Complaints by lawmakers about release of water from Canton Lake remind us of disgruntled heirs carping over an aging parent spending their inheritance.
Oklahoma City is exercising its legal right to take water from Canton to replenish local lakes drawn down by lack of rain. This is a bridge too far for Canton Lake and northwest Oklahoma partisans — just as the city’s use of southeast Oklahoma water has been.
“Where is their water conservation plan?” asked state Rep. Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher. He blamed the Canton transfer on a planning failure. Actually, it’s a routine move to rebuild levels at Lake Hefner after months of below-normal rainfall. Oklahoma City waited to make the change until Hefner got quite low and even delayed the transfer until a recent rain made the North Canadian riverbed more suitable for a transfer. That in itself is a conservation plan.
Conflicts over water between urban and nonurban areas are age-old, but the law is clearly on Oklahoma City’s side. Just as it’s everyone’s right to spend money instead of saving it for another’s inheritance, the city is doing what’s in the best interest of the people who pay local water bills and who must adopt their own conservation plans to save money and to obey rationing restrictions whenever they’re imposed.
Meantime, billions of gallons of water have been flowing into the Red River because the state lacks the political will to turn this wasted treasure into cash by selling the water to urban areas in North Texas.
Mitt Romney got a chuckle at the Republican National Convention when he mocked Barack Obama’s 2008 promise that future generations could look back at his presidency as the time “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Obama’s adoring fans weren’t laughing. They turned the remarks back on Romney, oblivious to the fact that candidate Obama’s high-sounding words had no connection to reality.
Nevertheless, Obama promised that the weather would be warmer at his second inaugural than his first. It was. An Associated Press writer took this too seriously — and too subjectively for a news reporter: “While his policies can lessen or worsen future projected global warming in a large scale, they cannot do anything about Washington’s daily temperature on Jan. 21.”
Just how does one affect something that’s not necessarily happening but is “projected” to happen? Does far-reaching government policy change the thing or the projection of the thing? For Obama and his fans, there’s no difference. He said it and that’s all that matters.
Moses never made it to the promised land. Matt Damon’s movie “Promised Land” hasn’t crossed the river into profitability. In fact, it’s going further into the wildnerness by the day.
On its third weekend of release, this movie designed to raise awareness about hydraulic fracturing averaged only $774 per screen. By contrast, “Argo” averaged $2,021 per screen even though it’s been out for 14 weeks.
“Promised Land” has grossed less than $7 million to date, which is less than half of what it cost to make the movie. And that figure doesn’t include extensive marketing costs. No doubt, Damon won’t express regret for doing this regrettable movie and it won’t cost him more than money.
One of the Ten Commandments of Hollywood is to sometimes mix social awareness with all the big-budget movies whose characters ignore that “Thou Shalt Not Kill” thing.
Here’s how not to honor Martin Luther King Jr. or the National Day of Service associated with the annual King holiday: politicize it.
This is exactly what local King day organizer Roosevelt Milton did. Barack Obama’s re-election, Milton said, is good news that’s overshadowed by voter ID laws that amount to “suppression of voting rights.” If the rights of minority votes were suppressed, how did America’s first black president get elected not once but twice?
Milton also complains about the choice of Oklahomans last November to outlaw some forms of reverse discrimination. Not mentioned are the real problems facing minorities today, including a breakdown of social structure and a disintegration of jobs in the Obama economy.
King dreamed big dreams and looked forward. Some of his devotees are sleep-walking and stuck in the 1960s.
How quickly we forget. How quickly our memories could be jogged.
Gasoline prices are relatively low and were a nonissue in the presidential election. What could have been a major hurdle for Barack Obama wasn’t, another election-year stroke of luck for Obama.
Yet 2012 set a record for the highest average gasoline price — $3.60 a gallon, or 9 cents higher than the previous record set the year before. Not so long ago, motorists were complaining about soaring gas prices and grumbling about Obama’s connection to it. Truth is, presidents have little ability to do much about gas prices. Their energy policies can affect exploration and production of oil, but gas prices typically rise because of international conflicts, refinery problems and disruptions caused by weather.
Supply and demand also play a key role. The highest one-day price — $4.11 per gallon in July 2008 — was blamed on global demand. The subsequent recession deflated demand; prices began to fall. Last year, though, the price started edging up and stayed high enough to set a record for an average price for the year.
