I have mixed feelings about Michael Jackson's death yesterday. I have a few thoughts and questions. Let’s ask ourselves who died yesterday? Was it a musical genius, an icon, or a tormented soul with an identity crises and daddy issues?
If you are really sad today let me ask you a few questions.
Strip away the fame; strip away the amazing contributions to music, or even the wildly bizarre behavior, and what are you left with? Just one of the tens of thousands of people that died from cardiovascular related issues yesterday. Are you sad for all them?
Michael Jackson was an icon, It’s sad because we lost a musical genius…right? No I don’t buy that. I contend that Michael Jackson, the legend, and the Musical Icon was lost to us many years ago. Strip away the fame, the amazing contributions to music, but this time keep the wildly bizarre behavior, and now it becomes harder to feel sad at his passing.
Of course this is not to say that I don’t recognize that it is sad when people die, or that it is always painful to a family when someone dies. I am talking about whether or not I am going to invest my emotions in the death of a stranger. In this case, it is hard for me to feel sad. I see an individual with deeply troubling emotional issues, and self destructive tendencies, who was extremely bizarre and strange. I see someone who I would not want to associate myself with and someone in who I was quite honestly repulsed.
What I see is a man with no real support base, no one to ground him, no one to check him and set him back on the correct course. I see him surrounded my other self-absorbed people, who wanted a piece of his fame and glory. I see a man who took his carrier and flushed it in favor of self destructive and bizarre behavior. That is what is sad.
Let me ask you, how sad you were when Anna-Nicole Smith died? Ohh well that is different. Is it? She was disturbed, self-destructive, and bizarre. What is sad about Anna-Nicole is how she got that way, not so much that she died.
What if Lindsay Lohan died today, would you be busted up about that? Or might you take a more jaded tac and say, “She was self destructive and...” Do you see my point?
I’m not glad he is dead, please don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sad either, and I’m not about to idolize the man he became. I was repulsed by the man that died yesterday. I feel sorry for him, but I wont grieve is loss.
...on subjects that interest me, including but not limited to Tulsa, technology, politics, religion, and life.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I have mixed feelings about Michael Jackson's death yesterday. I have a few thoughts and questions. Let’s ask ourselves who died yesterday? Was it a musical genius, an icon, or a tormented soul with an identity crises and daddy issues?
Posted by Steven H. Roemerman Sr at 9:50 AM
Monday, June 22, 2009
If, for no other reason than to see an extremely slick layout, here is a new blog you should checkout : TulsaPolitico
Joseph Bojang just started his blog and intends it to be about, "politics with a hint of Tulsa history"
I'm looking froward to see what he does with it.
Posted by Steven H. Roemerman Sr at 3:47 PM
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Tyson Wynn showed me a video of Milton Friedman on The Open Mind, hosted by Richard D. Heffner. It originally aired on December 7, 1975.
Friedman's message strikes a chord in my soul, and it's something I'd like to share with you. Friedman's premise is that when the Government tries to do good with your money, or steps in to correct some wrong they will not do nearly a good a job as if the free market takes care of it. Whether it's the federal government using our tax dollars to bail out and ultimately purchase GM, or little old Tulsa taking money from downtown property owners to build a ballpark it's a lesson we need to learn.
Here are some of the best quotes in my opinion...or skip to the end and watch it for yourself...
I want people to take thought about their condition and to recognize that the maintenance of a free society is a very difficult and complicated thing. And it requires a self-denying ordinance of the most extreme kind. It requires a willingness to put up with temporary evils on the basis of the subtle and sophisticated understanding that if you step in to try to do something about them, you not only may make them worse, but you will spread your tentacles and get bad results elsewhere.
You know, another answer to your question as to why you seem to have the drift to collectivism is along these lines. The argument for collectivism for government doing something is simple. Anybody can understand it. If there's something wrong, pass a law. If somebody is in trouble, get Mr. X to help him out.
