As a member of the Health Education Prevention Team at Youth Services of Tulsa, I am encouraged with Brian's piece on STD rates among young women. My question is why focus on young women? STD rates among young men, generally speaking, the partners of the young women are equally on the rise and equally as important.
Please feel free to contact Julie Trainum, Health Education Prevention Coordinator, in the future when composing articles concerning Tulsa area youth and those in the communities surrounding Tulsa.
Youth Services of Tulsa
Katharine Kelly's review of El Rey restaurant (see Restaurants in the Feb. 28-March 5, 2008, issue) dissolved any credibility she may have ever had. Perhaps in the future she will actually visit the place that she is writing about rather than just taking their advertising revenue. Ms. Fleming doesn't know how lucky she was that she left before engaging the missing staff (see Love Letters/Hate Mail in the March 20-26, 2008, issue). We weren't so fortunate. We got caught in Ms. Kelly's trap.
If in fact they are still in business, the place has no business trying to serve the public. Never have I wondered more if we had gone to the same place as the author. I noticed that the name of the restaurant was missing from Ms. Fleming's note, I wonder how that happened. In any case, restaurant management should be advised that an endorsement from Ms. Kelly will be the kiss of death in my dining network.
In Support of NCDs
Michael Bates' recent column, "Looking Under the 'Hood" (see Opinion/Editorial in the March 6-12, 2008, issue) is a spot-on analysis of the benefits of Neighborhood Conservation Districts (NCDs) as well as a sterling defense of the very public and measured process through which this issue is being vetted. I commend his assessment and agree with his conclusion that NCDs can be an effective planning tool to assist neighborhoods facing extreme development pressures.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation selected Tulsa to host the National Preservation Conference in the fall of 2008 (October 21-25).
In part, that decision was made because Tulsa is "turning the corner" when it comes to revitalizing its downtown and protecting its neighborhoods. The conference theme is Preservation in Progress-a double entendre that reinforces the fact that preservation and progress can exist in balance.
That's exactly what conservation zoning affords via NCDs-a way to respect height, massing, scale, setback and other character defining features of Tulsa's great neighborhoods.
It is nothing less than a shame, then, that some uninformed members of the real estate community choose to cry, "Wolf!" about the loss of property rights. Instead of fretting about individual property rights, it's time Tulsans recognize the value of the whole. "The tout ensemble" as it is known in New Orleans. And, in anticipation of those that would say that such "controls" negatively impact property values, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has hard evidence that the opposite is true.
NCDs take the larger view; not the narrow single-interest approach. As such, they should be afforded the opportunity to prove themselves as legitimate means to achieve the legitimate end of preservation.
Daniel G. Carey
National Trust for Historic Preservation
I enjoyed "Capturing The Current Vibe" (see the story in the March 6-12, 2008, issue), Gary Hizer's article on local producers/engineers but would like to add to it. Some of the other producers shaping the current state of Tulsa music are Jung Song with his large clientele and consistently high quality, Ace Eversole with his work with regionally and nationally successful artists and Mike Peace with his work with his recent work with Tulsa legends Don White and Tom Skinner.
Freakishly creative acts like Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and Tae Maeyulks often are found in Brian Prior's studio. Several of the better players in town swear by Brian Hansen. There are of course many others making a significant contribution to our local scene.
Among the most talented people working in this field in Tulsa are Brad Mitcho, Jared Tyler and James Johnson. Brad Mitcho is a first call for any band trying to put together a polished modern rock sound. He got his own band, Molly's Yes, signed to Republic. I haven't heard an album this year that shows more production chops than RadioRadio's album Watch 'Em All Come Running. Speaking of RadioRadio, Jared Tyler will be tracking some of their next recording. There isn't a more complete package of musicianship, experience with national artists, finely tuned ears and raw creativity than his. Perhaps the best local album I've heard was a demo he did in three days. I liked it more than multi-Grammy winner's Russ Tileman's renderings of the same songs.
