Former Heritage Hall star Wes Welker sings New Kids on the Blog. What’s better than that?
It’s time to see how much attention you’ve been paying to the news in the past week or so. From The Oklahoman’s news copy editors and designers, here’s a quiz.
1. A dream came true for Luke Wilson, 8, of Choctaw when he:
a) Rode “shotgun” on a fire truck on the way to a downtown blaze.
b) Was called up on stage to sing with his favorite star, Tim McGraw.
c) Swam with dolphins in the Florida Keys.
2. For the Bowlware family, which will meet for the 100th time this year, reunions are a time for:
a) Pranks, including smoky fireworks that mimic trouble under the hoods of cars.
b) Domino tournaments. They give a life-sized trophy to the annual winner.
c) Lots of sunscreen. Family members leave outdoor-based reunions with third-degree sunburns.
3. A study confirmed cancer is rare in young children, but more common in older kids, especially white males. It found the disease is most common in the:
4. Walter Koenig, who played Chekov on “Star Trek,” says he’ll be best man when fellow actor George Takei, who played Sulu, marries:
a) Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura.
b) His high school sweetheart.
c) His long-time same-sex partner in California.
5. At a breakfast in Sioux Falls, S.D., Democrat Barack Obama caught:
a) Three voters by the lapels and persuaded them to vote for him.
b) Three big donations for his swelling campaign fund.
c) Three pancakes tossed by the breakfast chef.
6. The nation’s first full-scale uranium enrichment factory took 18 months to build, but will require 15 years to clean up and tear down. The complex is at:
a) Oak Ridge, Tenn.
b) Three Mile Island, Penn.
c) Roswell, N.M.
7. Isaac Hanson of the band Hanson recently was treated for deep vein thrombosis. What is it?
a) Abnormal blood clotting.
b) Severe bruising.
c) A skinned knee.
8. “Leave It To Beaver” actor Jerry Mathers just turned:
9. After Sunday, most airline passengers won’t have to bother with this:
a) Checked baggage, as it’ll be too expensive.
b) Paper tickets as a global group representing 240 airlines is eliminating them.
c) Maps, in case the pilot gets lost.
10. The Oklahoma City School Board voted to increase this:
a) Field trips.
b) Books in school libraries.
c) Cost of lunch.
11. A program at Murray State College is helping working adults to become:
b) Teachers for at-risk students.
c) Registered nurses
12. Space shuttle Discovery did this just before it docked with the international space station:
a) Asked for permission to come aboard and was denied, but this was just a joke.
b) Eyeballed the docking connection and declared it a round hole for the shuttle’s square peg.
c) A slow backflip to look for damage because of unexpected damage to the launch pad.
13. Astronauts have put a Japanese laboratory, “Kibo,” into place at the international space station. The name means:
14. Astronauts have fixed what component of the international space station?
a) The air conditioning – it’s always a sunny day in outer space.
b) The toilet – it was broken for more than a week.
c) The television – they missed the political news.
15. What Sen. Edward M. Kennedy declared when he got out of brain surgery:
a) “I feel like a million bucks. I think I’ll do that again tomorrow.”
c) “I’m grateful to all who have prayed for my recovery.”
How did you do on the quiz? Here are the correct answers:
1-B; 2-A; 3-A; 4-C; 5-C; 6-A; 7-A; 8-B; 9-B; 10-C; 11-C; 12-C; 13-B; 14-B; 15-A
Sometimes it’s easy to miss an event, so here’s a look back at the past week or so to help bring you up to date:
It was July of 2004. Oklahoma Democrats had named state Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan and his wife, Lori, to be delegates at the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
McMahan called staffer Tim Arbaugh into his office and announced the good news, then tempered it by saying the McMahans couldn’t afford the trip, Arbaugh testified Thursday.
Arbaugh, who headed the abstract division of the auditor’s office, said his boss asked him to call abstract company owner Steve Phipps and ask for $3,500 to help pay their expenses.
Phipps was no stranger to helping McMahan. In earlier testimony, Phipps said he provided more than $150,000 illegally to McMahan’s 2002 campaign, including $27,000 he gave directly to Lori McMahan. He said he also paid for trips for the McMahans and bought expensive jewelry for the auditor’s wife.