The argument for a free -- for voluntary cooperation for a free market is not nearly so simple. It says, you know, if you allow people to cooperate voluntarily and don't interfere with them, indirectly through the operation of the market, they will improve matters more than you can improve it directly by appointing somebody. That's a subtle argument, and it's hard for people to understand. And, moreover, people think that when you argue that way you're arguing for selfishness, for greed. That's utter nonsense. The people who are in positions of power in a political hierarchy are also selfish and greedy.
One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results. We all know a famous road that is paved with good intentions. The people who go around talking about their soft heart -- I share their -- I admire them for the softness of their heart, but unfortunately, it very often extends to their head as well, because the fact is that the programs that are labeled as being for the poor, for the needy, almost always have effects exactly the opposite of those which their well-intentioned sponsors intend them to have.
I think there's been one underlying basic fallacy in this whole set of Social Security and Welfare measures. And that is the fallacy -- this is at the bottom of it -- the fallacy that it is feasible and possible to do good with other people's money. Now, you see that fallacy -- that view -- has two flaws.
If I want to do good with other people's money I'd first have to take it away from them. That means that the welfare state philosophy of doing good with other people's money, at its very bottom, is a philosophy of violence and coercion. It's against freedom, because I have to use force to get the money.
In the second place, very few people spend other people's money as carefully as they spend their own.
...government is an institution whereby the people who have the greatest drive to get power over their fellow men, get in a position of controlling them. Look at the record of government. Where are these philosopher kings that Plato supposedly was trying to develop?
I'm not in favor of eliminating government entirely. I think government has grown all out of proportion to its scope. Where are we going? I believe that that depends on us, that that's not in the cards, it's not -- we are masters of our own destiny. But if you take the road that we have been on, we are heading towards a destruction of our free society and towards a totalitarian society.
We are unfortunately headed down the route which Chile has already taken a century to its end, which Britain has taken much farther than we are. Now, I -- we still have time to avoid it. But we will not avoid it unless the people of this country recognize the danger and take very difficult and important steps to set a limit on the extent to which they are going to permit government to interfere with their lives.
I say thank God for government waste. If government is doing bad things, it's only the waste that prevents the harm from being greater. And the waste of government has two very important elements. Number one, if government were now spending the amount it spends -which is 40% of our income -- governments Federal, State, and local in the United States have total spending which equals 40% of total national income -- if they were spending that efficiently, we'd be slaves now. And in the second place, the waste is so obvious that it arouses a countermovement on the population at large, people are disillusioned with government and it increases the chance that they will recognize where this road is taking them and get off that train before it goes all the way.
And queue the liberals who will entirely miss the point of Friedman's argument, and make some goofy comment about how the economy is is such a sad shape right now because of the free market, despite the fact that the economy is really screwed up because of bad government policies, in 5...4...3...2..and Go!
Posted by Steven H. Roemerman Sr at 1:12 AM
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I'm very excited that State Senator Randy Brogdon is seeking to be elected as the Governor of Oklahoma. I'm a huge supporter of the senator because he is a Constitutional Conservative. Randy Brogdon is running on a platform of limited efficient government, effective government, individual liberty, personal responsibility, and the expansion of freedom.
On the Tuesday, June 9th edition of The Chris Medlock Show, Chris had Randy as a guest. If you have not had the opportunity to hear Senator Brogdon speak, I strongly encourage you to listen to the Chris Medlock show which can be found here. (about half way through the show)
"I will be a danger to the status quo" - State Senator Randy Brogdon
Posted by Steven H. Roemerman Sr at 10:42 AM
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Please to enjoy this latest Roemerman On Record Podcast. This time I discuss Tulsa City Councilor GT Bynum's comments at the last Tulsa City Council regarding the new Downtown Assessment that will be used to fund the Ballpark.
I play clips of the councilor's statements at the meeting, and respond with my commentary. At the bottom, and embedded in this post is the full video of the councilor's speech during last Thursday's meeting. Also, because not everyone is going to listen to this podcast, and because I want this content to be indexed by Google, I'm posting a few of Bynum's quotes with a the transcription, or the Reader's Digest version of my commentary...