Jesse Aycock's album, Life's Ladder, is a masterful blend of great tones and great players expertly gathered and guided. James Johnsonalso had a hand in engineering this record. I have not encountered a more finely tuned set of ears in this town than James'. Increasingly he is called to work on projects out of state but he has left and continues to leave an indelible mark on local musicians and the people who listen to them.
Racism in the Presidential Race
Down here in the "Redneck Capital of the World," this country-fried grandma has four saints, Mother Teresa, Anita Hill, Reba McEntire, and Geraldine Ferraro.
I give these women "heavenly hostess" status because they told our good ole boys how the cow ate the cabbage.
Ferraro is under fire from the Barack Obama presidential campaign that demanded and caused her to drop out of the Hillary Clinton gang.
Her "sin" was saying, "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position and if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position."
For telling the truth about our Democratic front-runner, Obama blasted her for "wrong-headed" remarks and sent his dogs out to bark "she's a racist."
Obama acts like some of my African-American neighbors who have a chip on their shoulders.
They dare you to criticize them and when you, a white person, do that, they yell "you're a racist."
There is not a racist bone in Ferraro's body.
When she spoke at a 1983 Tulsa rally, Julian Bond, a civil rights leader, said he held her purse and some day that will be considered an honor.
It was when she was on the 1984 "Fritz and Tits" ticket as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee.
And she's still honorable sticking up for another smart, well-informed woman named Hillary.
Virginia Blue Jeans Jenner
Rant on Oklahoma
Oklahomans have long said, "That God for Mississippi or we'd be last in everything." Having observed our state government in action recently, I think that's going to change. Soon people in Mississippi will be saying, "That God for Oklahoma or we'd etc. etc." Our state politicians seem to be hell-bent on spiraling us down to third world status. They seem to seek a dirt road, one-room school, sod-house throwback nirvana of some kind.
Pandering politicians motivated only by personal ambitions, scream out to the public, "Vote for me, I just cut your taxes again." That translates to: "Vote for me, I just made sure Oklahoma's schools and roads will remain among the worst in the nation." Is there no one in the state legislature who has the backbone to stand up to these people and say stop! Enough is enough? If you're gonna have a dance, you gotta pay the band.
Also, could someone give me more information on the "rainy day" fund which now has over a half-billon dollars in it? What constitutes a "rainy day" and who makes that decision? Don't we have the Red Cross, FEMA, insurance, the National Guard, etc. etc. for such occasions? Oklahoma has recently suffered through crippling ice storms, collapsing bridges, tornadoes, floods, droughts and crop failures. I haven't heard of $1.00 being spent on these problems, that came from that fund. Just a portion of it would fully fund and upgrade our schools. Instead, we cut school budgets and lay off teachers. Pity the children, they are the ones paying for all this nonsense.
Oklahoma pumps about 60 million barrels of oil out of the ground each year. That oil is taxed at $7.00 a barrel at the wellhead, as soon as it comes out of the ground. Do the math. That's 420 million dollars going into state coffers. And that's just from one source, one.
Where does all that money go? Oh, silly me, I forgot. It goes into the "Rainy Day" fund.
Oh, boy! In May, thanks to the stimulus package, the federal government will be sending out checks to most Americans in the $300-$600 range, to be spent on whatever you want. Woo-hoo, free money! Or is it free? Just where is all this money going to come from?
Well, government gets its money from three sources: taxes, borrowing, and printing. If they're going to pay for it with taxes, and they're not taxing us now (that would defeat the point of the "stimulus" package), then they must be planning to take it out of future taxes. But if they don't cut government spending somewhere, the only way taxes can pay for it is by raising taxes. If they're going to borrow more money (through Treasury Bills, bonds, etc), they won't have to raise taxes.
But the federal government is already borrowed to the hilt. The national debt continues to increase every year, especially for our out-of-control military spending, and the debt is so massive that other countries are losing faith in the U.S. dollar, which is why the dollar is being devalued compared to other currencies. How much more can they borrow if fewer people believe that the goverment (and taxpayers) will pay it back?
