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Dawkins Vs. OKlahoma
April 3, 2009 4:52 AM   Subscribe

Richard Dawkins was recently invited to speak at the University of Oklahoma’s Darwin 2009 series of lectures on March 6th, 2009. The speech to be entitled "The Purpose of Purpose" quickly grew in popularity and even had to be moved to a larger venue to accommodate the quickly increasing crowd. Of course, word eventually reached Todd Thompson. Friction ensues.

First Thompson proposes a resolution (RTF) attempting to ban Dawkins from speaking, condemning both Dawkins and the theory of evolution as "an unproven and unpopular theory" that did not reflect the opinions of most Oklahomans.

Regardless, he lecture went as scheduled, even with Dawkins making a special point to address Rep. Thompson's resolution at the beginning of his lecture (YTL). Dawkins was warmly greeted by the audience and the lecture went on without a hitch (minus one very angry heckler in the crowd) .... and case closed right?

Not yet. Now Oklahoma's legislature is launching a costly investigation over the speech. Here is the letter (pdf) requesting information about payment, university costs, negotiations and other financial information relating to Dawkins' talk.

From Dawkin's site:

"Now that we know this investigation is going on, many questions still need to be answered: What does the state legislature plan to do with this information? Does this mean that any time Richard Dawkins or other evolutionary scientists give speeches about evolution in Oklahoma, they too will be investigated? And perhaps most importantly: Doesn't the Oklahoma legislature have anything better to do?"
posted by 5imian (103 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Doesn't the Oklahoma legislature have anything better to do?

It's just Oklahoma, so no, probably not.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:55 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Look, it's either this or spend money on the poor, and you know how Jesus hated charity!
posted by orthogonality at 4:57 AM on April 3, 2009 [14 favorites]


This is why Oklahoma's motto is "Oklahoma is OK" instead of "Oklahoma is great" or "Oklahoma is full of smart people".
posted by educatedslacker at 4:58 AM on April 3, 2009 [45 favorites]


What do you expect from a state sandwiched between those two bastions of enlightened thought, Kansas and Texas? I see this as merely keeping-up with the Joneses.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:14 AM on April 3, 2009


There's a bill that's already passed the State Senate and is about to pass the State House that will turn every school in Oklahoma into a Charter School within the next five years.

Passing SB 834 would mean that Oklahoma schools could see changes in attendance laws, laws governing certification of teachers, laws regarding the quality of substitute teachers, gifted and talented plans, library media regulations, teacher training, school employee contracts, and other issues. SB 834 could remove programs such as alternative schools, interpreters, wellness policies, 8th grade remediation, personnel record keeping, and college-prep curriculum.

I've never seen a state that runs so quickly away from progress and towards ignorance. There is virtually no reporting in state on SB 834. If my best friend wasn't a teacher, I would never have heard of it. Oh well, at least the girls BB team made the final four.

And before I forget, OKC's Mayor wants to educate out the gay.

I'll shut up now; this state is driving me crazy.
posted by theroadahead at 5:21 AM on April 3, 2009


Countdown to someone claiming that Dawkins/atheists are "just as annoying as" Thompson/creationists in 5...4...
posted by DU at 5:22 AM on April 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Well, somewhere around 48% of the population has an IQ between 70 and 100. That's a lot of low wattage people wandering the planet. They had this land rush thing and many of them settled in Oklahoma. But not just there.
posted by cogneuro at 5:23 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: it's ok
posted by Hands of Manos at 5:40 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tangentially related, there was a bit of a protest yesterday on the campus of University of Maryland College Park as the state senate threatened to withhold the school's funding over the screening of an adult film at a student-run theater.
posted by peeedro at 5:46 AM on April 3, 2009


This post exaggerates quite a bit.

First Thompson passes a resolution

No, he *introduced* two resolutions, which we're told the legislature "considered." Which means they both failed. Yay for the OK legislature, right?

Now Oklahoma's legislature is launching a costly investigation

No, one representative, Rebecca Hamilton, has filed an open records request, after another requested a letter confirming that speaking fees had been wiaved.

Don't get me wrong, this is an atrocious attempt to chill protected speech at a public university, and a frightening new twist from creationist asses. But let's try to keep the facts straight as we talk about defending science, eh?
posted by mediareport at 5:46 AM on April 3, 2009 [32 favorites]


What mediareport said. Legislatures should all have a warning label: "may contain nuts." That doesn't mean that the whole legislature is nutty.
posted by grouse at 6:05 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


eponypropriate, mediareport
posted by taliaferro at 6:05 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Countdown to someone claiming that Dawkins/atheists are "just as annoying as" Thompson/creationists in 5...4...

Just Dawkins and only 50% as annoying, but that's like saying something's 50% as deadly as an atom bomb.
posted by The White Hat at 6:14 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


...the theory of evolution as "an unproven and unpopular theory"...

Now I like the idea of unpopular science being wrong. Text in vote makes the laws of gravity unpopular, therefore wrong and everyone is floating around. Cool. Although a bit inconvenient for people like me who have enough trouble already finding things they put down just a while ago...
posted by i_cola at 6:15 AM on April 3, 2009


Whoooaaa... real fast.

So...Before this becomes an Oklahoma bashing thread, I should remind you that I am from Oklahoma myself and as Dawkins himself said in the intro "Todd Thompsen is in fact NOT representative of Oklahoma". I was there, at the speech. The place was packed to the walls with people so glad to see such a forward thinking individual come talk. Furthermore, this whole ordeal has been a hot topic around these parts.

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science then proceeded to donate 5000$ to Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education

I know many of you mean well, but Oklahoma is actually (thankfully) a very diverse place, with a lot of scientific minds. (Whole bunch of Christians too, but i digress) The enemy here, in my opinion, is the legislature, not the citizens. Lets keep the sniper scope of sarcasm on the right target. Many Oklahomans are the victims Oklahoman legislature.
  • An update:
    I also forgot to add that there were actually two resolutions initially, not just one, and i should have said "proposed" not "passed pardon my error.


  • @mediareport

    Indeed it was a resolution,and not fully passed. However, it is arguably the one of the most publicly visible "resolutions" ever seen in this state and was clearly an attempt to inflame the religious right. in other words, it was a pretty big deal, and all over the news. I respect your valid criticism of my post, but simply proposing the thing had pretty interesting cultural implications, that are arguably immeasurable and more easily felt by someone actually living here.

    As for the investigation, its quite real and is, in the opinion of many, a passive aggressive attempt to bully free speech at the university. That "one person" (Hamilton) is acting as a representative of the Oklahoma State Legislature, who in turn is supposed to be a representative of the state.:

    "even investigating clearly protected speech on the basis of its viewpoint violates the First Amendment. " - Richard Dawkins

    The resolutions, and the investigations, in short, shouldn't have happened in the first place and are very clearly stemmed form ideological bias.

