(I’m running excerpts from posts this week as part of my annual review. This is the first of four review posts, which link back to Blue Oklahoma’s companion blog, Okie Funk. All these posts appeared on Blue Oklahoma. Click on the link below the excerpt to read the full post. Simply put, the year 2016, as defined in posts on this blog, now in its thirteenth year, wasn’t a good one for Oklahoma in any general sense. From the state’s continuing earthquake crisis to a state budget shortfall that led to a nearly 16 percent funding cut for higher education to the typical right-wing theatrics of a Republican-dominated legislature, 2016 has become, in my mind, perhaps one of the worst years in state history, culminating in the coming presidency of the authoritarian Donald Trump. These are not normal times here or throughout the country, and the uncertainty of what might happen in the coming year in Oklahoma and throughout the world has many people afraid and depressed. We need independent voices now more than ever. Thanks for reading the blog, and don’t give up the progressive fight in 2017.—Kurt Hochenauer)
I know for many people here this seems like a radical idea, but the only way to bring an end to all these earthquakes in Oklahoma is to ban oil and gas companies from using the fracking process to extract fossil fuels in our state.
Obviously, the negative economic impact of prohibiting hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” would be immense here, but it might finally kickstart the state government into truly diversifying the local economy while doing what it’s supposed to do, which is protecting the safety of citizens and their property.
The major 4.3- and 4.2-magnitude earthquakes that recently rocked Edmond just north of Oklahoma City have brought the issue to the forefront. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has tried to micromanage the problem, but we now know the fracking process most likely reactivated a new fault line running from Edmond to downtown Oklahoma City. The lesson here is that Oklahoma, in a basic geological sense, is just not suited for fracking.
Oklahoma Fracking Ban Would Stop Earthquakes, January 6, 2016
A couple of legislators, with support from the governor, are pushing for a sweeping school-voucher system in Oklahoma again this year, but the proposed plan could financially devastate our public schools, and with the state facing major budget problems, now is exactly the wrong time to implement such a system.
Two points need to be established before a discussion can even begin about the legislation:
(1) The vouchers are getting called Education Savings Accounts or ESA’s, but make no mistake these would be payments generated by overall tax dollars that parents can use to send their children to private schools. That’s the main point. Legislators can distort the language all they want, but what they’re proposing is a basic school-voucher system.
(2) If passed and signed into law, the law could eventually transfer a huge amount of taxpayer money to private and private-religious schools. The proposed legislation’s broader purposes, which are left unstated by its sponsors, of course, are to privatize education and endorse Christianity. It’s telling that recent forums about the vouchers were held at Mount St. Mary Catholic High School and and Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.
Education Savings Accounts Not A Wise Choice For Oklahoma, February 8, 2016
Was the great Oklahoma City renaissance, an exaggerated term for at least some of us who live here and an absolutely absurd term for the city’s impoverished people without decent medical access, funded at least partially by a crook’s money?
Are those organizations which gladly accepted money from McClendon, who was indicted Tuesday on rigging prices on oil and gas leases, willing to give that money back to make restitution to the people the local wildcatter baron is alleged to have ripped off along with, according to a recent news report, his former partner Tom Ward, if the allegations are true? Here is a partial list of organizations, according to various reports, that took McClendon’s money: The Lyric Theatre, Ballet Oklahoma, Oklahoma Museum of Art, Arts Council of Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma Heritage Foundation and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. What about the over-hyped Boathouse District with which McClendon was heavily involved? Then there’s the Boys and Girls Club of OKC, one of McClendon’s donees I appreciate the most. Despite these contributions, McClendon still had plenty of money left over to live a life with his family few of us can even comprehend.