Governments can't really go bankrupt, but they can sure do a lot of harm to the economy while trying to. Lastly, they can print more money. Or they could, except that under the current system, the Federal Reserve and not the government decides how much money should be added to the economy. The law could be changed, but that would be considered a rather drastic change to our financial system.
Since its creation in 1913, the Fed has had a nasty habit of increasing our money supply every year, and thus devaluing our earnings and savings, while trying to offer artificial and unsustainable "boosts" to the economy. In fact, what the Fed does is much like what the current administration is hoping to do with the stimulus package. Like eating a candy bar, the "sugar rush" of the extra money will help temporarily, but without the means to sustain it, there will necessarily be a corresponding fall or crash.
Sustainable economic growth requires balancing supply and demand. Production must be geared towards satisfying consumers' most urgent wants first, and to their less urgent wants secondarily. Consumers tell producers what to produce not only by what they're willing to buy, but by what they're not willing to buy, and by how much money they're willing to save and invest instead of spending right away. Prices are the means of conveying this information to producers, including the "prices" of interest rates.
Interventions in the economy in the form of easy credit, increased money supplies, or stimulus packages are unsustainable because they upset the balance between supply and demand, not improve it. Once the balance is upset, the economy necessarily has to reconfigure itself and find a new equilibrium, a new point of balance. The result of intervention is a zero sum game, with both net winners and net losers to make up the balance. The best thing Americans can do with their stimulus check is not to spend it, but to use it towards their debt.
Or, if you're one of the few Americans not in debt, invest the money. If we do that, the "boost" to the economy may not be as great, but the inevitable crash that follows won't be as great, either.
Michael A. Clem
Last week, UTW with the always popular price of free, presented an article to it's readers containing information about numerous parties taking unfair and non-prosecutable advantage of the state's tax laws (see "Go Ahead and Jump" in the Feb. 28-March 5, 2008, issue).
The "other" Tulsa newspaper with a price printed on the top of it's frontpage, contained most important news concerning woodchip piles and "unfair" HB 1804... go figure.
I do wish Hillary'd do what Virginia Jenner suggests (see "Love Letters/Hate Mail" in the Feb. 28-March 5, 2008, issue). Fun to watch! But howzabout doing it this way: Only women vote in one series of elections, then only men. Nothing else would change, and it'd be easy to monitor. Just try to imagine the differences in campaign procedures...the mind reels.
Next subject: smoking (see "Smoke and Fears" in the Feb. 28-March 5, 2008, issue). I once had a subscription to "The Oldie," a British publication for us of a certain age, sent to me as a gift by an old Brit friend in the English's long tradition of subtly insulting Americans every chance they get, out of pure unrecognized envy. Anyway, they had an M.D. on staff who said if you're over 50 and don't smoke, you should start--not a lot, maybe just a ciggy after each meal and one with your nightcap. Why? Because well over 90 percent of Brits in Alzheimer's hospitals never smoked (the percentage in America is about 80 percent). He says you're not gonna hurt your lungs with a few puffs in the last 40 years of your life, compared to the apparent advantage of having a better chance at a sound mind. He admits it'd be swell to have a long-term test with very weak nicotine patches worn by nonsmokers from early adulthood, or possibly nicotinic acid pills, but it's hard to argue with this compelling statistic.
Also, the Brits have a much lower incidence of lung cancer among smokers, compared to Americans of equal tobacco use. This could be because Brits generally use air-cured tobacco, while American leaves are flue-dried. Remember the ancient Lucky Strike slogan, "It's Toasted"? Oh well.
I miss the faint aroma of cigar smoke at TU football games; I never could spot the guy but the scent was exactly the same over decades. Memories!
Last October there was a news story about Steve Eaton of Jenks having been turned down by the Jenks Planning Commission and, on appeal, the City Council a request for a permit to install and use a small grass airstrip on land he owns West of the proposed River Development South of the Creek Turnpike. The proposed strip was to be private for his own use and had been approved by the FAA. Mr. Eaton is reported to have stated that there would be no more than one operation per day (and that would only be under clear weather VFR conditions since his plane is a Piper Cub) The published story did not give details as to the length of the strip.