    Also, an interesting article from the Tulsa beacon (via dawkins.net)

    Fun Fact:
    (Did any of you notice Thomson used to the a kicker for the OU Sooners and is also head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in southeastern Oklahoma?)

  • posted by 5imian at 6:16 AM on April 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


    Oklahoma produced Sarah Vowell, so it's alright by me.

    Facebook is the devil. cogneuro's link: Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design.
    posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:17 AM on April 3, 2009


    but simply proposing

    *but I am simply proposing
    posted by 5imian at 6:19 AM on April 3, 2009


    @mediareport

    God, please don't use that "@" thing here. Just "mediareport:" would have done fine. Those damn "@"s are a blight on the net.
    posted by mediareport at 6:22 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


    God, please don't use that "@" thing here. Just "mediareport:" would have done fine. Those damn "@"s are a blight on the net.

    There's a lot of little "things to remember" for post etiquette on this site. You know, 'SYTL', 'NSFW' etc etc. I do my best. Honestly.

    Pardon my infraction. Using the @ sign. Burn me at the stake. -_-

    But seriously, thank you for your thought out criticism of my post. It is much appreciated.
    posted by 5imian at 6:25 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Oklahoma produced Sarah Vowell, so it's alright by me.

    As are the Flaming Lips.
    posted by NoMich at 6:26 AM on April 3, 2009


    Countdown to someone claiming that Dawkins/atheists are "just as annoying as" Thompson/creationists in 5...4...

    No, this countdown crap is what's annoying. How about letting the discussion take its natural course and respond to what is said rather than trying to preempt an opinion you don't like that probably won't come up anyway?
    posted by D+ at 6:31 AM on April 3, 2009 [11 favorites]


    God Damn, why does 5imian have to come in here with his reason and his level headedness and his FACTS and interrupt what was starting out to be a perfectly good Friday morning MetaFilter Red Neck Bashing Session. I just got my pitchfork lit too!!
    posted by spicynuts at 6:34 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


    I know many of you mean well, but Oklahoma is actually (thankfully) a very diverse place . . . .

    Oklahoma was the only state in the union in which every county went for McCain.

    5imian, you say you were at the speech; do you live in Norman? Where were you born? I live in Norman, but I was born and raised in the same small town as Thomsen (no "p"). I've lived in this state most of my 45 years, and I can honestly tell you that once you get outside of the Norman area, things fall off fast.

    The enemy here, in my opinion, is the legislature, not the citizens.

    It's the citizens that keep voting idiots like Thomson, Inhoffe, etc., into office, so I think they can shoulder a little of the blame.

    Dawkins filled a big hall at OU; monster trucks sell out the Ford Center two nights running. I can appreciate that you want to be proud of where you come from; I just can't see anything to throw my chest out about.
    posted by theroadahead at 6:37 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    5imian: As for the investigation, its quite real and is, in the opinion of many, a passive aggressive attempt to bully free speech at the university.

    In my opinion, too. But your "costly investigation" link clearly explains this was a public records request from a single legislator. Other articles about this note there was an earlier request from another legislator seeking confirmation that the fee was waived, but so far, that's all we have. Given the misleading language in your post, it's worth noting.
    posted by mediareport at 6:37 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


    And as to Oklahoma's ability to produce people of talent and intelligence, from Sarah Vowell to Tony Randall, I'll just point out that the biggest "star" from Oklahoma that chose to stay here is Toby Keith. The rest get out as soon as they can.
    posted by theroadahead at 6:41 AM on April 3, 2009


    I'll have to agree with mediareport on this. Every state legislature has at least two trolls who introduce unpassible legislation and use the powers of their office for the sake of creating headlines.

    Which, it's interesting that the shift from legislator->legislature only seems to happen when we are talking on the state level. I don't ever recall a time in which Rick Santorum, or Tom Delay was seen as representative of the entire legislative body.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:42 AM on April 3, 2009


    Elsewhere on the censorship front, Cardinal George believes that the stances of the Catholic Church are so fragile that students at a major university will be unable to hold true to their faith if they hear a major world leader speak on their campus.
    posted by nax at 6:48 AM on April 3, 2009


    Regarding the "right"ness of Oklahoma: I"ve got a friend/erstwhile roommate who is the epitome of redneck. Parents were truckers, etc. I believe his quote on his home state was, "I'm a right-wing nutjob, and Oklahoma made me feel like a pansy liberal by comparison."

    He does have fine taste in bourbon, though.
    posted by notsnot at 6:48 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    So are we bashing or are we not bashing? Because if we are, I laughed at this comment from the fourth link: "the only reason Texas doesn't float out to the gulf is because Oklahoma sucks."
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:54 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


    Dawkins filled a big hall at OU; monster trucks sell out the Ford Center two nights running.

    Aye, monster trucks and Richard Dawkins are both awesome spectacles to behold. I would consider both more interesting than the events which consume the weekend of your typical New York or Bay Area hipster.

    Pride in where you come from is a natural thing. Pride in where you are relative to others is a pathetic ego crutch.
    posted by 0xdeadc0de at 6:57 AM on April 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


    From the 5th link
    Mayor Cornett plans to team up with Olivet Baptist Church pastor Steve Kern (OK State Rep. Sally Kern’s husband) to unleash a campaign to “rid the library system of all gay and lesbian materials, as well as those their church-based philosophies find objectionable.”
    That is a pretty broad statement. I am wondering a) what would be on that list of books that these two find objectionable and b) what power do they have to "rid the library system."
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:59 AM on April 3, 2009


    Which, it's interesting that the shift from legislator->legislature only seems to happen when we are talking on the state level.

    It's cause most people don't even realize they have a state legislature until some loudmouth state congressmen makes headlines.
    posted by saulgoodman at 7:14 AM on April 3, 2009


    [Fixed up "passes" as "proposes" in the More Inside for clarity's sake.]
    posted by cortex at 7:17 AM on April 3, 2009


    cause --> 'cause
    congressmen --> congressman
    /errata

    posted by saulgoodman at 7:18 AM on April 3, 2009


    From comments in the 5th link:
    What do you expect from a state that authorized police to break into people’s homes and seize video copies of an Oscar-winning foreign film?
    What does this mean? Did that really happen? Jiminey Christmas what the hell is going on in that state?
    posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:19 AM on April 3, 2009


    As theroadahead points out above, it's Todd Thomsen, not Todd Thompson.
    posted by ericb at 7:23 AM on April 3, 2009


    What does this mean? Did that really happen? Jiminey Christmas what the hell is going on in that state?

