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Tornado damageIn a week when Oklahoma has taken center stage on the national news media, one might have expected our local embedded journalists to step up, and report not just that which they see before their vacant eyes, but at least offer a passing nod to the real stories in this State.

I understand that pictures of old ladies being re-united with their dogs are heart-warming, and have a feel good factor that no television camera can resist. When the little old lady then expresses her profound gratitude that God has answered both of her prayers it ramps the story right up the human interest scale.

I, on the other hand, curmudgeon that I am, find myself rather more concerned with the ten dead children, the ones God apparently missed in his rush to save a dog. Don't get me wrong. I am pleased for the lady and the dog, she has suffered and deserves the comfort, but forgive me for being less pleased with our local TV station, NewsOn6

Channel 6 in Tulsa is the local CBS affiliate, owned by Griffin Communications. They also own Channel 9 in Oklahoma City, and various others dotted around the place.

They do deserve some praise, primarily for Travis Meyer and his team of meteorologists. They do a great deal of work and Tulsans trust them to keep the necessary information flowing in a calm and accurate manner. They do this very well, and are the first choice for weather information in this house. On Monday they did a fabulous job despite being interrupted frequently by the somewhat less than useful "Emergency Broadcast System".

This is a system designed to interrupt the state of the art weather info you are watching, with utter garbage, but I digress.

Now the news team are a different kettle of bass. They are really rather good at letting us know about all the crime that is committed. If a meth lab is discovered, or a gas station robbed they are all over it, in high definition. Where they lose focus is in any attempt to go beyond the crime and look at the causes. Lori Fulbright is brilliant at teaching women how to defend themselves, less good at pointing out that young Oklahoma men are not taught how not to be rapists. I refuse, by the way, to be down on Ms Fulbright. Last time I had cause to take issue with her she entered into a positive dialogue, which is to be encouraged. Lori is not the investigative journalist mouthpiece in this story.

The news anchors are decent people. Good, down-home manner but either unwilling to, or constrained from making any real efforts to either investigate issues thoroughly, or add any form of editorial view. It seems to be sufficient that they uncover a few facts, and report them. No analysis, no conclusions, never a hint of a finger pointed in the direction of the seats of power.

They need me. They need someone who will actually ask questions that people do not want asked, and not allow venal, craven and corrupt legislators to get away with peddling the usual line of bullshit. They need, in essence, an investigative journalist, or three, who will ... you know ... investigate, compile, report and conclude. They need a Jesse la Greca, or even a Twigg!

Let me give you a case in point, and the story they investigated three days after an EF5 tornado ripped through Moore, OK, killing twenty four and making thousands homeless.

In this troubled time the producers clearly wanted to demonstrate their prowess at exposing either lackadaisical behavior by school districts, or maybe even illegal behavior by the same. Not unreasonable, one may think, given that two schools were destroyed on Monday with a tragic loss of life.

After the last Moore, OK tornado, in 2003, which itself followed the Moore, OK tornado of 1999 (who chooses to live in Moore?), the State Legislature passed the Oklahoma Emergency Management Act of 2003. One of the provisions of this worthless waste of paper is the requirement that all School Districts form emergency plans, and submit them to the local Emergency Manager. The plans must be updated every year. This is the law. This is what they are supposed to do.

Now shock, horror ... In the heart of Tornado Alley it appears that few School Districts are doing this. I presume we are left to draw our own conclusions about the abject failure of Schools to protect our kids, because no real analysis was provided.

But wait ... It seems that a failure to plan for an emergency, given our weather is a serious matter, and if true then surely heads must roll? Well of course it isn't true. Every school in at least one of the districts concerned has well-developed and practiced plans, and regular drills for the students. How do I know? I know because it's the first damned thing they hand me when I turn up to substitute. The schools around here take weather very seriously indeed. It's right up there with Intruder on Campus. and Oklahoma University losing at football.

So if the schools are planning, what is the bone of contention? That they didn't file a plan with the City Manager? Did NewOn6 ask who the plan was filed with? (link to main story) Nope. Surely that would have been useful. Was the plan, for example, filed with the Fire Department, the Police Department? The people who would need the plan to actually do their job? We don't know, because our intrepid reporter either didn't ask, or didn't tell us. I hope she didn't ask and is merely incompetent. She's a nice young woman and I would hate to think that she did ask but decided that the answers were inconvenient to her "angle".

These matters, while pertinent, are minor and I'm being picky criticizing NewsOn6 in this manner. Picky because they completely failed to get the real story here. A story of complacency and dereliction of duty so egregious that it should be headlined for the entire week.

May 3rd, 1999 a tornado hit Moore killing dozens and producing the highest wind speed ever recorded on the planet, ever. 2003 another tornado hit the city, and on Monday a third, even worse than the tornado of 1999.