The permit application was opposed by the Developer and by a Mr. Gentner Drummond who was representing the residents of Aberdeen Falls, an up-scale residential development to the West of Mr. Eaton's property. Mr. Drummond is reported to have stated that he owns Downtown Airpark, Northwest of Downtown Tulsa and that about 25 planes a day land and take off from that Airpark without permission. From my 63 years as an active pilot, and knowledge of Downtown Airpark, it is quite clear that he is comparing "apples to oranges". Downtown has a paved runway, has had lights and has been in existence for years. If Mr. Drummond does not want the runway used, he should paint a large "X" in the center of the field, indicating to pilots it is closed. This is clearly a case of people in ignorance opposing another's use of his property. Since those opposed have substantial funds to pursue the case, they have bought off the governing body members.
It is sad that the first thing people do when something new is proposed is to mount a major project in opposition. If they, with their funds, wanted to be fair, they should locate some flat land of equivalent size, purchase it, and trade it for that of Mr. Eaton. Instead, they use their greater clout with the political office holders to, in effect, deny Mr. Eaton the private use of his land, without due compensation. There is too much of this sort of thing going on in the U.S. today, and it is rapidly taking away our GOD given freedoms.
Robert W. McDowell, Jr.
Rail Wail, Part 2
In response to Dr. Randi Eldevik's Rail Wail (see "Love Letters/Hate Mail in the Feb. 21-27, 2008, issue), Minneapolis, MN is HARDLY the positive example of a middle-sized city that has just recently began light rail transport. It is still government-subsidized.
Bates' argument for jitney service (see "Should Tulsa Take the Trolley?" in the Jan. 10-16, 2008, issue) probably needs a bit of polish. But, he visited a much larger issue of government-subsidized and controlled transit.
If the government owned and controlled the automobile industry like it controls and owns the transit industry, the car of choice would be the Yugo, available only in one color, puke gray. The engine would start only on Sundays, after church.
Professor Eldevik totally missed Bates' point with the mention of Richard Roger's book, Cities For a Small Planet, and the advantages of rail. I am surprised a learned scholar of Oklahoma State University has not gone beyond the standard, tired, belabored cliches supporting transit. As a bicyclist, I am all for transit. The Broken Arrow Expressway is really a very nice wide 60+ foot bike path. The current problem? There are too many motorists who insist on driving their SUV's to spinning class and making other silly short trips to the grocery store right across the street. Use transit to get motorists off the road. What's left? A whole lotta BIKE paths.
Bates was not belaboring the limited ink space on UTW against the eventual demise of the single-occupant automobile, the unsustainability of auto-centric cities, or even the energy efficiency of rail to move people. NEW rail systems are FAILURES in EVERY American cities because it is controlled, owned, and heavily regulated by government. Tulsa's first profitable and private transit system ended on 1 June 1921.
Tulsa Transit is the present day bastard descendant of that system used to ferry the cheap kitchen help from Greenwood to Maple Ridge. Hannibal
Johnson, Black Wall Street: From Riot to Renaissance in Tulsa's Historic Greenwood District, Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum (1998). Tulsa Transit is a failure as a bus system. As long as the City owns and operates the system, there's every reason to expect Tulsa Transit will be a failure as a rail operator. Tulsa Transit and its brothers all over America have NO profit motive to meet the many needs, to include utilitarian and emotional, of the traveling public. If Tulsa Transit's employee parking lot is any indication, even Mr. Boatwright, the general manager, and his employees, the bus drivers, don't ride the bus for their basic transportation needs.
If Tulsa Transit can't even make transit work for its own employees, shouldn't we look for another business model for transit? Getting government out of the business of meeting the needs of the traveling public worked great for the airlines.
