(This week, I’m posting excerpts from 2011 Okie Funk and Blue Oklahoma blogs. Click on the headline to read the entire post. Thanks for reading Okie Funk and Blue Oklahoma. -Kurt Hochenauer)
Okie Funk’s First Take On OPUBCO Sale, Sept. 18. 2011
I have long been a critic of The Oklahoman in this space and elsewhere primarily for the extreme right-wing views on its editorial page.
I have also consistently pointed out right-wing biases in its news coverage, from the GOP, public-relations style of reporting that emanates from the newspaper’s Washington bureau to the way it frames the local news to what it even determines is news.
My posts and articles about the newspaper over the last ten years or so could easily fill a book.
Along the way, I have been critical of the newspaper’s principal ownership, the Gaylord family, for being a major player in a corporate power structure here in the Oklahoma City area that seems more interested in reaping its own financial rewards than working for a common good.
So I was somewhat surprised that when I learned that the Oklahoma Publishing Company (OPUBCO), which includes The Oklahoman, was being sold to Denver billionaire and right-winger Phil Anschutz I was filled with a moment of sadness. The Gaylords have been a bedrock of the culture here, its very own, right-wingers for the left to traditionally criticize and rail against and major members of the eclectic and weird, dysfunctional family called Oklahoma.
Student Bailout: Forgive College Loan Debt, Oct. 18, 2011
Occupy OKC and the overall “occupy movement” has the attention of the local corporate power structure here judging from the sustained, mocking criticism by its public relations branch, The Oklahoman editorial page.
Last Wednesday, the newspaper’s editorial page called the movement’s protesters “idiots.” On Monday, it referred to t-shirt slogans superficially connected to the movement as “garden-variety anarchy.” At least three editorial cartoons making fun of the demonstrators have been published (at least on NewsOK.com, the newspaper’s internet site) in the last week or so. Is it simple conservative media overkill or real paranoia creeping in?
What the movement will become is anyone’s guess, and by its nature the movement will not follow a rigid hierarchy, but it’s safe to say the wealthiest among us-those called the 1 percent-are at least paying attention if not becoming deeply concerned about where all this might lead. Oklahoma City obviously seems like an unlikely place for a sustained, progressive-like protest, but the tents were still up in Kerr Park Monday afternoon.
Does Fracking Cause Earthquakes?, Nov. 8 2011
Is fracking related to the recent earthquakes in Oklahoma?
Well, it’s worth an extended discussion, but don’t count on the conservative corporate media here to go out of its way to cover the story just like it declines to discuss at any length whether climate change is responsible for the recent drought. In Oklahoma, as we all know, energy companies can do no wrong and there’s no such thing as global warming.
Last Saturday, an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 literally rocked Oklahoma and even surrounding states. Located near Sparks, in central Oklahoma, it was the biggest earthquake ever recorded in the state. This was followed by approximately 22 aftershocks. On Monday evening, the earth moved again, this time with a magnitude of 4.6. Homes shook, people tried to find their footing and there was damage.
Is this the new “normal” in Oklahoma? Will the coming earthquakes get even stronger. If so, why?
Some geological experts point to the Wizetta Fault, also called the Seminole Uplift, just east of Oklahoma City, which has experienced an uptick in seismic activity recently for supposedly unknown reasons. Others question whether the relatively new technology of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, might be responsible for an increase in earthquakes here and in Arkansas.
Fallin’s Choice, Dec. 22, 2011
Whatever people might think about the specific decision by state officials to remove birth as a qualifying event for health insurance, it should serve as a reminder that our medical system remains relentlessly ruthless.
Gov. Mary Fallin, according to a media report, recently signed the rule as requested by the office of State Insurance Commissioner John Doak. Fallin’s office said the reason was to entice health insurance companies who offer policies for children to come back to do business in Oklahoma. The companies stopped offering child policies in Oklahoma because of the “president’s health plan,” according to Fallin’s office.
Fallin spokesperson Alex Wentz was quoted this way about the issue: “We think it will get more kids covered. It’s not perfect, but honestly, we view it as cleaning up a mess made by the Obama administration.”
So in other words some of the youngest and sickest children will go uncovered, but other, presumably healthier children will get insurance coverage. It resembles the plot of the movie Sophie’s Choice in its calculation: choose one child over another child.