Two schools filled with elementary age children took direct hits, and ten children died.

Why?

Not why did the tornado hit, that is just what tornadoes do and Oklahomans know this. They have known for a hundred years and presumable the Native Americans knew for thousands of years before that. No, a tornado hitting Oklahoma is not new, not surprising at all. It is an entirely predictable occurrence.

My question is not why did the tornado hit, that is a known quantity, but rather why did the schools collapse? Why did those kids die? If we can predict an outcome, we can prepare to meet it and it appears that the preparations have been woeful.

Following the tornadoes of 1999 and 2003, did the Oklahoma Legislature toughen the building codes? Did they require that new homes incorporate safe rooms, or that schools be built to withstand EF5 tornadoes at least in part of the structure? No, they did not. They didn't do either of those things either then or at any time, following any of the hundreds of tornadoes that have hit Oklahoma.

It appears that the price Oklahomans must pay for the freedumb from Big Government Regulation, is that when the children leave home in the morning, sometimes they will not come home again.

This is the real story ... the one missed by journalists who are being well-paid to investigate, yet I found in a few minutes.

The Oklahoma Legislature's response to the very real danger to life in predictable circumstances was not to move to protect the children ... Instead they simply insisted that the School Districts tell the Emergency Manager where to find the bodies!

It doesn't have to be this way. Even in Oklahoma, where the State Government appears to be immune from concerns about the safety of the population. Where school districts are apparently feckless, and illegally withholding the required paperwork, for shame. Some communities are managing to put their people first.

With credit this time to Channel 6 for the reporting:

Beggs School District, a small community just south of here, took matters into their own hands. With a need for a new Event Center, the people of Beggs passed a bond issue. In return for the confidence expressed by the local community, Beggs built an Event Center and built it to withstand an EF5 tornado, with accommodation for up to one thousand people; enough for the entire town!

"It's built to withstand an F-5 tornado and it's our way of giving back the community since they gave the building to us in a bond issue, it's our way of opening up and helping them feel safe and secure," Superintendent Cindy Swearingen said.
The dome they built has steel-reinforced, sixteen inch concrete walls. Given the picture at the top of this story, those walls might be needed.

Beggs School District may, or may not have filed their emergency response plans with the Beggs Emergency Manager, but they certainly have a plan, and the entire city put their money where their children are. Other school districts have well conceived plans, regardless of where they file them.

The Oklahoma Government did nothing to help, other than cut budgets and create another layer of beaurocracy, but, with the eyes of the world on this State (my Mom called from England to check we were okay), one might imagine that the undivided attention of the lawmakers was focused, laser-like on relieving the suffering.

Indeed they have been busy. In the last few days of the current session, they have been again attempting to help the working, and working poor by another attempt to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Nice!

-

Originally posted to Every Part of You Belongs to You on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by State & Local ACTION Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I have to tell you that Beggs (226+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomFromNJ, cassandracarolina, cececville, Ojibwa, chrississippi, princesspat, blueoasis, Mary Mike, Bernie68, Sun Tzu, NYFM, sceptical observer, Pat K California, cordgrass, TheOrchid, commonmass, Temmoku, Hammerhand, edsbrooklyn, ask, kcc, jacey, big mouth, Pandora, Yellow Canary, SueM1121, Siri, begone, Shippo1776, Rick Aucoin, allergywoman, kevinpdx, ChemBob, Buckeye Nut Schell, myboo, jfromga, maggiejean, SoCalSal, greengemini, jhop7, BigOkie, Lorinda Pike, sodalis, Onomastic, blue91, Polly Syllabic, Chas 981, WheninRome, Gowrie Gal, where4art, Shotput8, tapestry, Texknight, Assaf, Shockwave, FiredUpInCA, CwV, P Carey, fugwb, ColoTim, tytalus, Panacea Paola, CA ridebalanced, ybruti, pittie70, serendipityisabitch, Penny GC, bibble, Joe Bob, zukesgirl64, doroma, LaFeminista, lostinamerica, MartyM, Joy of Fishes, Bronx59, Caneel, mdmslle, FindingMyVoice, RandomNonviolence, alrdouglas, BeerNotWar, terrybuck, indubitably, saluda, BalanceSeeker, Empower Ink, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, hester, RJDixon74135, uciguy30, unfangus, porchdog1961, bartcopfan, indie17, cybersaur, markdd, skohayes, Statusquomustgo, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BusyinCA, Dallasdoc, environmentalist, ArchTeryx, PeterHug, JayBat, Brecht, roses, flitedocnm, Simplify, annan, Vatexia, kerflooey, skybluewater, implicate order, wintergreen8694, GrannyOPhilly, Duct Idaho Palin, surfbird007, antooo, zerelda, RUNDOWN, 1BQ, rapala, triplepoint, northsylvania, Wreck Smurfy, FoundingFatherDAR, Ginny in CO, most peculiar mama, cosette, Dem Beans, ichibon, brentbent, Brooke In Seattle, radical simplicity, ER Doc, patbahn, BachFan, monkeybrainpolitics, Naniboujou, wozzlecat, jayden, cyncynical, leeleedee, lissablack, doingbusinessas, Joieau, Constantly Amazed, pvasileff, Ricochet67, cwsmoke, eeff, Mathazar, bepanda, politik, Ekaterin, Sixty Something, elginblt, Blue Bell Bookworm, deha, jennifree2bme, guyeda, psnyder, rogerdaddy, ChocolateChris, Puddytat, No one gets out alive, tejanablue, Fresno, nsfbr, oldliberal, middleagedhousewife, VTCC73, Pluto, splashy, Troubadour, McGahee220, tgypsy, kurt, chantedor, Sharoney, ridemybike, 417els, This old man, Flying Goat, Chaddiwicker, Actbriniel, DRo, madhaus, AllisonInSeattle, samoashark, SaraBeth, molunkusmol, Tinfoil Hat, third Party please, nhox42, marina, missLotus, JayRaye, jnhobbs, Eric Twocents, gulfgal98, pioneer111, Marko the Werelynx, ATFILLINOIS, gypsytoo, Hubbard Squash, stevenwag, MA Liberal, createpeace, gramofsam1, Cronesense, jguzman17, Empty Vessel, SGWM, Thinking Fella, Damnit Janet, Oh Mary Oh, orlbucfan, TheDuckManCometh, Tennessee Dave, ladybug53, Renee, SadieSue, ciganka