    The Tin Drum.
    posted by theroadahead at 7:24 AM on April 3, 2009


    Christ fuck almighty Jesus people.

    Every state is aaawful and does awful things. Oklahoma is no worse and no better than crazy nutjob liberal states like CA, or just-plain-crazy states like FL or NJ.
    posted by TypographicalError at 7:32 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    What does this mean? Did that really happen? Jiminey Christmas what the hell is going on in that state?

    I think he was referring to the Tin Drum Fiasco
    posted by limon at 7:33 AM on April 3, 2009


    Hey, hey -- all the hate. I've met some really nice, smart people from Oklahoma. Wait -- none of them live there any more.
    posted by Devils Rancher at 7:37 AM on April 3, 2009


    Aye, monster trucks and Richard Dawkins are both awesome spectacles to behold

    Could you imagine Richard Dawkins driving a monster truck? God wouldn't stand a chance, what with all the crushing, mashing, and squashing of his tiny God car.
    posted by educatedslacker at 7:41 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Oklahoma was the only state in the union in which every county went for McCain.

    Obama only campaigned in Oklahoma once -- in March 2007. He has not set foot in Oklahoma since. He lost 76 of 77 counties in the primary to Hillary Clinton.

    As to losing all 77 counties, the Democratic hold on Little Dixie finally ended in 2008, something that's been slowly happening for the last 40 years as the older Dems have died off. That said, Obama did better than Kerry in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Comanche Counties -- home to the three largest cities in the state (Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Lawton).
    posted by dw at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2009


    That said, Obama did better than Kerry . . . .

    And McCain did better than Bush did in '04. And as the article states: In Oklahoma, Republicans bucked the national trend by adding seats in the state legislature. All this in a state that has 300,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans.
    posted by theroadahead at 7:57 AM on April 3, 2009


    (Did any of you notice Thomson used to the a kicker for the OU Sooners and is also head of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in southeastern Oklahoma?)

    He played under Switzer? I already don't like him.
    posted by Devils Rancher at 8:01 AM on April 3, 2009


    mediareport: "Those damn "@"s are a blight on the net."

    Wait, WTF? I'm not the OP, but I love my @s.
    posted by archagon at 8:04 AM on April 3, 2009


    "Every state is aaawful and does awful things. Oklahoma is no worse and no better than crazy nutjob liberal states like CA, or just-plain-crazy states like FL or NJ."

    OK, but according to Wikipedia, after he introduced these resolutions against Dawkins:

    The following week Thomsen was appointed to the Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research Advisory Committee whose purpose "is to enhance scientific and engineering research and development conducted at universities in the state and by doing so enhance the success of Oklahoma researchers in federal award competitions through a partnership of higher education institutions, independent research entities, industry and state government."[12]

    The guy is now responsible for allocating federal money for scientific research.
    posted by krinklyfig at 8:05 AM on April 3, 2009


    That said, Obama did better than Kerry . . . .

    And McCain did better than Bush did in '04.


    I do not appreciate you twisting that out of its context.

    Obama did better than Kerry in the three most urban areas in the state. And now that I look at it, it looks like he also did better in Cleveland County -- county seat Norman. Together those four counties make up 41% of the state's population.

    McCain improved on Bush because of the urban-rural divide, just as he did in every other state. You know, the part of the country that grows your food?
    posted by dw at 8:22 AM on April 3, 2009


    I grew up in Anadarko, went to college at USAO in Chickasha, and thank god I moved to Austin in 1996. Things like this make me embarrassed to be from Oklahoma.
    posted by mrbill at 8:40 AM on April 3, 2009


    I feel sorry for Oklahomans, if for no other reason than you have Inhofe.

    Of course, we here in Arizona have McCain...
    posted by darkstar at 8:50 AM on April 3, 2009


    "I'll just point out that the biggest "star" from Oklahoma that chose to stay here is Toby Keith."

    Who endorsed Obama.
    posted by klangklangston at 9:05 AM on April 3, 2009


    Didn't mean to piss you off, dw. For the record, here are the numbers:
    2004-
    George W. Bush * (R) 959,655 66%
    John F. Kerry (D) 504,077 34%

    2008-
    John McCain (R) 959,745 66%
    Barack Obama (D) 502,294 34%

    The numbers aren't that different, so I'm not really seeing a point. And yeah, Obama did better in Cleveland County; my vote was one of the reasons why. He still didn't carry any of the counties you mentioned.

    You know, the part of the country that grows your food?

    What does this mean?
    posted by theroadahead at 9:29 AM on April 3, 2009


    The heartland prides itself on the fact that while those coastal people look down on them, those same people would not be able to eat without the efforts of the heartland.
    posted by cavalier at 9:44 AM on April 3, 2009


    What does this mean?

    They tend a lot of Sacred Cows in those parts. Mess with them at your peril.
    posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:56 AM on April 3, 2009


    Yeah, I get that. It's just that I'm here in the middle of the heartland, grew up with the sort of people that are being talked about in this post. I'm not on the coast looking down on them, I'm right in the middle of them.

    And to paraphrase Sam Vimes, "Just because someone's a farmer doesn't mean they can't be a small-minded racist homophobe."
    posted by theroadahead at 9:57 AM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    The heartland prides itself on the fact that while those coastal people look down on them, those same people would not be able to eat without the efforts of the heartland.

    Weird, I get the VAST majority of my food from farms in upstate ny, vermont and new jersey. perhaps the bread I get is baked with wheat from oklahoma or parts thereabout, but i doubt it. i'm pretty sure i'd be AOK if the midwest stopped producing food. Let's see:

    - my fish comes from parts east
    - my meat probably comes from oklahoma and thereabouts but i can survive without beef, see bullet point above
    - corn, tomatoes, apples, most veggies come from jersey/upstate ny
    - milk/yogurt from vermont
    - no idea where my rice comes from so point conceded
    - beer comes from midwest - SHIT!!! THEY ARE RIGHT!! GAAAAAAAAAAHHH
    posted by spicynuts at 10:27 AM on April 3, 2009


    Well, you know, chances are probably pretty good that there are some very good people engaged in activism work on behalf of the university in specific, and sanity in general in the state of Oklahoma on this issue. Perhaps we could, you know network with those people rather than engage in a few hundred posts of LOL MIDWEST?
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:38 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


    klangklangston , as to your assertion that Toby Keith endorsed Obama, I'm not too sure about that.