But that’s a distant memory as 2013 begins. It may not be distant for long, but whether a record will be reached this year will relate to demand, weather and refinery issues, not to the supposed greed of Big Oil.
Any kid using the excuse that the Mayan calendar “ate my homework” has lost his leverage. The world didn’t end on 12/21/12, but things are getting curiouser as what was supposed to be mankind’s last year on all calendars trickles to an end.
The pope is now tweeting. The archbishops of Canterbury and York tweeted their Yuletide sermons. And the queen of England gave her Christmas message in 3D.
Pope Benedict XVI’s first use of Twitter (he’s @Pontifex in the tweet world) went out on Dec. 12. Since Twitter messages are limited to 140 characters, full sermons can’t go in one tweet. At least the subject is serious, unlike many tweets.
A 2009 analysis by a market research firm showed that more than 40 percent of tweets can be described as “pointless babble.” Another 10 percent were either self-promotion or spam.
Hard to say in what category to place the millions of tweets about the Last Day on Earth that turned out to be just another Friday.
Reports of the demise of oil exploration and production in Oklahoma are greatly exaggerated.
Note that we said “oil” not “oil and gas.” Exploration companies are hot on the trail of oil because that’s where the money is. Natural gas prices are so depressed that it’s no longer the hot commodity it was just three years ago.
Oklahoma-based energy firms explore for oil and gas throughout the continent, but they aren’t ignoring their own back yard. The Oklahoman’s Jay Marks reports that 2012 intent-to-drill applications hit 3,912 through November, more than the entire 2011 total. To put things in perspective, the figure was 22,685 in 1981. Not long after, a boom became a bust from which the industry slowly recovered.
One industry executive described current activity as “measured but steady.” That’s not a term normally associated with a heritage industry known for spectacular booms and devastating busts. Measured but steady is a good thing.
The state won a rare legal victory in the area of reproductive services when a federal judge nixed Planned Parenthood’s attempt to keep its northeastern Oklahoma WIC contract in place.
The state Health Department had pulled the contract, citing legitimate concerns over cost and efficiency. Planned Parenthood said the whole thing was political — aimed at punishing an organization for its association with abortion.
Planned Parenthood doesn’t have an automatic right to contract for services under the Women, Infants and Children program. The state has an obligation to scrutinize groups with which it enters contracts. If anything, political correctness would dictate that the state not target Planned Parenthood because of national repercussions.
Case after case of the state defending laws restricting abortion has been lost. In this case, the state prevailed in preventing Planned Parenthood’s request to block the contract termination. If politics were involved in this case, it was more on the side of Planned Parenthood’s highly politicized agenda.
Metropolitan-area clout is increasing in the Legislature, one of the predicted results of redistricting after the 2010 census. But the decline of traditional rural dominance of the state House and Senate was happening already.
Incoming House Speaker T.W. Shannon is from Lawton. He’s named two Tulsans to key leadership posts. Another top job went to a Norman legislator. The Senate is run by a man from Sapulpa.
Recent House speakers have been from Shawnee, Tulsa, Harrah and suburban Creek County. Prior to that, speakers hailed from Okemah, Frederick and Stillwell.
The first speaker, “Alfalfa” Bill Murray, was from Tishomingo. Other early speakers included men from Cereal and Barlow, two towns that no longer make the map.
Despite declines in rural dominance, the last speaker who actually lived in Oklahoma City was J.D. McCarty. He left office in 1967 and was one of only four men from either Oklahoma City or Tulsa to be speaker.
Best of times: The Tulsa University Golden Hurricane will play Saturday for the Conference USA football title, capping a 9-3 season.
Worst of times: TU’s athletic director may not be at the game.
Ross Parmley was suspended Tuesday just hours after joining Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett in a celebration of the football team’s success. The FBI said Parmley is an “admitted gambler” involved with an Oklahoma City bookie now under investigation.
Parmley has been AD for less than a year — much longer than the 74 days TU President Geoffrey Orsak served before getting fired in September for undisclosed reasons.
It’s been a rough year for TU’s administration, but the team deserves plaudits for its success on the field. At least one Oklahoma university has a shot at conference football championship this year.