    is not a hotbed of radical activism.

    Beggs is a small community buried deep in rural Oklahoma. They would not be insulted if I described the populations as being dyed as deep a red as the soil they work for a living.

    Yet even here they recognize the dangers. Even in this Republican stronghold they will put their hands in their pockets to protect the children.

    The Oklahoma legislature is so ridden with idealogical halfwits, that they can't even recognize the needs of the people of Beggs.

    One day, I hope they are made to pay for that.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Fri May 24, 2013 at 02:32:47 AM PDT

  •  A friendly critique: (21+ / 0-)

    This is an important diary that makes an important point, but the important point gets really lost in a lot of prefatory text.  I had to go 2/3 the way down the diary to get to its real meat.

    I would suggest considering revising to bring the most important point to the fore, and republishing.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:23:57 AM PDT

  •  There is no wrath to compare to one that a Brit (9+ / 0-)

    can muster.

    Thanks, Twigg.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:24:21 AM PDT

    •  It pains me to write about (12+ / 0-)

      Oklahoma like this.

      In this matter, the whole state is united. Those national headlines are the reality we live with, and making sensible arrangements would have support across the political spectrum, from the Tea Party to the Oklahoma Communist Party .... all would agree.

      Well all except the State Legislature, apparently.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Fri May 24, 2013 at 10:36:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Moore safe rooms (9+ / 0-)
        5/21/13.....The city (Moore) has also aggressively promoted the construction of safe rooms and other measures, with more than $12 million from state and federal emergency management funds to subsidize safe-room construction by offering a $2,000 rebate, said Albert Ashwood, the director of the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management. Still, he said, it has been several years since Moore has received new financing for the program.

        About a year and a half ago, Mr. McCarty, the builder, spoke to a group of Oklahoma legislators who were considering mandating shelters for new homes, he recalled. But no legislation was proposed, he said, because of the bad economy. A small, prefabricated sunken shelter can cost $4,000, he said, and “mandating another three or four thousand dollars on every new home can really add up when you’re trying to keep houses affordable.”

        ...But asked whether the government should require safe rooms in homes, he said, “Most homebuilders would be against that because we think the market ought to drive what people are putting in the houses, not the government.”


        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

        by MartyM on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:03:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you. (9+ / 0-)

          The figures quoted above are wildly wrong too.

          The $4000 cost is to retro-fit an in-ground shelter.

          Adding a safe room to a property under construction would likely add no more than a few hundred dollars to the build cost.

          The bit you bolded at the bottom is the story.

          "Fuckwits" is way too kind a description of these people.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:17:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That depends on if (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            twigg, commonmass, cosette, kurt, MartyM

            you need that room to get you through an F-5 tornado (which is basically like being run over be a mountain sized bulldozer, as one of the WPOR weather guys put it).
            They were talking about this on the radio yesterday, and prices ranged from $3000 for an aboveground safe room able to withstand an F-5 to $7000 for an underground shelter.
            I read an article the other day that said FEMA subsidized 10,000 shelters after the 2003 tornado. Then they ran out of money, and that was it.

            “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

            by skohayes on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:51:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They are all retro-fit shelters. (10+ / 0-)

              Some are steel boxes bolted to the slab, others are fiberglass shells buried in the yard.