    I said that he had a chance to win it as the [party's] best candidate since Bill Clinton," Keith said. "I said McCain is very able to run this country, too. Very qualified. ... They didn't put anything about McCain and Palin. They just put that Toby Keith supports Obama."

    Keith said the Democratic party no longer represents his views.

    posted by theroadahead at 10:43 AM on April 3, 2009


    Dammit, here's the link.
    posted by theroadahead at 10:44 AM on April 3, 2009


    I've met some really nice, smart people from Oklahoma. Wait -- none of them live there any more.

    You sat next to me at the SXSW meetup, dorkus.

    Okay, little story about 2008. That was the year the aforementioned piece-of-work Sen. Inhofe (R, Jesusland) ran for his seventh term in Congress. For the previous fourteen years, the state Democratic Party had been throwing good-ol-boy Dixiecrats at him (former governor, former DLC chair), and he'd been effortlessly swatting them down. In 2008, the Democrats ran State Senator Andrew Rice - masters from Harvard Divinity, GLBT spokesman, freelance documentary producer, spent six months working at an AIDS clinic in Thailand. "Rededicated his life to working for social justice" after his brother was killed on 9/11. Rice formed an Obama-style internet-savvy campaign, recruited most of the prominent progressives and minor celebrities in the state to campaign, and started making sizable gains in the polls.

    So Inhofe bought every media outlet in the state, and we had six months of 24/7 "Andrew Rice is a fat commie liberal Un-American fattie who probably plays Dungeons and Dragons with Obama while they plot un-American Muslim fat Don't you know who I am, you goddamned progressive little **** ?? Vote for me or I'll kill your dogs!!!". There basically could not have been more non-stop anti-Obama media saturation if Sarah Palin had won IFR rodeo queen. It was kind of bleakly funny, some of us went to campaign in adjoining states, and McCain rode in on Senator Inhofe's expensive coattails.

    We now return you to your regularly-scheduled weird locavore thing.
    posted by ormondsacker at 10:48 AM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


    The heartland prides itself on the fact that while those coastal people look down on them, those same people would not be able to eat without the efforts of the heartland.

    Is the heartland also proud of the fact that its basically on welfare to the coastal people?
    posted by shen1138 at 10:56 AM on April 3, 2009


    "as to your assertion that Toby Keith endorsed Obama, I'm not too sure about that."

    Yeah, he said that Obama was the best candidate since Clinton (Bill), and that he was a Democrat. Then he got hammered hard from the Johnny Pissoff contingent and backed down, and registered as an independent (he also thought that Palin would win the presidency for McCain, so I'm not holding him out as an astute political observer).
    posted by klangklangston at 11:02 AM on April 3, 2009


    ok so it sounds like we're agreed that this thread is now a referendum on the worth of oklahoma?
    posted by spicynuts at 11:03 AM on April 3, 2009


    shen1138: Is the heartland also proud of the fact that its basically on welfare to the coastal people?

    You know, I had thought this kind of class warfare bullshit of making government spending contingent on voting records (an action that pretty much defines "corruption") became passe' when the last two elections proved that active involvement with progressive coalitions on the ground can win critical congressional majorities, statehouse shifts, and even the presidency. Silly me, I thought an election in which local coalitions locked in battleground states for Obama and turned safe Republican states into battlegrounds might have mediated the disgusting knee-jerk regionalism that came after 2000 and 2004.

    Oh well, and here I was looking forward to 8 years of relatively sane government.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:10 AM on April 3, 2009


    KirkJobSluder: "You know, I had thought this kind of class warfare bullshit of making government spending contingent on voting records (an action that pretty much defines 'corruption') became passe" when the last two elections proved that active involvement with progressive coalitions on the ground can win critical congressional majorities, statehouse shifts, and even the presidency. "

    Uh, did you read the whole thread? This was a retort to an earlier quip along the lines of "Hey we grow your food, fuck off about our asshattery."
    posted by mullingitover at 11:22 AM on April 3, 2009


    The heartland prides itself on the fact that while those coastal people look down on them, those same people would not be able to eat without the efforts of the heartland.

    This strikes me as false, and silly. There is no shortage of other sellers that would happily supply the market. The heartland, through subsidies, can offer a better price and so is today's supplier, but since those subsidies are coming out of our taxes, it's not really cheaper, just a government market manipulation to preserve national food independence / corrupt politicians and business scratching each other's backs, or both, depending on your perspectives.

    When the people of the coasts of the USA feel like buying food, fuel, or, well, anything, the world beats a path to their door. Because wealth moves mountains, and the vast majority of coasters are very wealthy from a global point of reference.

    Biofuels have already demonstrated that even if the world's poor must starve in order to reroute crops to coasters, then they will starve.

    Coasters would eat with or without the heartland.
    posted by -harlequin- at 11:40 AM on April 3, 2009


    mullingitover: Uh, did you read the whole thread? This was a retort to an earlier quip along the lines of "Hey we grow your food, fuck off about our asshattery."

    Actually, I think "fuck off" is an entirely reasonable and justified response.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:49 AM on April 3, 2009


    Or heck, I can't leave well-enough alone. The "Urban Archipelago" concept of the American political landscape is a dodo, proven wrong by the weight of recent history. As far as I can tell, you have two options on the table. Either you put your full support behind the local activists working on any issue, or you shut the fuck up. If you pontificate on the futility of such action or engage in armchair sniping that such and such wouldn't happen somewhere else, then you are part of the problem.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:57 AM on April 3, 2009


    You sat next to me at the SXSW meetup, dorkus.

    ohh, burn. Can I plead frostbite? I was going to ask up-thread whether there was still anyone in left in Oklahoma competent to mount a court challenge to this bullshit, but work intervened -- see, Texas is an "at will" state. I've got to look busy. Hang in there. First we take Tulsa, then we take Berlin.
    posted by Devils Rancher at 12:16 PM on April 3, 2009


    Metafilter: Those damn "@"s are a blight on the net.
    posted by scrowdid at 12:36 PM on April 3, 2009


    Every state is aaawful and does awful things. Oklahoma is no worse and no better than crazy nutjob liberal states like CA, or just-plain-crazy states like FL or NJ.

    You watch way to much Southpark.

    There actually are right sides of issues and wrong sides of issues. Becuase people in LA eat more Tofu and produce more Porn doesn't balance out some imaginary equation as to how fucking stupid, short-sighted, piss-ignorant and self defeating the political inclinations of places like Oklahoma have repeatedly and reliably been for the past several decades.

    In other words: Sorry. You are incorrect.
    posted by tkchrist at 1:11 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Actually, I think "fuck off" is an entirely reasonable and justified response.

