WHEN it comes to serving as an “alternative” news source, MSNBC is now practically providing views from another dimension, one completely untethered from reality. Viewers of that network were recently treated to Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson's claim that “Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty is part of a majority white supremacist culture that either consciously or unconsciously incubates hatred toward those who are different.” One doesn't have to agree with all of Robertson's comments to find Dyson's claim over the top.
White supremacist? Among the other things Robertson recently told GQ, he also said, “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off.” That's hardly the rally cry of a neo-Nazi group. Perhaps Dyson could be dismissed as nonrepresentative of the network, but then there's this: After Mitt Romney released a family photo that included an adopted black grandson, a panel was convened on one MSNBC show to make fun of the child. (The host later apologized).
Hosts on MSNBC also routinely claim President Barack Obama's critics are using secret racial code words, even when the “code” is understood by no one but them (pointing out the president's roots in Chicago has even been denounced as a racist smear).
Effective journalism requires its practitioners to understand the words they use. MSNBC officials' understanding of the word “racist” doesn't appear to pass that test.
Worth the effort
Some efforts to get federal installations or major grants seem, in hindsight, to be a waste of time and money. Think “Race to the Top.” Not so Oklahoma's application to be one of six FAA test sites for unmanned aircraft. The federal agency announced its choices Monday and Oklahoma was not among them. This was a blow to the officials most involved with the effort, but it was nevertheless a legitimate pursuit. Drones are a major growth sector in the aerospace field. Nearly half the states vied for one of the six slots. The unmanned aircraft industry has a solid foothold in Oklahoma, with Gov. Mary Fallin saying the state “has established a national reputation as a great place” for unmanned aircraft. We salute state Secretary of Science and Technology Stephen McKeever and others who sought the test site designation. They will continue to encourage this burgeoning field.
In recent years, major global warming summits have been accompanied by major blizzards, prompting a fair share of mockery. The latest variation of that story occurred over Christmas when a team of climate scientists went to Antarctica seeking melting ice caps to provide evidence of man-made global warming. What they found didn't live up to their theory — or travel plans. Instead of melting ice, the group's ship became trapped in unseasonably thick ice. Several sea rescue attempts were made, but even icebreaking ships were unable to reach the trapped MV Akademik Shokalskiy. A helicopter rescue became plan B. We wish all involved safe passage home, of course, but couldn't resist noting this story. Irony, it seems, is in great abundance whenever global warming activists meet. Make of that what you will.
It hasn't exactly been balmy in these parts so far this winter. Oklahoma Mesonet preliminary data shows that last month was the 17th-coolest December on record, nearly 4 degrees below normal. The statewide average temperature was 35.2 degrees, compared with 42.1 in December of 2012. Two significant storms socked the state last month, in addition to one in November. An ice storm left nearly 50,000 utility customers without power following the second December blast. At least two more months of winter precip potential are looming. If they're anything like the past six weeks, we will continue to have a hard time believing climate change alarmism.
Adding a city
Oklahoma has a new city the size of Bartlesville, but it doesn't have a name and can't be found on a map. In the year ended July 1, the state added an estimated 34,788 residents, which is roughly the size of Bartlesville. U.S. Census Bureau figures show that Oklahoma is growing faster than the nation as a whole but not nearly as fast as national leader North Dakota. Significantly, Florida is poised to pass New York as the third most populous state, behind California and Texas. Florida and Texas are among the states with no personal income tax. New York has one of the highest tax burdens in the country. Only two states, West Virginia and Maine, lost population. In political terms, red states are generally growing faster than blue states.
New York state
With their votes for mayor in November, New York City voters said emphatically that they wanted a change from the administrations of the previous 20 years. That change began Wednesday when liberal Democrat Bill de Blasio took the oath of office. De Blasio played the class warfare card to the hilt during his campaign, promising to deliver a “more just, more progressive” New York. That includes raising taxes on the wealthy to pay for universal prekindergarten and after-school programs. “We do not ask more of the wealthy to punish success,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “We do it to create more success stories.” He also plans, among other things, to change the police department's stop-and-frisk program, which has succeeded in making it safer to walk the streets, and to get 300,000 more workers covered by a sick leave law. “When I said we would take dead aim at the tale of two cities, I meant it,” de Blasio said. We'll see what's left of the one city four years from now.
A couple of observations regarding final spending figures from the recent Tulsa mayor's race. The first is simply the staggering amount of money expended in a mid-sized city. Mayor Dewey Bartlett and challenger Kathy Taylor combined to spend $5.67 million, a record for any Tulsa mayoral campaign and a huge jump from the $3.75 million spent in the 2006 race between the two. The second is that Taylor had a 4-1 spending advantage this time. She spent $4.25 million and still came up short. The Tulsa World broke it down to $131 for every vote she received (compared with $35.74 per vote for Bartlett). It takes money to win elections, certainly, but as this result showed, having the most money guarantees nothing.