Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Celebrate Diversity, Oklahoman Style!

June 9 Editorials

While reading today's editorials, I was reminded of a scene in The Blues Brothers. Jake and Elwood are asking a nice bartender lady what kinds of music they play at their bar, and she promptly replies "Oh! We got both kinds! Country, and Western!"

Today's editorials remind me of that. Only if one were to ask the writers what types of diversity they have in their writing, they might reply "ohh all kinds! We got endorsement of Pinochet' style neo-liberalism kind, we got the suppress the working class kind, and we got the whadda you gonna believe, us our your lyin' eyes kind!"

I will not go in any particular order, and start off with their "suppress the working class" kind, an editorial entitled "Despite GM restructuring, taxpayers should be uneasy: Is a better GM ahead?" In this piece, the writers are quick to point out the "notorious job banks". The story with these, is that laid-off GM workers (idle workforce that would fill-in from time to time for workers on vacation actually....) were paid 95% of their salaries to "sit around and do crossword puzzles".

The reality is much more complex. Ignoring that reality for now, I think what is most offensive to the writers is that these cost the company upwards of $300m, and that went to "only!" 7,000 employees.

If one does the math, the offensive part is that 1,750 reserve force/laid-off workers received the equivalent of what the editorial staff's friend Aubrey McClendon was rewarded in a bonus last year ($75million! Was this even discussed in the editorial pages?) for his part in helping erase $30billion of the Chesapeake shareholders wealth.

That it should take such a small amount of hard-working American's to receive the equivalent of McClendon did is simply unacceptable, especially if you consider all the good propaganda out there about job banks and crossword puzzles and whatnot (at least they didn't say seek 'n find puzzles.)

But as I have stated before, the most controversial thing in the past Presidential Election, in my opinion, was not Health Care, Iraqistan, Gay Marriage, etc...rather it was the not so serious suggestion that working people, the folks who create the bulk of our countries wealth have some right to share in that wealth.

Before I go on (without getting into things ignored by the staff like bonuses to Goldman Sachs workers and all the rest, folks who played a huge part in what we are now facing) I want to admit that I do not think stock market prices are the be all and end all of how you judge a company, and thus maybe I was a bit hard on Aubrey.

However when it is convenient, I assume the editors do assume share-prices are everything. So let us note that on the day this editorial was written, GM stock went up almost fifty-percent, and today it went up another twenty-percent. Traders might note this and consider how they buy and sell based upon what the brilliant Oklahoman editorial staff rant and rave about. More than doubling your money is not a bad couple days "work". We also might note that this was no question ignored by the writers.

Next, and editorial entitled "Walk balk: Oklahoma City discourages pedestrian traffic" discusses how our city "...Of 500 American urban places, ranks last in 'walkability.' Not only is walking not encouraged, it’s actually discouraged with public policy, an urban design consultant says."

The article does not discuss the "300 miles of sidewalks we're building!" Cornett discussed during his appearance on the Ellen Degeneres Show so I do not know whatever became of all that business. But one thing that did kind of jump off the page is that once again, the city has hired a super-fancy consultant to solve all of our problems. Here is a picture of the consultant Jeff Speck's fancy three-story house in D.C, which makes me wonder about just how much the city is throwing at this problem:

View more of the fancy
home we're helping pay
for here!

So this is more of the "We got endorsement of Pinochet' style neo-liberalism kind!" rant-and-rave about "wasted money thrown at problems" when the money might more often than not benefit the people, not the hot-shot developers. The Oklahoman never has problems with stuff like this, or millions of dollars subsidizing stupid Outlet Malls on I-40, or what is now upwards of $250m going to subsidize wealthy Basketball Team owners. If people want a piece of the action, they need to stop working at jobs and attend more elegant dinner parties at the Red Prime Steak House. They should know this!

The last piece, "Weak or strong: Management styles help shape cities" is pretty simple. It discusses the Oklahoma City vs. Tulsa city management differences, and how Tulsa does not have a city manager. The Editors go on to, brace yourself, state that "...Cornett is a presence and has done a terrific job." Anyone with a functiong brain knows the story. Cornett is NOT a Conservative, as he constantly likes to say (as does his mayor buddy up in Charlotte.) The "gains" our City has made have all come on the backs of the tax-payers, and the real costs of ignoring everything outside of Bricktown in most cases is something that will be felt by many in the near future.

People who know how to look will no doubt realize that the stance taken by "America's Most Conservative Newspaper!" is that hopefully people will believe them, and not their lying eyes regarding the things they write about Mayor Cornett and other nice guys like him they support. Pretty sad I think, as is The Oklahoman's form of diversity they practice in their editorials.

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