“I can only speak for myself, the Mayor didn’t railroad me into anything…I didn’t get railroaded.”
So you were satisfied in the process imposed by the Mayor? You were satisfied that property owners wouldn't really get the chance to protest the amount of their assessment or to argue the benefit to their property? You were OK with that process? You flushed it out, and understood it, and approved it? You think it’s fair to impose a fee on people, a fee that they didn’t ask for, and then trick them into thinking that they could not protest when in fact they could? You knew that they would have to go to court to get justice? If you weren’t railroaded and were satisfied with the process, then what does that say? Or if you didn’t fully understood those ramifications, and voted yes, what does that say?
On graduated assessments...
“If we did have that graduated level of assessment, rather than setting a minimum level of benefit, that we’re talkin’ about here, Uhh, instead of having people concerned about whether or not they benefit as much as anybody else in the IDL, we’d be talking about, the guy whose on one side of the dividing line from the other, and gosh that guy’s building is 20 feet away from me, I’m having to pay more but we probably benefit the same. I think you’re never going to have a perfect system, and again that’s why I support this proposal.”
So, you have determined that the guy that is the furthest from the IDL, the guy that benefits the least will have some minimum level of property appreciation. Whatever that benefit is, it’s worth 6.5 cents per square foot. What I hear you saying is that because it’s hard to have a perfect system, and because it might create situations where one bar owner pays one fee and the bar owner that is 20 feet away pays a different amount, and because that might get a bit messy, you’re in not in favor of even trying to make it equitable?
If the minimum level of benefit is worth 6.5 cents per square foot, what is the level of benefit to the guy right across the street from the ballpark? What is that worth? If we were to agree that everyone benefits, and everyone should have to pay because of that benefit, then don’t we owe it to the person of least benefit to determine what the person of greatest benefit should have to pay? Because it‘s hard, you aren’t in favor of even trying? I completely reject this line of reasoning.
“The citizens of Tulsa shouldn’t expect other people to pay for everything for us. We need to be willing to step up and pay our fair share….I also think, that along those lines, it’s about responsibility on our part. We’re asking those that will benefit from the property appreciation that will come with this, I believe, to pay their end”
How is it responsible for the government to force downtown property owners to pay for the ball park? How is it responsible for the government to take from one group and give it to another, because it thinks it knows how to spend it better than they do? I would not call that responsible or fair, I would call that tyrannical!
As a Republican, and supposedly a conservative, what do you believe the proper role of government is councilor? Is it to build ball parks? Where in the US constitution, the State constitution, or the City charter does it say that Tulsa should build a ball park?
If it is a good idea, and investors want to do it, let’s pass a TIFF, let’s provide tax benefits, so that investors can build a ball park. Private investment, for private benefit, that is the free market, that is conservatism!
You seem to imply that when a property owner sees the value of their property appreciate because their neighbor makes an investment, that entitles the investor to demand money from that property owner whose property value increased. That is so abhorrent to me that I can hardly understand how you could possibly be for this assessment and still consider yourself a conservative. I completely reject this assessment. I reject it because the assessment is flat and not graduated; I reject it because property owners haven’t been treated fairly and allowed to protest this before the council; and I reject it because I'm a conservative and a believer in limited government and in the free market. I wholeheartedly reject the notion that public monies should be used in such a manner.
“If we want to continue to find reasons to oppose development in downtown, and people want to vote that way, that’s fine, but that’s not how I’m not going to choose to vote.”
Who is opposing downtown development councilor? Who is standing up and saying, “I’m opposed to downtown development?” No one. Pretty much every other councilor said they were for, at lest the idea of a ball park. Personally I think the idea of a downtown ballpark is good…just not publicly funded. That last line was so disingenuous to the reality of the situation, and why people are opposed to this assessment, that I cant believe you said it.
Again, those are only some of the quotes, and an abbreviated version of my commentary, I encourage you to listen to the podcast in it's entirety for full effect.