Arbaugh testified he knew about some of the previous crimes. But this was the first time McMahan had asked so overtly for Arbaugh to be a bag man, Arbaugh said.
He said he called Phipps from his cell phone while sitting in McMahan’s office and explained the situation. The request surprised Phipps as much as it had surprised him, Artbaugh said.
However, Phipps agreed to provide the cash, Arbaugh testified.
A few days later, Phipps met Arbaugh for lunch and gave him an envelope containing the $3,500, Arbaugh testified.
Upon his return to the state Capitol, Arbaugh said, he went straight to McMahan’s office and delivered the envelope.
“What did he do?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Roberts asked.
“He put the envelope in the pocket of his coat and said, ‘Thank you,’ “Arbaugh said.
MUSKOGEE — Records from Clifton Scott’s last two political campaigns tend to validate at least part of a claim made Wednesday on the witness stand by the prosecution’s star witness, Steve Phipps.
Phipps claimed that he channeled money into the former state auditor’s campaigns beginning around 1988 and ending in 1998, the last time Scott ran for office.
Earlier this year, The Oklahoman pulled Scott’s campaign records from a warehouse near the Capitol to see whether Phipps attemped to buy influence with Jeff McMahan’s predecessor.
Those records show thousands of dollars in contributions from the same people who Phipps said acted as straw donors, at his request, for other campaigns. Many of them worked for Phipps’ abstract companies.
Phipps claims Scott, like McMahan, knowingly took the money and provided special favors to benefit his abstract companies, which the auditor’s office regulates. Both Scott and McMahan deny that claim.
“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” has raked in more than $215 million at the box office. The reaction from audience members have been mixed. Some Indy fans were satisfied with the movie while others said they were disappointed.
The movie makers spend $185 to create the action-packed film. Before I went to see the film I browsed the online reviews and saw where many fans described the movie as “boring” and “over the top.” USA Today and Rolling Stone gave the movie two-and-a-half out of four stars and Entertainment Weekly gave it a B minus.
Although I thought the movie was okay, it definitely wasn’t my favorite Indiana Jones movie. That honor goes to “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” What are you thoughts on the latest Indiana Jones movie?
Straw donors gave a total of $77,600 to Jeff McMahan’s campaign, using money supplied — illegally — by businessman Steve Phipps.
Turns out, that barely scratched the surface of Phipps’ generosity to McMahan’s first political campaign.
Phipps testified Tuesday that he and business partners Gene Stipe and Larry Witt contributed a total of $157,882 in cash and in-kind contributions. Most of that amount was his own money, Phipps said.
$77,600 through straw donors.
$27,000 in cash to Lori McMahan.
$24,000 for radio spots on four McAlester radio stations owned by Stipe.
$23,157 for materials and labor for political signs built at Phipp’s house in rural Pittsburg County.
$5,000 to rent the Pollard Theater in Guthrie for two fundraisers.
$1,125 for roughly half the cost of recording a campaign jingle.
By contrast, McMahan’s Republican opponent, Gary Jones, raised a total of about $150,000 most of which was his own money.
Jurors heard Phipps describe numerous times when he either gave Jeff and Lori McMahan, took them on expensive trips or bought Lori McMahan fine jewelry.
One new revelation involved the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston. The indicment against the McMahans has alleged Phipps provided $3,500 — at Jeff McMahan’s request — so the couple could attend. Jeff McMahan’s campaign also paid $2,600 toward the Boston trip, a campaign and auditor’s office staffer testified.
Phipps said Tuesday that in addition to his $3,500, he also said he provided an extra $3,000 to save McMahan from embarassment.
A Democratic Party tradition required certain office holders to sponsor a meal for all that state’s delegates. Phipps said he learned from Obera Bergdall, a retired employee from the state auditor’s office, that McMahan didn’t have the necessary $3,000 to sponsor a meal. As a former state Democratic Party chairman, Bergdall knew all about the tradition.
Phipps said he agreed to front the money. Party officials rejected his ideas to either pay it by credit card or to make a donation to the Democratic Party.
“Ultimately, she (Bergdall) took the funds out of her retirement account, and I reimbursed her,” Phipps said.