Jet Blue would not be possible without airline deregulation. Stylish, 5.4 MHz cordless telephones would not be possible without deregulation either. We would still be leasing black, rotary dial phones from the old AT&T, before its break-up. Divest Tulsa Transit to private operators. Auction the curb rights, similar to the FCC's frequency sales and TV and radio licensing. Deregulate transit. Daniel B. Klein, Adrian T. Moore, Binyam Reja, Curb Rights: A Foundation for Free Enterprise in Urban Transit, Brookings Institution Press (1997).
It is tragic that so many citizens believe that we live in a democracy instead of the republic that our Founders established. The word "democracy" does not appear in the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, or any of our State Constitutions. It does appear in The Federalist Papers where the Founders wrote about their fear of it. We pledge allegiance to our flag and to the "republic" for which it stands. A republic is rule by law. A democracy is rule by majority, which can lead to mob rule.
Our republic is organized to protect our natural or God-given rights. To protect these rights, we have a U.S. Constitution that both citizens and government officials are required to obey. Futhermore, our U.S. Constitution states: "The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union, a republican form of government." Any other system-democracy, dictatorship, monarchy, or oligarchy-is organized to restrict individual rights to the degree determined by the whims of those in charge. Go to www.thenewamerican.com for details. Search: rights.
Unfortunately, we citizens have allowed federal officials to violate their oath of office so that about 80% of federal legislation today is unconstitutional, and it has restricted our rights. Unless enough citizens wake up and demand that federal officials obey our Constitution, we soon will be living in one of the other four systems.
Kathie Diane Shaffer
13782 DeFoe Avenue
Sylmar, CA 91342
Withdraw for the Olympics
America, the shining city on the hill, a beacon for liberty and justice should not celebrate tyranny by participating in the upcoming Olympics. I commend Steven Spielberg for his refusing to become the artistic advisor for the Olympic Games in China due to their involvement in the Darfur crisis.
Furthermore, I encourage the America's Olympic team to withdraw from participation in this year's Games. Not only because of China's involvement in Darfur but for the decades of suffering endured by many at the hands of this communist regime.
This regime has a long list of evil activities. For example, they systematically imprison, torture, and murder Christians and Christian missionaries. In 1989, they slaughtered thousands of student demonstrators at Tiananmen Square. They murder innocent children through forced abortions and use slave labor for many of the cheap products Americans purchase.
Additionally, America should withdraw from the United Nations and stop legitimizing this regime and others like it on a world stage as a partner in "world peace."
Each time America works with China internationally, developing trade treaties and voting with them as an "equal" voice we perpetuate Chinese suffering. The message America needs to send to the Chinese people by withdrawing from the Olympics and the UN is that freedom is not for a few but is a gift to all from the hand of God.
Phillip W. Smith
4057 NW 61st Street
Oklahoma City, OK 72112
Dear Governor Henry:
Among the things I listed in my Tulsa World column "Some Things Are More Stupid Than Others!" is the notion that the lottery is good for Oklahoma. I stated, "My observations at this stage of life of what I see is really, really stupid here in Oklahoma. Listed, but not necessarily in this order of priority, are the following: the Oklahoma Lottery..." And then I listed other troubles. The article continued:
Mark your calendar for the year 2010 and compare the present Oklahoma education budget to the budget this year. Yes, the funds allocated from the lottery will go exclusively to education. Guess what? The actual budgeted expenditures will be a fraction of the lottery contributions. Beneficial to education? Hardly! We can already see the social cost.
Here we are in Oklahoma with the distinction of having the most casinos outside of Nevada. I was a visiting professor in Guadalajara, Mexico, Instituto Techologico y de Estudios Suraffle on a fleet of cars and made millions. My guess is that 95 percent went straight into the university coffers. Oklahomans, we have been sold down the river with the lottery. That's stupid. (Need page #)
In his Tulsa World editorial, "Repeal the state lottery? Not likely" (April 1, 2007), David Averill stated,
The lottery proposal overwhelmingly approved by voters on Nov. 2, 2004, was originally projected to generate $413 million in ticket sales its first year. In December 2006, after a few months sales experience, the Lottery Commission scaled back that admittedly optimistic projection to $244 million. State education's share is 30 percent of ticket sales during the first two years, 35 percent after that. The revised sales projections meant that Oklahoma education would receive $83.6 million [in 2007]. (p. G6)
Sales in 2008 are expected to be $208.2 million with $71.6 million going to education. According to World Capitol Bureau reporter Angel Riggs, "So far, the 18-month-old lottery has contributed more than $104 million to Oklahoma education, lottery officials say."