Posted by Steven H. Roemerman Sr at 12:22 AM
Saturday, June 06, 2009
On Thursday, the council deliberated over the final roll of tax payers in the new downtown assessment which will be used to pay for the new baseball stadium and surrounding stadium improvement district. Almost a year ago, the council voted to approve this new assessment of 6.5 cents per square foot for all owners in the IDL.
Fortunately, as it turns out this assessment is probably a violation of state law, because the assessment charges at a flat rate without regard to the benefit to the property owner. One can imagine that a bar across the street from the ballpark, might receive more benefit, than the warehouse on the other end if the IDL. Another thing we found out over the last year was that the process for protesting the assessment or appealing the amount of the assessment was made difficult and confusing because of the seemingly deliberate misinformation out of the Mayor’s office. Now, the only place a property owner can go to protest this assessment is district court.
Recently I have been pretty heard on Bill Christiansen because he was one of the 6 councilors that originally approved the assessment. I think this entire situation is a fiasco, and as one of the 6 who helped us arrive where we are today, I hold him partly responsible. However, every time I think, “Man, I think I might have been a little harsh, Christiansen didn’t deserve that…maybe I’m being to hard on him,” he opens his mouth and confirms my suspicions that he is an ineffectual leader.
Here are some quotes from Councilor Bill Christiansen at Thursday’s Council meeting. He is explaining why he voted for the assessment in the first place, and why he is now voting against approving the final makeup of that assessment.
"I took two trips to Memphis, I took a trip to Baltimore, um, I went with Stan (Lybarger), and Chuck (Lamson), and you know, we really…it was just so exciting to me that we had the potential to bring a baseball stadium to Downtown Tulsa..."
"Chuck even let me, you know in his generosity, he let me wear the Hornsby Costume one game for about five innings..."
“I was one of the six that voted for it (the assessment) enthusiastically.”
Christiansen allowed himself to sit on a plane with Stan Lybarger, and Chuck Lamson on their way to the look at ballparks all over the country. One can reasonably assume that they spent the entire time lobbying him to vote their way. Did Bill spend that same amount of quality time with people as ardently against this assessment, or with those who were opposed to public money being spent in such a manner? I doubt it very seriously.
So in the end what did it take to make Bill blind to his duty to flush out the details of the assessment; blind to the fact that the OSU medical center would be hit so hard by the new assessment, or blind to the fact that the petition process was deeply flawed and without adequate protection to property owners? All it took was a few hours in a plane with the proponents the ball park, and a few innings pretending to be Hornsby, the Drillers Mascot. That’s all it took to make him an vote yes, “enthusiastically”
“Well Steve,” you say, “that is a bit harsh, how do know he was blind to those details?” We know that he did not understand these ramifications because he has continued to inform us of his incompetence for the past few weeks. He has provided plenty of evidence on the radio, in the paper, and in the Council chambers.
Well all I can say is thank God for the Attorney General who informed Christiansen, via written opinion, that his previous vote was probably illegal and voting yes again would probably get him in trouble. And thank God for the Mayor and her attempt to mislead downtown property owners so that the only way to get justice is to go to court.
Bill was not too concerned that a massive increase to the downtown assessment would burden the small business owner. However, Christiansen started to get upset at the thought that a small businessman might have to go to court, and that was enough to make Hornsby change his mind.
“I’m voting no for this tonight.” Well wonderful Bill! Welcome to the light side of the force. Is there anyway you can sum up my entire problem with you, in some deliciously ironic way? That would be so great.
“I’m just disappointed that it’s come down to this because it doesn’t, it shouldn’t come down to this. It should have been handled properly in the first place, and it hasn’t been.” DING DING DING! Ohh great Councilor Christiansen, you hit the nail right on the head…
The assessment roll passed 5 – 4 Councilors Christiansen, Eagleton, Martinson and Westcott voted against it.
[UPDATE] here is the video of Christiansen's comments...