    And predictably misses the point. Good luck with that.
    posted by tkchrist at 1:13 PM on April 3, 2009


    Actually, I think "fuck off" is an entirely reasonable and justified response.

    Actually, the heartland can fuck off.
    California is the leading agricultural producer in the country. California is the largest US state exporter of agricultural products. The heartland would miss the coast a lot more than the coast would miss them. Grain is essentially the only thing California and the coastal states cannot produce, and that can be bought from South Asia or Russia. Not to mention seafood could easily sustain the protein demands of the coastal areas (if we gave the heartland the benefit of the doubt and ignored the fact that California is 2nd in livestock production).

    The heartland's smug self assurance that the coastal states don't know who puts dinner on the table is grossly mistaken.
    posted by shen1138 at 1:18 PM on April 3, 2009


    Uh, on reflection, just want to be clear while I was stating what was probably the obvious sentiment, I was not in fact a proponent of the sentiment.

    I'm one of those coasters. Flying over the fly over states in my sunglasses and non alcoholic martini (is there such a thing?). Fingers raised. etc.
    posted by cavalier at 2:30 PM on April 3, 2009


    tkchrist & shen1134: Well, it comes down to a very simple question. Do you want to change the political environment of the United States? Or do you want, in another 4 years, to see a Romney or Huckabee in the White House?

    The bi-costal utopias are not enough. This is obvious from recent history. They are not sufficient to secure a legislative or EC majority. Morally it is unconscionable to write off the lives of millions of people because they live in the wrong legislative district.

    The lesson of recent history is clear. If we want to win, we need to fight a total war. This means opening up fronts where conservatives think they are safe. This means building national networks of local coalitions that can raise votes and funds. This means challenging the conservative framing that conservatives are the consensus rather than a plurality in the "heartland." (Which BTW, was the site of activism for Eugene Debs and Robert Owen.)

    All I'm suggesting is a little activism quid pro quo. Prop. 8 was a national campaign, but when faculty in my state came under fire, it was all LOL Georgia. I find that to be quite frustrating.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:40 PM on April 3, 2009


    This is why Oklahoma's motto is "Oklahoma is OK" instead of "Oklahoma is great" or "Oklahoma is full of smart people".


    Not to be a party shitter (36 favorites for that? What? ) But the state motto is actually "Labor Omnia Vincit'. Labor conquers all things.
    posted by 5imian at 2:56 PM on April 3, 2009


    non alcoholic martini (is there such a thing?)

    No.
    posted by ericb at 3:04 PM on April 3, 2009


    Didn't mean to piss you off, dw. For the record, here are the numbers:
    2004-
    George W. Bush * (R) 959,655 66%
    John F. Kerry (D) 504,077 34%

    2008-
    John McCain (R) 959,745 66%
    Barack Obama (D) 502,294 34%

    The numbers aren't that different, so I'm not really seeing a point.


    Damn right they're not different-- I don't think they're different enough to be real.

    The most dramatic and memorable presidential campaign of our lifetimes draws almost two thousand fewer voters to the polls than Bush v. Kerry?
    posted by jamjam at 3:07 PM on April 3, 2009


    Wait, WTF? I'm not the OP, but I love my @s.

    For the record, Matt's pretty clearly stated here in the past that he wishes folks would stop using them. Me, I think they're pretty clearly distracting, ugly, pointless and unnecessary noise. Again, just "username:" with a colon serves the same purpose without adding garbage to the screen. Or, you know, use an actual sentence that starts with, "Username, ..."

    /ridiculously major peeve
    posted by mediareport at 3:32 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    /ridiculously major peeve

    Word up. I send email to people asking them to stop it, now and then. It's great for twitter, it's great for the middle of email addresses. Use it for that. People here read for comprehension and can recognize their username without any prepended OH HEY LOOK AT THIS LOOK AT THIS I'M TALKING TO YOU signifiers, I promise.
    posted by cortex at 3:40 PM on April 3, 2009


    Ok, really for the record:

    mathowie: oh god, yeah, the @username thing is really dumb and a thing from digg.com. People don't talk at each other, they talk to each other.

    cortex: But don't use @username.

    jessamyn: @username is the only thing I don't like
    posted by mediareport at 3:40 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Not to derail, but I recently saw Dawkins present this lecture at the University of Minnesota, and wow was I underwhelmed. I thought he was rambly and disorganized, and the lecture topic seemed somewhat obvious. Dawkins really rocked the Q and A portion of the presentation. He's got the snappy comeback down. Overall I was disappointed -- I was looking forward to being blown away by his brilliance.
    posted by Malla at 3:45 PM on April 3, 2009


    All I'm suggesting is a little activism quid pro quo. Prop. 8 was a national campaign, but when faculty in my state came under fire, it was all LOL Georgia. I find that to be quite frustrating.

    Yeah. You are right. But telling people to "fuck off" does what exactly?

    Accusing people of being provincial and then responding provincially is not particularly enlightened, either.

    I suppose for us on the Coasts it's equally frustrating to be on the right side of issues, decade after decade, fighting uphill against the ignorance of the Fly-overs. And seeing fact and rationality get us no where. That is frustrating. Then having many who claim to be enlightened members of those places essentially act either in denial of the facts or accuse us of being self righteous.

    Facts should not make anybody mad. The sky is blue is not a contentious statement. The "fact" is the Coasts don't "need" the Fly-overs—culturally or economically—as much as you need us. We are your economic engines and it IS approaching a form of welfare for which the coasts get little in return. Except to be incessantly defamed as "crazy liberal nutjob" and beholden to the noble godly values of the fucking "heartland."

    Obama's election not withstanding. IF (when) the right regains power the Coasts will retain their wealth and the middle and south still will mostly decline. Telling us to fuck off is pretty stupid. Eh. All the brain trust of the heartland will bleed out to the coasts eventually if trends continue anyway. So you enlightened folks will be absorbed into our tofu collective anyway.

    And, if trends continue, the fly-overs will quickly turn themselves into third-world level societies. Those, ,like in the south, that are not already there. Despite your best efforts on political fronts. IF trends continue.

    Will trends continue? I must admit the election of Obama completely caught me by surprise. Though I see that as the resutl of the sheer incompetence of Bush rather than any cultural sea change. We will see. It depends on how the heartland reacts to the neo-depression.
    posted by tkchrist at 4:34 PM on April 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


    5imian:
    - motto
    + slogan

    Better?

    Seriously though, every summer of my youth I was forced to stay in that shitty state and see that on all the license plates and wonder why no one cared.

    And don't even get me started on how OU can't even come up with their own fucking fight song.

