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Goodbye Tulsa World

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

We finally decided that the time has come to stop paying $17 a month to have the dead-tree version of the local rag deposited on the driveway. The World has long ago ceased being a newspaper.  I will not miss the front page evergreen stories, the full-page snake oil ads, the bizarre editorial positions or the constant drum-beating to spend any amount of tax money to construct some sort of downtown that only exists in the editorial board and publisher’s  fantasies.

What really pushed us over the edge was noticing how many times they kept jumping stories to the website.  There is plenty of room in the paper for a page dedicated to a brand of Bourbon from years past,  and clearly no shortage of space to plug the current touring musicals, but they cannot seem to make space for actual news any more. Today’s top local story is that people apparently get hot and drink lots of water when it is 100 degrees outside. Wow, shouldn’t that be tagged “Breaking News?”

One would hope that the local paper would be the place to find out about local events. Apparently only those events sponsored by the World or favored by Wayne Greene  merit a mention. Don’t even get me started on Mike Jones’ constant stream of liberal hate-speech for any knuckle-dragger that does not share his clearly superior positions. The World’s editorials frequently remind me that no group has a monopoly on intolerance and that nothing is apparently as vitally important as puppies.

Newspapers across the country are fighting a losing battle to stay relevant and stay in business. The problem is that for too many of them the business plan seems to be to do less and charge more, then wail about the Internet while giving away the precious little original content they still generate on the Internet. Thankfully there are still a few newspapers that understand that their strength lies in digging out and presenting stories, both news and investigative, not just adding their “coverage” to a story we have already heard.

I never really liked the Tulsa World, but as a former print photojournalist I still wanted my daily “fix.”  The Tribune always had much better layout, better use of visuals and frankly better writers and editors, but afternoon papers were the first to go in this Darwinian process. I can read many of the best papers online; some for free and some for a very reasonable access fee.

I’m more than willing to pay for quality content. I do not give my work away for free and do not expect anyone else to.  However, I ‘m no longer going to pay $17 a month for shipping and handling of a daily shopper.  The paper kept telling us to go to their website—so we will.

Guns in Parks or “When seconds count, the nearest park ranger is only miles away”

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Once again the gun-haters have something to scream about and once again they fail to distinguish between those who abide by the laws of the land and those who do not.  It is abundantly clear that some folks just do not understand that making or changing rules only affects the actions of those who abide by those rules.  It is already legal to have loaded firearms on property managed by the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management.

Senator Coburn’s amendment only makes it consistent across the board to also include National Parks  and Wildlife Refuges. Since some of these can be contained within others, it has been pretty complicated and those that were  trying to comply with the laws often had a job trying to find out exactly who managed the land they were hiking or camping on.

Keep in mind also, that this new provision only allows concealed carry if it is already allowed in the state where the park is located and then only if you have a carry permit. For those that enjoy hiking and such in the back country, it will be nice be able to legally protect yourself from predators, whether they have four legs or two. As far as the “worst-case scenario” that is painted by the Brady Campaign (and usually embraced by the Tulsa World) it is highly unlikely that your family is going to be staring down an AK-47 while on a picnic since most states do not allow open carry, and even then pointing or waving a firearm in a manner that appears menacing to others, known as brandishing,  is still a criminal act in most states and locales.

Just because you will be allowed to have a loaded firearm in your vehicle or on your person does not automatically transform the area in a free-fire zone. Much to the chagrin of the local daily fish-wrapper, allowing citizens to carry concealed firearms has not suddenly transformed our streets into a non-stop wild west shootout, so there is no reason to think that it will be any different in federal parks and wildlife refuges.  If anything, it means that these often isolated and remote areas will no longer be “no one will shoot back” areas, and thus be safer for the law-abiding to visit.

When seconds count, the nearest park ranger is only miles away . . .  if you can even get a signal on your cellphone.

And, for the record, I do agree that attaching this provision to the credit card legislation is goofy and says a lot about what is wrong with our Congress and the games that are played in order to get things done.

Don’t confuse entertainment with discourse

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

What do Rush Limbaugh, Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, Rosie O’Donnell and Keith Olbermann all have in common? They are entertainers.

Before you bow down and follow them or anyone else that makes their living by entertaining an audience, keep in mind that it’s all about entertainment and ratings and how much can we sell airtime for. None of these screaming or whining pundits of the airwaves has or is likely to ever run for office or actually “do” anything. At least with cage-fighting there is no pretense that it is anything else but watching gladiators.

The sooner we quit letting entertainment people drive the political agenda, the better off the republic will be. It’s bad enough that we have 24-hour entertainment masquerading as news in order to sell more pharmaceuticals, identity-theft insurance and gold investment schemes. We don’t have to let this bear-baiting in suits run the political process.

Rush and Rosie are both big fat idiots, and we are too if we let people like them drive the bus!