a governmental body in the United States has any business claiming to act on God's behalf; our legislature does it with such regularity that it hardly even registers.

I'm telling you, religious folks - it's not doing your faith any favors to sign it over to a bunch of small-town rodeo clowns. Surely the Lord made some sort of provision for you to find your eternal way besides the legislative brilliance of Josh Brecheen or John Bennett?

Ellen on the PhoneWhile Kern & Co. are condeming the gay community in the name of the public good, one prominent lesbian was instead doing public good. Ellen DeGeneres checked in with her favorite librarian this week - Kirby Mackenzie at Union's McAuliffe Elementary - to learn more about the slashing and burning of public ed in Oklahoma.

Yes, once again we're making national news for something horrifying.

Ellen gave McAuliffe $25,000 to help keep their summer reading program going. Of course we know what's really behind this - liberals and their *shiver* books. Books are worse than terrorism. 

You know the rest of the news. 

We're cutting teachers. We're cutting activities. We're cutting support positions. We're destroying what was a struggling educational system to begin with, all so we can maintain the cascading series of cuts for the wealthiest across the state - cuts which are still deepening as the pillaging and burning increase.

In case you haven't noticed, the prosperity hasn't yet "trickled down." 

Don't worry, however, that our state legislators are feeling the slightest burden or concern over the destruction they've wrought - because American Ninja Warrior is coming to the Capitol! 

American Ninja WarriorThank God Oklahoma is currently so prosperous and problem-free that our legislature - with very few days left in the handful they're actually expected to work - has time for this. I'd hate for there to be any, like... issues distracting them right now.

And yes, I am hostile about it - thank you for asking. 

From The Oklahoman

The show got a free permit to use the public grounds outside the Capitol. A state tax credit will help defray some of the production costs. There are about 200 people involved in the shoot.

Sen HoltWe're paying them to come here and shut down the Capitol for a week to use as a playground. What a comfort to all of those kids who can no longer take art, band, or athletics - at least SOMEONE still gets activities and playtime at taxpayer expense. They're just much older.

"This brings a lot of people and a lot of investment into Oklahoma City and that's good in itself, but I think the real value is the exposure this continues to give our city around the country," Holt said.

I'm trying to think of a nice way to put this. A professional way. A family-friendly way. One that doesn't start with a 'B' and end with an 'ullsh*t'. 

Public education is an "investment." Infrastructure is an "investment." Time spent actually dealing with the issues you were elected to deal with is an "investment."

This is a state-financed circus for legislators who've destroyed the economy and refuse to take the least bit of responsibility, instead shifting the fallout onto children, the elderly, and the poor, in order to maintain their groveling obeisance to their fiscal overlords. "Investment?" 

I got into a bit of a Twitter argument with Senator Holt over this. He was a bit condescending, but not everyone sees me as the lovable, provocative, voice-of-the-people type I really am.  

He insists a few shots of the Capitol in the background will make people want to vacation here and stuff. He then told me if I'd read the papers I'd see that our legislature is working plenty hard to revive the economy without doing so almost entirely at the expense of the weakest members of society.  

He and I must read different papers. 

"There's no down side to the show being here," said Sue Hollenbeck, director of sports business for the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau. "It's a family friendly, positive show. It's about good quality competition. It's about fitness."

She said it even feels a little "Land Run-ish."

"You're running as fast as you can to get what you can."

Did we seriously just compare this Ninja Warrior TV show to the Land Runs? I mean... I suppose there are a few similarities.

The Land Runs were promoted as events of amazing opportunity, when in reality they primarily served those already in power. Much of the best land was pre-claimed by surveyors, soldiers, and other government employees who used their connections and power to beat the system. We don't celebrate that part as much, other than adding 'Sooner' to 'Boomer' in that song, but 3 out of 4 people who ran went away empty-handed, often thwarted by those who'd never broken a sweat. They didn't need to - they were already hooked up by the folks making the rules.

As The Lost Ogle documented, our Congress is similarly giddy over the chance to use even more of your tax dollars getting private tours of the set and meeting sweaty people in tights. If there are a few leftovers, they'll allow a few members of the public to somehow benefit from this spectacle. 

Like the show, the Land Runs celebrated the fastest and the strongest - but especially those willing to step over anyone between them and what they wanted. They were in some ways the ultimate homage to the Social Darwinism of the times - to hell with the community, I'm getting MINE.

That's fine for a game show, or a sporting event, or whatever this is. I wish it weren't such a celebrated norm for the folks supposedly representing the rest of our state. 

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