Posted by Steven H. Roemerman Sr at 8:55 AM
Friday, June 05, 2009
I was just looking through my spam folder for amusement, when I ran across the most disturbing email I think I've ever read. It was so raunchy, do disgusting, and so heart breaking that I hesitate to share even a single sentence with you.
It was basically an enticement to go to a web site where I could "check out all the horrors" of children being raped...Or if I was tired of viewing it though the computer screen I was offered a different site where I could find children in my area. "It's not cheap, but we guarantee, you will get your pleasure!"
My spirit is so grieved by this email, that it makes me sick...I feel like I need to cry and vomit at the same time.
Usually I just delete spam and go on my way, but this message was so heinous, and so evil that I felt like I needed to report it. I contacted the FBI, and was told to report this email to The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, via their CyberTipline.
If you know about children in danger, or run across anything like this. Please go to the above website, and report it. These guys need to be put down.
Posted by Steven H. Roemerman Sr at 10:32 AM
Thursday, June 04, 2009
If you have kids, you have probably heard them say that after some aftermath. A few months ago, my oldest climbed on the counter and in the process broke the kitchen cabinet, which in turn shattered several glasses. When I asked her why she climbed on the counter in the first place she said, “I didn’t know that would happen!”
When I listen to Councilor Bill Christiansen, or read his quotes in the Tulsa World, concerning the Downtown assessment mess, I can almost imagine him in my kitchen surrounded by broken glass saying, “I didn’t know this would happen!”
Last year, Bill Christiansen, along 5 other Councilors did not seem too concerned with the consequences of their actions when they let Mayor Taylor pressure them in to approving a new downtown assessment that would tax property owners 6.5 cents per square foot. Previously it was anywhere from 3.5 cents to one 0.01cents per square foot. The vast majority of this increase, which for some property owners is 64,900% greater than the previous assessment, goes to fund the new downtown baseball ballpark. They did not seem too concerned about the impact it would have on some owners, and they definitely were not concerned about making sure that the process for protesting the increase was fair. Otherwise, one assumes that they would not have passed it.
Almost a year later, it turns out that the only place left for property owners who have not already done so, to protest this assessment is in district court. Moreover, according to the Mayor’s office, the Council has no authority to adjust the fees to reflect perceived benefit of the ballpark. This is at odds with the opinion of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office. The AG, said that the Council could indeed adjust the assessment as long as the property owner had filed a proper protest before the April hearing on the assessment.
Here is what Councilor Christiansen has to say about this.
“…philosophically, I think going to court for a small businessman is a big issue. It's expensive." He called it, "a shame."
“…all of a sudden at the 11th hour they were told, 'Oh, no, it was this way and if you want to appeal now you can go to district court.' I don't agree with that. It's just not the American way.”
"It almost feels like taxation without representation, I don't see how we can totally disavow or say we disagree with the attorney general's analysis and just go down the road."
Can you hear him…can you see little Billy in my kitchen surrounded by glass saying, “But I didn’t know this would happen!!!”
I’m sorry Councilor, but you should have been a leader when the Council first voted on this assessment. Of course, it is my position that you should have voted no based on sheer conservative principals against raising taxes for private benefit. However, assuming that you do not have those principals, you should have at least performed your due diligence and ensured that the protest process was finalized to your satisfaction before voting yes on the Mayor’s assessment.
Aside from the citizens exercising their right to vote her out of office, the Council is the only check and balance to the Mayor. It is the Council’s duty to flush out such things before passing something as weighty as a 64,900% increase on a downtown assessment on the citizens of Tulsa. To complain now is sad and pathetic. Moreover, the very idea that Councilor Christiansen is thinking about running for Mayor now after this fiasco is insulting and scary.
Tulsa’s Mayor has a lot of power, and the person that sits behind that desk on the top floor of the One Technology Center needs to be a strong leader, one who makes the tough calls, and flushes out all the details before making important decisions. We do not need a follower that stands in the Council chambers complaining that they cannot see past the next action they will take.
Posted by Steven H. Roemerman Sr at 11:00 AM