    /Just because I was born there doesn't mean I have to like it.
    posted by educatedslacker at 4:43 PM on April 3, 2009


    Morally it is unconscionable to write off the lives of millions of people because they live in the wrong legislative district.

    First, this isn't about some outlandish claim of "writing people off."

    This was about heartlanders having some false pride in a patently unrealistic notion they cling to that coastal people don't recognize who feeds them. Coastal people do not merely recognize that, they pay them handsomely to do so. That was the point of my link, where the majority of the federal funds pouring into the heartland are agricultural subsidies that give US farmers an unfair, and arguably morally reprehensible advantage over farmers in developing countries that could grow the crops cheaper but don't have government subsidies.

    As for your obvious enthusiasm for going to war on conservatives everywhere ("If we want to win, we need to fight a total war. This means opening up fronts where conservatives think they are safe."), I concede I share none of it. First, this country IS a conservative country. We just had 8 years of the worst rule this country has seen, and the party that was responsible for it still garnered over 45% of the popular vote. You make it seem as if recent history demonstrates some watershed change in the political beliefs of US at large. I don't agree. Obama won by about 7%. These are what real wins looks like.

    If anything you're the one who's writing off millions of people and their beliefs. It's like you want to free Tibet so you can convert all the Buddhists to Catholicism.
    posted by shen1138 at 4:58 PM on April 3, 2009


    tkchrist: You appear to advance the hypothesis that the coasts of the USA are the only places where political progress is made, writing about the nations interior as:

    "how fucking stupid, short-sighted, piss-ignorant and self defeating the political inclinations of places like Oklahoma have repeatedly and reliably been for the past several decades."

    "the fly-overs will quickly turn themselves into third-world level societies. Those, ,like in the south, that are not already there."

    But this is not so clear cut-- your idea that political and social progress is made on the coasts and only then is the interior grudgingly pulled along.

    Just today we see that Iowa can do for gay rights what California cannot do. Furthermore, Oklahoma and Georgia are the only states in our United States which offer Universal Preschool. Oklahoma offers full-day kindergarten even. These state-sponsored child-care offerings look positively Scandinavian compared to what one finds in the Northeast or West Coast, where if you have small children, you either stay at home or pay dearly to have the kids in quality care.
    posted by u2604ab at 5:08 PM on April 3, 2009


    Just today we see that Iowa can do for gay rights what California cannot do.

    California was allowing gay marriage. And it remains to be seen what the people, not the courts, of Illinois will do.

    I do not postulate that the coasts are universally enlightened. However they are substantially more liberal than the flyovers. that is indisputable. And if our right wing nut jobs hold such sway then the wing nuts in the Midwest are exponentially worse.

    Besides I wouldn't call the state with a city like Chicago culturally a "flyover" society, either. Part Corn Belt and part east coast.

    But let's see what places like Arkansas, the Dakotas, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma South Carolina, and Mississippi do with "gay marriage."
    posted by tkchrist at 5:33 PM on April 3, 2009


    Dawkins isn't very popular on Mefi, but it'd be nice for more people to at least acknowledge that he does go out there and place himself in awkward, if not potentially violent situations to make his point/invite debate.
    posted by bardic at 5:36 PM on April 3, 2009


    I like Dawkins. Mefi doesn't like him because they don't actually read what he writes. Just what other people write about him.
    posted by tkchrist at 5:51 PM on April 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


    tkchrist: Oh, you misunderstand in thinking I'm telling people to fuck off because they live in a certain zip code.

    I'm telling people to fuck off because they are on the wrong side of the issues, the wrong side of history, and just generally wrong.

    Here is the basic situation in case you forgot it since you read the opening post.

    The University of Oklahoma is under attack by state legislators for inviting Richard Dawkins to speech at his own expense.

    1) You can agree with the University of Oklahoma that a diversity of opinion is a good thing for academic institutions, and inviting speakers of note is part of their mission as a university. In which case you owe them your full unvarnished and unmitigated support in this matter.

    2) You can agree with the likes of Todd Thompson that academic freedom should be subject to the whims of the most vocal and populous constituents of a state, and that neither the people of Oklahoma nor the students of University of Oklahoma, or the faculty should have any expectation of academic freedom and integrity in "flyover" country or the "heartland," depending on which form of elitism you choose to buy into.

    3) The third option as expressed here, involves treating both sides with contempt, one because they oppose academic freedom, and the other because they demand academic freedom in blighted geographies that should be abandoned at first opportunity.

    It's advocates of this third option that I tell to "fuck off." While they recognize that Thompson's actions are a problem, neither are they willing to abandon provincialism to find common cause with those exercising the liberties under threat.

    They are on the wrong side of the issue, blocking discussion of the the core problem with repeated appeals to prejudices and bigotries claimed as "fact."

    They are on the wrong side of history, as the development of campaign networks in territories that had been previously conceded to the Republicans without a fight was central to electoral superiority in 2006 and 2008, and campaign funding superiority in 2008.

    And they are just generally wrong. What's at stake here is a value that should be reflexively defended by anyone claiming to be liberal, progressive, or leftist. It's a sad state of affairs that the progressive hive mind is generally more willing to defend freedoms as exercised in Iran than in Oklahoma.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:51 PM on April 3, 2009


    The heartland, through subsidies, can offer a better price…

    Socialism at its finest.
    posted by five fresh fish at 6:06 PM on April 3, 2009


    shen1138: First, this isn't about some outlandish claim of "writing people off."

    Of course it is. It was the premise of the blog post you linked to. People in Republican-majority states or districts shouldn't have access to government services, health care, or in this case, academic freedom, unless they wish to move to the coasts. This is an unconscionable position in my opinion.

    As for your obvious enthusiasm for going to war on conservatives everywhere ("If we want to win, we need to fight a total war. This means opening up fronts where conservatives think they are safe."), I concede I share none of it. First, this country IS a conservative country. We just had 8 years of the worst rule this country has seen, and the party that was responsible for it still garnered over 45% of the popular vote. You make it seem as if recent history demonstrates some watershed change in the political beliefs of US at large. I don't agree. Obama won by about 7%. These [wp] are what [wp] real wins [wp] looks like.

    Well, no. I'm not claiming a watershed change in political beliefs since the United States has been mostly purple for most of the last 20 years. I'm claiming that the last two general elections have involved a watershed change in Democratic Party strategy from one that delivered consistent losses, to one that's delivered both a streak of wins, and record-breaking funding. Furthermore, they did it using a very similar strategy that was the basis for the Republican domination of congress since the mid-90s. So we are talking about a strategy that's proven to be successful for both parties in different elections.

