Got $100 Million? No? Get Out Now

The latest news that the right-wing extremists in charge at the state Capitol have found what appears to be an extra $100 million or so in state revenues after major budget cuts shows not only have they broken Oklahoma with reckless fiscal policies but they also are entirely incompetent in basic financial management.

Can the extremists here count numbers using their fingers? Can they do basic math with a pencil and eraser, you know, by using the eraser in case they make a mistake? Have they ever used an Excel sheet? Do they know how to operate a basic calculator? Maybe that’s hyperbole, but this year, frankly, it doesn’t seem out of some realm of possibility that the conservatives’ lack of basic intellectualism and their narrow-minded, ugly inhumane ideology have merged into a new dimension of ignorance.

Three state officials created the immediate ongoing fiscal debacle. I’ll rank them in my personal order of mediocrity. First and foremost is Gov. Mary Fallin, who supports ideologue Preston Doerflinger as her main financial officer. Second is Doerflinger himself, of course, a seemingly proud archconservative who I believe because of his actions could care less about education and health services for people—public and private—in the state. The Doerflinger philosophy, in my estimation: Let them remain stupid! Let the sick suffer and die! We have a failed ideology to prove! Third is Oklahoma Treasurer Ken Miller, a handsome, smooth business professor/operator who apparently can’t count either and who seems only concerned with furthering his political career with good looks and free public announcement commercials. Take a class with him, students, and learn how to appear in a great commercial with great-looking kids that he’ll never really help. Wink. Wink. See, the point is NOT to help kids if you’re a great conservative leader like Miller.

Then, of course there are the conservative legislators over the last decade or so, who, no sarcasm intended, really want to destroy the Oklahoma government on a financial level as a badge of honor they will wear proudly their entire lives. They want to be able to tell their grandchildren about how they ended a viable public educational system here and, most of all, ended “welfare,” but I bet the grandkids will be long gone from this cesspool of stupidity and intolerance the granddaddies created in glee long before that happens. Get out while you can, young people. No sarcasm intended on this one. Get. Out. Of. Oklahoma.

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London 2016: 'We must love one another or die'

Image of The British Museum in London, England

All I have is a voice/To undo the folded lie—W.H. Auden

This will be my final post from London this particular academic trip, and I thought I might remark briefly on how three seemingly disparate moments here this week created one larger narrative for me of the present relationship between the United States and England.

The first moment was my presentation in which I discussed and heavily criticized the historical British empire in relationship to Ireland. Although I did discuss the colonization of India and other countries in Africa by the British and so many other western countries, my overall focus was mostly on pre-World War II England and it’s relationship to Ireland.

I won’t bore everyone with too much academic jargon related to issue, but my presentation did include this general sentence about colonization:

. . . once someone is exposed to the brutalities inflicted by the British, Spanish, Belgians, Portuguese, French, the Dutch (the list goes on) upon the native people of their colonies and territories or in their exploitive adventures during and beyond the Age of Discovery, it consumes interpretations under the rubric of postcolonial theory.

The key word here for the point I’m going to try to make is “brutalities.” This sentence was read at the University of London to a group of academics that included British citizens, and not only did no one even dispute the conclusion, most everyone probably agreed with it entirely, just like I do, as just common knowledge. But does the casual acceptance of the point breed a complacency that is dangerous? I wonder.

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The Oklahoman Throws In With Trump Nonsense

Image of rainbow flag

As I posted Monday, I’m at an academic conference in London, England this week. I will get back to regular posting next week.

Usually when I travel overseas, as anyone knows who follows this blog, I try to post about the conference itself in general terms and about the cities where I’m visiting. I do this mainly to keep a personal record of my travels and academic work, but I know a fair amount of people like the accompanying photographs I upload on the blog and especially on Facebook.

But the mass shooting at Pulse, a LGBTQ-friendly nightclub in Orlando, which I’m pretty sure was also frequented by heterosexuals, makes it impossible for me to publish much about London or especially the conference itself right now. The conference and my traveling seem so insignificant given the enormity of the tragedy, and my heart goes out to all the family and friends of the victims. I also don’t have the time to fully digest and write about the shooting because of the narrow focus of my academic literary conference and my time constraints.

I will say this: A Tuesday editorial in The Oklahoman criticizing President Barack Obama for not mentioning the “Islamic State” in one of his first extended comments on the shooting is one of the worst commentaries the newspaper has published in last 30 years or so. The newspaper didn’t hesitate to politicize the shooting in order to obviously support the presidential nominee Donald Trump’s blatant falsehoods and distortions about the shooting. Trump actually implied Obama was somehow involved in the shooting in some personal manner.

The editorial also made it clear that any discussion of gun control laws given the tragedy was, well, it was off limits. Here’s the main gist from this ridiculous and, frankly, dangerous, nearly fanatical argument from The Oklahoman:

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