The June 13, 2007, Tulsa World editorial ("Budget Blunder: Colleges Left Holding the Bag") stated, "State lottery proceeds fell short of the amount needed to make payments on a 2005 higher education capital improvements bond issue and law makers failed to appropriate money to colleges and universities to make up the difference" (p. A12). The September 24, 2007, editorial ("Lottery Projections: Have They Created Budget Chaos?") stated, "State Senate co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee of Oklahoma City, one of the GOP critics, said that inaccurate lottery revenue projections have created chaos in budgeting for common and higher education and Career Tech" (A15).
In the January 2, 2008, Tulsa World ("Bigger Lottery Prizes a Success Elsewhere"), Angel Riggs stated, "But critics, already skeptical of lottery projections, aren't convinced that cutting the mandated profit will lead to more sales" (A15). In addition, "The lottery is expected to generate nearly $72 million to education this fiscal year, based on anticipated sales of more than $208 million ("Prize Fix: Lottery Tweaking Needed," Tulsa World, A20). Barbara Hoberock reported, "Senate Co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said inaccurate projections about lottery profits have created chaos in budgeting for higher education, common education and Career Tech" ("Lottery Mandate Stirs Debate," September 20, 2007, Tulsa World, D1).
Here we are starting 2008, and the lottery is not on target.
The lottery has failed education and created all kinds of personal problems for the citizens of Oklahoma. Sandy Garrett has proposed a solution: "Arrange for the money to go to school districts without first passing it through the Legislature" ("It's school money," January 21, 2008, Tulsa World, p. A13).
In the January 12, 2008, Tulsa World ("Send Lottery Funds Directly to Schools, Garrett Proposes"), Angel Ross reported,
State Superintendent Sandy Garrett said Thursday that lottery funds raised for Oklahoma schools should be given directly to each district, rather than allowing the Legislature to determine how the money is spent. . . . Under Garrett's proposal, school districts would receive a check directly from the lottery. The amount could be based on the district's average daily attendance.
This is an excellent idea.
Finally, Ken Neal's Tulsa World editorial ("Playing the Lottery," November 25, 2007, G6) sums this all up:
The New York Times recently reported that there are lotteries in 42 sates, most of them sold as a way to "fund" education.
The Times found that the lotteries accounted for a few percentage points of school budgets. No state got more than 5 percent of total school spending from lotteries.
According to the Times, the Sooner state got a whopping half percent of its education money from the lottery.
In September, the World calculated that the money tat finally trickled down to education was a little more than 2 percent of the nearly $4 billion spent on all phases of education in Oklahoma. But whether a half percent or more than 2 percent, the portion of school financing provided by the lottery is piddling.
That's not a surprise. . . .The constitutional amendment that Oklahomans approved by nearly 2-1 contains this language: The Legislature "shall not use funds from the Trust Fund to supplant or replace other state funds supporting common education, higher education and career and technology education."
But it looks as though the lawmakers are doing that very thing.
Education's share of state appropriations has declined from 37.5 percent to 35.5 percent, including the lottery and by about the same percentage not considering the lottery. . . . After the disaster of overestimating lottery funds last year, state officials dropped the estimate of lottery income from $111 million to $77 million for fiscal 2008.
This is exactly what I said in my original Tulsa World news column. Oklahomans have been duped, scammed, and cheated. The money issue is only a token of the social cost that gambling has on individuals and families.
What is the answer? Proverbs 22:3 states, "A wise man sees danger and a fool goes his merry way." Let's get rid of the lottery!
R. Henry Migliore
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