    Sticking to the safe territory is a losing proposition on all fronts: votes, representation, organization and fundraising. That's the way the game is right now. And you know what, progressive coalitions can win battles and elections here, and those fights are worth supporting.

    tkchrist: I do not postulate that the coasts are universally enlightened. However they are substantially more liberal than the flyovers. that is indisputable. And if our right wing nut jobs hold such sway then the wing nuts in the Midwest are exponentially worse.

    If you are not willing to work for change around here. I only ask that you get out of the way of those who do.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:21 PM on April 3, 2009


    Oh, I agree with Dawkins on some points, and disagree with him on others (mostly his essays trying to reduce the sociology and psychology of religion to evolutionary biology).

    Defending his selection as a speaker against a political challenge though is a no-brainer. It doesn't matter if he's speaking at an institution in Oklahoma, Alaska, or California. China, Japan, Pakistan, Israel, or England. Swiss City, New York City (thinking specifically of how politicians tripped over themselves to condemn a speaking invitation extended to the President of Iran), or Vatican City. He could be speaking at a community college, Big 10 school, St. Mary of the Woods, or Oral Roberts. Geography doesn't matter on this case.
    posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:51 PM on April 3, 2009


    A great Dawkins resource is The Unofficial Richard Dawkins page on YouTube. It's hard to go wrong with any of the first dozen videos listed. The Official Dawkins website is also decent, but has less content.

    Dawkins is at his best when he's discussing evolution and/or the history of the natural world, as in this series The Genius of Charles Dawkins or Life, Darwin, and Everything. Also decent is Growing up in the Universe. It's a lecture on the history of life on the planet given to a younger audience. Despite a few slow parts here or there (Dawkins can sometimes get bogged down in the metaphors he uses to explain things), it's a pretty decent overview if not exactly gripping.

    Dawkins can also be a bit stiff, prickly or short with people in interviews or Q&A, but then again, his social skills are still better developed than about 90% of the professors I've ever had. See The God Delusion, The Virus of Faith, and also The Blind Watchmaker.

    As for the "heartland" discussions... a few superficial comments. While the term "Mid-West" made sense in the 1800s when the Mississippi river was west of the country's frame of reference, the East Coast... today, today it would make more geographical sense to refer to the region as "The Middle East" or "Central America".

    The Middle East/Central America has the highest rates of teen pregnancy, drug use, and divorce. They also take in more federal dollars than they pay out - they are literally welfare states. One of the biggest sources of pride, farming, is also heavily subsidized by the taxpayers from blue states (it's, you know, *gasp* that evil "socialism" they are constantly bleeding out their eyes about).

    So would it be too much for politicians from Central American to can their "holier than blue" contempt for the coastal states and "welfare queens". The Middle East isn't the bastions of hard work and morality they think they are. Statistically they're a lot more like the kind of people they hold so much in contempt than the people in the blue states.

    Chasing science from the schools and universities isn't going to help turn the tide against economic decline - it will accelerate it. Good luck with an economy where everyone is employed as a bible salesman.
    posted by Davenhill at 9:51 PM on April 3, 2009


    Chasing science from the schools and universities isn't going to help turn the tide against economic decline

    No, but it'll sure make for the cheap farm labour.
    posted by five fresh fish at 10:00 PM on April 3, 2009


    What' slightly pissing me off is that most people seems to be focusing on details surrounding the life of Dawkins (what was said about him, what somebody did for him, against him, what have you). That's ok from a promotion point of view, but I wonder how many are actually reading his book or listening to his lectures? That's the real signal in the noise.
    posted by elpapacito at 2:11 AM on April 4, 2009


    :::MASSIVE RANT INCOMING:::
    ( with headers for convenience)
    About Metafilter Syntax:
    mathowie: oh god, yeah, the @username thing is really dumb and a thing from digg.com. People don't talk at each other, they talk to each other.

    This I find funny. Mainly because often times on metafilter people really are talking AT each other rather than TO WITH each other. Despite the syntax. Such a cozy bunch....

    moving on...
    -------------------------------------------------------------
    About 'Costly':
    Since the thread has been rolling along for a while I'll take a moment to explain my use of the word 'costly'. I probably should have said "frivolous", "unnecessary", or "extraneous". Those would have been better adjectives, but "costly" isn't exactly off the dartboard. The state university and the Legislature are both taxpayer-funded institutions. Anything "frivolous" comes at the expense of the citizen, mostly. The whole "surrender all your financial records" dance, wasn't being done for free... and was an action that included a lot more than just one person... it required two large, fully fleshed infrastructures coordinating information. Yes, it did cost money. Literally. But that is still not completely why I used the term....

    Much more importantly than money, I am referring to time and cultural costs. Again, "frivolous" might have been a better word.. but the whole thing is damaging to the university, damaging to free speech, and damaging to Oklahoma's reputation. Especially the latter! (just read the thread!) Its costs a lot of people quite a bit... mostly unquantifiable costs. As Dawkins points out in his article, should another proponent of evolution come speak will they have to prepare for the social and legislative friction, as well as the ensuing "investigation"? There is a potential loss here, and that's the potential loss of a speaker that rightfully fears Oklahoma's behavior towards their beliefs. Dawkins is a fearless 'bull in the china closet' sort...but what about someone else, like Daniel Dennet maybe or some other gentle soft spoken atheist? Oklahoma legislators sent a clear message to these guys and it may have cost the state their future presence. That is assuming you see their presence as an asset. I do. Very much so.

    About Asshats:
    I should also throw out, that while many see Thompsen and Hamilton as "lone asshats", no other members of the Oklahoman Government stood up and said "yeah that what he thinks, but we don't agree!!" publicly. Or perhaps maybe "We are super- duper sorry for glaringly letting this tool try to trample your free speech. And like i said, the "investigation" happened. Hamilton was not exactly a lone wolf... she was doing it in an official capacity. Maybe it was appeasement? Regardless, not only Hamilton but the whole legislature and to a greater degree the entire state gets painted with that image. Asshat. In the academic realm: "Oh Oklahoma? You mean that state that tried to prevent Dawkins form coming? I guess they haven't gotten the memo about the first amendment." Lone asshats or not, we all get to shoulder the embarrassment.

    About Perception:
    I travel a lot, and well... there really is an opinion about Oklahoma out there. Gun toting religious rednecks. Toby Kieth. Churches. Backwards. Technologically behind. I've even met people who still think we live in teepees (no shit). Our most noticeable cultural export? The Sooners. Country Music. The 'heartland'.


    "Oklahoma is a state that conjures up images of cowboys, indians, college football and dirt track racing. If these subjects appeal to you, you’ll be happy to learn Oklahoma real estate prices are very low."