Scott McClellan, a former press secretary for President Bush, has recently been on the national news scene promoting his book titled “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.”
During his tenure behind the podium in the White House press room serving as the president’s mouthpiece, McClellan became known in media circles as the man who fed false information to journalists during press conferences. Based on excerpts that were released from his book, McClellan attempts tells his side of the story. He said White House officials mislead him and the American people about the Iraq War. He said the president and other officials “spent most of the first week in a state of denial” following Hurricane Katrina.
McClellan also threw a jab at journalists. He criticized the national press corps for not asking White House officials tougher questions before we entered into the Iraq War. He said “The national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. In this case, the ‘liberal media‘ didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”
I thought about this excerpt for a few minutes, and I agree. Journalists did not ask the president tough questions before invading Iraq in 2003. Anytime the president, vice president, Donald Rumsfeld or Condoleezza Rice gave their reasons for wanting to go to war, the national journalists took it and printed it on the cover of their newspapers without questioning the information.
When White House officials said Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the press corps should have said “How do you know? Show us proof.” During the lead up to the war, the press corps should have asked “What is the exit strategy?” However, very few tough questions were asked. It seemed like the White House officials intimidated journalists, and members of the press corps just rolled over.
It wasn’t until 2005 after the Hurricane Katrina incident occurred, when the press corps started to ask tough questions about the Iraq War and the governement’s response to the hurricane.
Most American citizens don’t have the opportunity to meet with government officals and ask them tough questions face-to-face. It’s the job of the press corps to ask those questions for them. If they can’t handle that responsibility, it’s probably better if they give up their seat to someone who is willing to ask tough questions before a war instead of waiting until after.
Many of the 430 children who were removed from a Texas polygamy ranch amid abuse allegations will be allowed to return to the ranch after the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the seizure was not justified.
In April, Child Protective Services removed the children from the Texas ranch after authorities received a phone call from a 16-year-old mother who claimed she was abused by her husband and that other girls in their mid-teens were forced into marriage with older men. The ranch was built by polygamist leader Warren Jeffs who is serving time for being an accomplice to rape.
Although the children will be released to their parents, law enforcement officials said they will continue investigating the alleged abuses.
However, would it be more logical for the judge to allow authorities to investigate the abuse allegations to determine if they were true before allowing the children to return to the ranch? Or should law enforcement have waited before they removed the children from the home?
Let me know what you think.
By Tony Thornton
Steve Phipps needed an insurance policy to protect his abstact companies. His insurance, a federal prosecutor told jurors Monday, was the state auditor.
“The best insurance is (bribing) the only person who regulates your industry,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Roberts told jurors.
Roberts laid the foundation for a series of witnesses who he said will establish a conspiracy between Phipps, state Auditor and Inspector Jeff McMahan and McMahans’ wife, Lori.
Phipps is cooperating as part of a plea deal. The McMahans face a nine-count felony indictment.
Roberts referred specifically to the night of Oct. 22, 2002, when Phipps is alleged to have handed an envelope containing $10,000 to Lori McMahan at a Shawnee restaurant.
The general election — Jeff McMahan’s first — was two weeks away. He desperately needed last-minute funding in a tight race with his Republican challenger, Gary Jones.
The future of Phipps’ companies was at stake. Jones was vowing to do away with the abstract industry. That $10,000 represented Phipps “paying an insurance premium,” Roberts said.
Two years later, McMahan needed money again, this time to send him and his wife to Boston for the Democratic National Convention, Roberts said.
He said he asked Phipps for the money through an intermediary, then sent a poster from Boston, along with a “thank you” note.
“It’s like when an insurance company sends you a cheap refrigerator magnet and says, ‘Thanks for doing business with us,’ ” Roberts told jurors.
One day into the trial, this much seems apparent: Reputations will be tarnished, if not destroyed.
Jeff McMahan’s defense attorney, Rand C. Eddy, told jurors about several elected and appointed public officials who benefited from Phipps’ illegal activities. He promsed to elaborate during the trial.
While Phipps essentially bought those public officials, he chose to “create a story” about McMahan after Phipps got caught in a scheme to obtain $2.7 million in state money for his businesses.