If you’re reading this, chances are you depend on blogs for at least part of the information you consume on a daily or weekly basis. Yet if you’re an Oklahoman interested in state politics and policy, it’s not easy to know which blogs provide good information and interesting perspectives on the issues you care about – besides, of course, this one.
Here’s a list of and brief description of 15 blogs that : 1) are written by Oklahomans; 2) have a political or policy focus; 3) are likely to keep you informed, amused, enlightened or outraged. They’re grouped based on my sense of their ideological leanings – left, right, and center/apolitical. If you disagree with my take, or think I’ve missed a notable site, please jump in with a comment.
- OkieFunk – The blog of DocHoc, a.k.a. Kurt Hochenauer, an English Professor at University of Central Oklahoma. OkieFunk provides an unapologetically liberal and hard-hitting take on the Republican-controlled Legislature, the Oklahoman, big business and other pillars of what he sees as the state corporate-political elite. Multiple winner of the Okie Blog Award for Best Political Blog (Liberal). DocHoc also maintains the BlueOklahoma website.
- OkOnomics – UCO Economics Professor Mickey Hepner weighs in with regular commentary on state and national issues. A centrist Democrat, Mickey can be critical of the orthodoxies of both parties, but lately has been especially tough in calling out Oklahoma’s Republican congressional delegation for their opposition to the stimulus and health care reform. Mickey also contributes a regular column to the Edmond Sun.
- Oklahoma Citizen – Less a blog than a portal and clearinghouse for news, commentary and events for the Oklahoma progressive community, Oklahoma Citizen is maintained by Serena Blaiz (who also runs the Peace Arena blog) and several other contributors. Users must register to post content.
- Mainstream Baptists – This is the personal blog of Dr. Bruce Prescott, the Executive Director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists, who also hosts a weekly Sunday morning radio show on KREF. Bruce provides a consistently thoughtful case for the separation of Church and state and for a more compassionate society and economy.
- Oklahoma Lefty – Dave, who runs the Oklahoma Lefty blog, doesn’t devote much space to Oklahoma politics, but he does provide good occasional commentary on national issues and his regular listing of the cool music he’s listening to may just help you out of that decades-long James Taylor/Billy Joel rut.
- Batesline – Tulsan Michael Bates writes long, well-researched, and smart posts on subjects ranging from state and national politics to local economic development and Tulsa history. A conservative Republican, Bates is an especially acerbic critic of the bi-partisan midtown “Money Belt” elite that he sees as monopolizing power in Tulsa. Formerly a columnist with Urban Tulsa, he now seems to devote himself full-time to the blog, which has been a repeat winner of Okie Blog Award for Best Political Blog (Conservative) .
- McCarville Report Online – The long-time Oklahoma City radio talk show host’s website offers a combination of links to news articles and original reporting, analysis and scuttlebutt about state and local OKC politics. While his links and advertisements are strictly Republican and conservative, if you look hard you can occasionally find coverage favoring Democrats.
- Choice Remarks – One of several blogs maintained by Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs Vice-President Brandon Dutcher, this blog focuses on education issues and pushes for alternatives to traditional public education through tax credits, vouchers and charter schools. With Republicans solidly in control at the state Capitol, Brandon’s blog is likely to be an increasingly influential source of ideas on education policy for the state’s elected leaders.
- Oklahomans for Responsible Government – A libertarian policy organization closely allied with the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, OFRG’s blog focuses on issues of government transparency and accountability, while generally making the case for smaller government and lower taxes.
- The Musings of a Muskogee Politico – My latest discovery, this blog maintained by Jameson Faught, the 20-year old son of Rep. George Faught, has proven to be an insightful observer of Oklahoma legislative politics. His 2010 election predictions were quite prescient, although he slightly underestimated the magnitude of the Republican wave that swept over Oklahoma.
- Oklahoma Women’s Network Blog – This blog, maintained by the tireless Jean Warner, covers politics, social issues and business from the perspective of Oklahoma women. While Jean is an unabashed promoter of expanded female participation in political life in the state, she has eclectic interests so the blog is a great place to learn about everything from emerging technologies to international development issues.
- Tulsa Initiative blog: If OK Policy doesn’t satiate your inner policy wonk, then be sure to check out this blog written by Elizabeth Harris of Tulsa’s Community Action Project (my former employer). Elizabeth explores research and data related to poverty and economic opportunity for low- and moderate-income families and covers such topics as early childhood education, health care, worker training, and housing.
- Data Watch: The blog of Oklahoman reporter Paul Monies, Data Watch focuses especially on campaign financing and issues of government openness and accountability, including the use of state tax credits. Paul received this year’s OFGR’s Taxpayer Advocacy Award. He also creates some real nifty visualizations, such as this one on the state budget.
- Wayne Greene’s blog: In recent months, Tulsa World editorial writer Wayne Greene has devoted his blog exclusively to the Friday Clean Limerick Challenge, providing clever five-line insights on a broad range of subjects. One example:
Dan Boren has named his new son
Hunter (a name and a pun).
The Borens, they say,
And the old NRA,
Think he’ll be a real son of a gun.
- The Lost Ogle: Saving the most popular for last, the Lost Ogle won the 2009 Okie Blog Awards for Most Humorous Blog and Best Oklahoma City blog and was runner-up for Best Overall blog. Perhaps the closest Oklahoma equivalent to the Daily Show, the Lost Ogle takes on politics, sports, the media and popular culture in the Sooner State with a keen sense of irreverence and with an obvious disdain for all those it finds pompous and self-serving.