    I see it all over this thread. I encountered it when i traveled to California for an artificial intelligence in music composition conference. As an educated atheist I don't fit the stereotype (and there is one hell of a negative one). I want to have pride in my state (or at least the people) ..but this (Thompsens actions, censorship , etc) is beyond embarrassing. Way beyond.

    Back to asshats:
    I guess i was hoping for more sympathy for the citizens, than condemnation. Theres a lot of asshats here in OK, but there is a LOT of people who likewise hate those asshats! And we need your support! Not your fucking one - liners!
    Well, you know, chances are probably pretty good that there are some very good people engaged in activism work on behalf of the university in specific, and sanity in general in the state of Oklahoma on this issue. Perhaps we could, you know network with those people rather than engage in a few hundred posts of LOL MIDWEST?

    Thats what i'm saying. Or trying to say. And Dawkins did that. He donated to Science institutions as i mentioned.

    Aside:
    I got a chance to chat with him after the talk at the book signing. I said "Thank you for coming, regardless of the political friction. So many of use are grateful you came.." His response? In a nutshell:

    "No. Thank YOU." Swell guy in my book. He gets it.


    Back to "costly":
    That is where my head was at when i composed the FPP . "Costly". It was an unintentional slant, but a defensible one.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    About Oklahoma and 'other' speakers:
    To those who don't know, not long before Dawkins came, another speaker, William Dembski, also spoke at the university. Two different times. Dembski, author of The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities and Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology is one of our nations most outspoken anti-evolutionist and ID proponents at the university level. He is an evangelical baptist with training in math, philosophy and theology (PDF CV) with close ties to The Discovery Institute. Basically, he is the Anti- Dawkins.

    Cutting to the chase, he has a scientifically much more dubious stance on..well..everything and for the most part is entirely rejected by the scientific community. Was he protested by the scientists at the university?? Was he banned for teaching pseudo-science? Was there legislative action at the university or state level to silence him???

    No, not at all. Free speech means just that, even to people who disagree with Dembski.

    I am not saying the entire crowd liked him much, but he was free to speak and have his ideas considered.

    Now based on the actions of Oklahoma legislation/Thompsen's behavior, has it been more costly for our state in terms of evolutionary biologists, or ID theologians?
    ----------------------

    Oh yeah almost forgot:


    As theroadahead points out above, it's Todd Thomsen, not Todd Thompson.

    You are correct sir. Autocorrect decided to "help me out" on that one, and i fell for it. My bad.


    :::MASSIVE RANT DEACTIVATING:::
    posted by 5imian at 4:11 AM on April 4, 2009


    Dude, is it possible that you could format your posts so that they're even more unpleasant to read?

    No, no you can not.
    posted by five fresh fish at 9:04 AM on April 4, 2009


    Look, he's just trying to bring some Time Cube goodness to MetaFilter.
    posted by grouse at 9:36 AM on April 4, 2009


    Hmm, I'm surprised you hate that so much. I figured it would be easier to go through than a giant single paragraph wall of text. Timecube? Cmon. That ridiculous site is outta control. I just tried to organize by topic. Do table of contents piss you off too?

    Metafilter: So anal about presentation you can't pull a metaphorical straightpin out of its ass with a tractor.


    ...phhhhh
    Oh yeah and NO @ signs either! YOU FUCKING PUNKS GET OFF MY LAWN!
    posted by 5imian at 9:51 AM on April 4, 2009


    I think I confused Iowa with Illinois. I'm an idiot. Sorry.
    posted by tkchrist at 11:44 AM on April 4, 2009


    The numbers aren't that different, so I'm not really seeing a point.

    The result in 2008 doesn't look that much different from 2004. But how that result came about shifted considerably in four years. Obama did better in the cities than Kerry, going from 66% to 62% in Tulsa County, for example. It seems to reflect the upscale urbanization of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and that's bringing a blue-ing of the populace, similar to what's happened in Dallas in the last 20 years.

    Meanwhile, the formerly eternal blue southeastern Oklahoma turned red in a big way. Counties where Kerry had won by 4-8 went to McCain by 20+. This was the final breakdown of the conservative Democratic base that held power in Little Dixie. Most of this has been due to the dieoff of straight-ticket Democrats and the migration of the younger populace towards Tulsa and Oklahoma City and Dallas and Kansas City.

    So the result wasn't much different, yes. But it is very different. In one part of the state, it was the completion of one party's takeover of the political process. In the cities, it's the seeds of change away from one party rule back towards the other party. And given that Oklahoma is becoming more urban every day and less rural, the trend lines are favorable to the left in the long term.

    I don't think Oklahoma is going to be some liberal paradise this generation, but I do think that it's more likely to be voting blue in 2036 than Washington or Oregon.
    posted by dw at 3:04 PM on April 4, 2009


    I suppose for us on the Coasts it's equally frustrating to be on the right side of issues, decade after decade, fighting uphill against the ignorance of the Fly-overs.

    Yeah, you looked at the Washington and California state budgets? Thanks to our idiotic initiative system and the general greed of our populace, the Washington state senate is proposing cutting over 20% of the UW's budget. The state house, over 30%. And you and I know that if UW is so gutted you're a hop and a skip closer to the Dark Ages here, with high tech and biotech jobs heading for places where they're funding their universities adequately (like, oh, Oklahoma).

    It's real easy to throw rocks from the West Coast because the Midwest is backwards on social issues. But we're doing it from the muck of a political system that's slowly sapping away everything we love about our Glorious Liberal Paradise.

    I'd rather Washington had more pontificating morons like Thomsen who are mostly harmless than the legislators we have now who are so scared of voters they'd rather burn down education and social services than do the hard work of fixing our ass-backwards tax system. And this is a Legislature, BTW, where the Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses and sends bills to a liberal Democrat of a governor.

    And by the way, if I were to uproot my family back to Oklahoma (which I might just have to, given that I'm working for said institution that's getting that's getting Dresden'd in this coming budget), all-day kindergarten would be free. Here in Seattle, you pay for all-day kindergarten.
    posted by dw at 3:16 PM on April 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


    Coming back to this thread way late, but just to address your point, dw, I would say that Obama's better performance in urban areas, i.e., OKC, Tulsa, Lawton, is due to the fact that Oklahoma's African-American population is concentrated in those areas, rather than to any "upscale urbanization."

    In fact, upscale urbanites in Oklahoma are far more likely to be Republican (been to Edmond or Nichols Hills lately?).

    And if you are forced back into the maw of Oklahoma, dw, let me know; if you're close to Norman, I'll buy you a beer.
    posted by theroadahead at 7:22 PM on April 4, 2009


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