Last year, US Congressman Jim Bridenstine – the baby-faced Derplahoman of our congressional delegation – was the subject of an ethics investigation after he took an all-expenses paid trip to Azerbaijan that was secretly funded by Azerbaijan’s state-run oil company.
The Hill provided an update on the story earlier today. Apparently, Bridenstine and other politicians had to return a bunch of gifts they received:
Lawmakers turned over gifts after secretly funded trip to Azerbaijan
Lawmakers who took a trip secretly funded by the government of Azerbaijan turned over jade earrings, tea sets, silk scarves, woven rugs and other gifts to the government after a watchdog report called the trip improper.
The list of gifts returned to the General Services Administration (GSA), which was obtained by The Hill through a Freedom of Information Act request, fills in more details about the trip to a 2013 conference in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku.
In all, nine current member of Congress and 32 staff members attended the conference, each receiving thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts, according to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). Some of the lawmakers also went to Turkey after the conference in Baku and received additional gifts on that stop.
The OCE report on the trip was submitted to the House Ethics Committee on May 8, 2015, but was leaked to The Washington Post, which revealed the details of the report days later.
Roughly a week before the House Ethics Committee released its report detailing its findings in July 2015, members of Congress who had taken the trip began returning the gifts they had received.
Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) and Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas) all turned over gifts to the House clerk, who then handed them over to the GSA in October 2015, according to records obtained by The Hill.
I know Bridenstine was relatively new to congress when all this happened, but what was he thinking? Doesn’t he know that only American-based oil companies are legally allowed to buy, coerce, and secretly influence our politicians? You would think HR would have covered all that in the New Congressmen Orientation Training.
Apparently the people from Azerbaijan made a really big impression on Bridenstine. One year after his lavish visit to the country, he flew to the Azerbaijan Center in Houston for a nice dinner and follow-up meeting with his new friends.
According to Azerbaijan Center website:
2ND VISIT OF CONGRESSMAN JIM BRIDENSTINE TO THE AZERBAIJAN CENTER
The Azerbaijan Center welcomed for the second time a dear friend of the Azerbaijani community, Congressman Jim Bridenstine (OK-1).
During this visit, the Azerbaijan Center gathered a very heterogeneous audience from the Azerbaijani community which included attendees from the oil industry as well as groups of students from high school and universities.
Congressman Bridenstine alluded to the experience he had during his trip in Azerbaijan and underlined the strong impression of diversity in Azerbaijan while enjoying cultural insights from his trip.
Yeah, that’s right. The homophobic Republican from Oklahoma who hosts town halls where little old ladies talk about how Obama should be executed for allowing Muslims into the country appreciates the strong impression of diversity in Azerbaijan. Maybe the LGBT community should start sending members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation on secretly funded trips to foreign lands. Perhaps that will get them to modernize their minds.
At the event, The Azerbaijan Center provided Bridenstine with some porcelain tea cups, an “Appreciation Award” and several small bottles of water. Check out these pics:
Oklahoma City morning radio has gotten a little more cheery.
As the Buster Olney of the local sports radio beat, I have a duty to report that John Rhode, the grumpy Oklahoman sports columnist turned curmudgeonly morning sports radio host, was let go by The 107.7 The Franchise on Monday. He is being replaced in the lineup by Paintbrush, Driver and Running Girl.
Okay, I’m joking around. The real replacements are former Oklahoma linebacker Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuufus Alexander and one of my favorite lads to troll on Twitter, Andrew Gilman.
The lineup change marks The Franchise’s latest attempt to usurp The Sports Animal in the ratings game, something the station probably thought would happen when they originally hired Mike Steely, Lump and Rohde away from the WWLS in 2013. Out of those three talking heads, Steely is the only regional radio star who remains. I guess taking on the ESPN of the OKC sports media landscape has been more challenging than everyone thought.
Anyway, I’ve never been a big John Rohde fan, and he was out of his element as a morning radio host, but you still have to feel sorry for the guy. As he foreshadowed in his original column for the Franchise, I guess his transition from newspaper to radio worked out about as well as Billy Tubbs’ move from OU to TCU in the mid-1990s. We wish him the best of luck, and hopefully he’ll land on his feet at some other radio station or newspaper. It’s never too late for a career-mulligan mulligan.
I live only a few blocks away from a Taco Mayo—the Oklahoma City-based fast food “Fresh-Mex” chain—but for some reason, never think to go there. They’re not terrible, they have a decent salsa bar and let’s be honest: those Potato Locos are the bomb, son! But, still, whenever I’m craving fast food tacos, I’ll always go the literal extra mile to be disappointed by the filthy Taco Bueno at NW 23rd and Penn. Why is this? I blame poor self-esteem.
Over the past two or three weeks, however, I have received numerous emails, DMs, text messages and bricks through my window asking if I was going to take on the new Indian Taco at the aforementioned Taco Mayo. After all, here at the Lost Ogle, Indian Tacos are only second to Chicken Fried Steak when it comes to mandatory Oklahoma staples that will always be written about, at least by me.
I guess it’s time to make some “Keep OKC Normal” bumper stickers.
According to this clickbait from the Washington Post, Oklahoma City is apparently the “most normal” place in America. Think about that the next time a guy driving an F-450 Super Duty with truck nuts cuts you off on the highway.
Every place in America is weird for some reason. But some places are a lot weirder than others.
Lyman Stone, a cotton economist who also blogs about migration, has spent a lot of time thinking about this lately. Stone created an impressive data project in May that calculated the most normal and weirdest cities in America, based on 20 different variables drawn from U.S. Census data – including the proportion of the population that is foreign born, married, working, in the armed forces, that own a car, and so on.
According to Stone’s calculations, the weird city in America is San Jose, Calif. – the home of Silicon Valley. The most normal? Oklahoma City, Okla.
That’s awesome. Doesn’t it feel cool to be so normal? I say we all meet at the Chili’s to celebrate!
Here’s the complete list of “Most Normal” cities. Tulsa also popped up on the list:
Normally I like to criticize the local media when they run sensational news reports designed to drum up irrational fear and paranoia for the sake of easy TV ratings, but I’m all for it on this one.
Yesterday, KFOR ran a report on the hidden dangers of those annoying, overly cheery color runs that happy people seem to enjoy so much. Apparently the corn starch that Roy G. Biv throws at them while they run through Midtown is extremely flammable and may lead to a hot, fiery, and somewhat colorful, death.
Well, at least that’s what the fearmongers at KFOR are telling us:
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