              When you are building a new home, instead of building your walk-in closet with 4" sheetrock walls, you build it with 8" concrete walls and roof, tied in to the slab with rebar.

              The only cost is the concrete and steel, both of which are cheap.

              Cost is not what prevents this being mandated, it is the belief that the "market" should be leading the demand.

              The problem with this is simply that people buy homes that are already built, they do not often get in at the design stage.

              I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
              but I fear we will remain Democrats.

              Who is twigg?

              by twigg on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:58:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's like the seat belt and airbag arguments. (10+ / 0-)

                People argued for years that the market would provide seat belts and airbags.  Customers could buy them if they wanted them.

                Seat belts were widely available as options going all the way back into the 1950s.  But they were not widely installed because most people don't buy a car thinking they are going to wreck it.

                Once government made seat belts, and then airbags, mandatory, highway deaths fell dramatically.  

                The "availability" of something doesn't change realities.  Only when the government provides uniform rules and regulations can we change things.  

                People are not making a "market choice" when they buy a house without a storm shelter / basement.  They buy them because that's all builders will building because builders are both greedy and lazy. They want to put up houses for maximum profit in the quickest time possible.  

                If government were to raise the standards and mandate shelters, things would change.  As long as people hate the government, people are going to keep dying like this. Sacrificing their children.

                "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

                by YucatanMan on Fri May 24, 2013 at 01:22:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  There just couldn't be an (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, skohayes

         "Oklahoma Communist Party",  not in the most rabidly red/radical GOPer state in the Union. A 'National Socialist Oklahoman Workers' Party' I could surely see lurking in the woodwork though.

        "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans!!. . Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

        by Bluefin on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:23:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, there is (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skohayes, blueoasis, orlbucfan

          They have even posted here on Daily Kos.

          They are findable via the Google :)

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:25:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I actually met two of those guys (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg, blueoasis

          at the 2011 Netroots Nation. They were young, smart guys.

          “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

          by skohayes on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:53:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Have to be DHS cointel looking for lefty (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            twigg

            Okie DFH's (surely a very rare species). Can't be bothered with the hordes of RWNJ's roaming the tundra.

            "Double, double, toile and trouble; Fire burne, and Cauldron bubble... By the pricking of my Thumbes, Something wicked this way comes": Republicans!!. . Willkommen im Vierten Reich! Sie haben keine Bedeutung mehr.

            by Bluefin on Fri May 24, 2013 at 02:17:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My hub worked at (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          twigg

          an electronics company making emergency radios for the USAF (government contract) years ago, had to join the UAW in order to get the job. Why the UAW was representing the workers I never did figure out, but it was. He worked there for maybe a year.

          Up until his last parent died a couple of years ago, they still got the Socialist Worker magazine - a leftover from the early days of unionization in America. Oklahoma is "right to work," but there are unions and union members. Remember PATCO?

  •  An employee at my company (22+ / 0-)

    broke both his arms while assisting in rescue of children in a school.

    He made our internal news, and I know that he's got health insurance, and that his job doesn't require functional arms, probably (I think he can do most of it with a headset and hunt/peck on a computer) and even if it did, we have a sick leave policy that isn't evil.  

    He's a hero, yes but he's damn lucky he isn't working a minimum wage job with no benefits.  Or unemployed.  Or in a place where he'd lose his job if he was suddenly unable to work, unlike his actual job.

    The only recognition he got for the chances he took (he's not a trained rescue worker, he's just an ordinary cubicle-dweller) was in our internal mail.

    Sadly, given where he lives he is almost certainly the kind of person who votes for low taxes and no state government services.    We have a saying in IT that it's better not to need a hero than to be a hero.  I'm glad he was out there trying to make up for the fact that the state and city he lived in let down those children, but I'm sorry that the kids needed somebody like him to dig them out.

  •  tipped recced and republished to state and loca (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, skohayes, meralda

    action group.

    Thanks for this.

  •  Journalism died in Okla long, long ago (8+ / 0-)

    Our meteorologists totally rock, but the state is entirely colonized and, worse, 20-30 years after the oil industry moved to Houston, still run by oilmen. This place is, imo, Ground Zero for so, so much, but railing at local journalism isn't going to accomplish much because of the overwhelming influences of the oil industry and because the minds of so many people are---well, colonized.

    The real meat, the good stuff, in Oklahoma isn't covered on the news. My own feelings are, rather than placing my energy where it will do no good (i.e., our ridiculous journalists who are busy hobnobbing with the likes of Bartlett who is nothing more than an heir of Big Oil and a former party boy), I place it where it will work, ie, Idle No More's many local participants, Kerr Center for Sustainable Ag, Mvscogee Food Sovereignty, etc.

    I totally agree ... but there are ways to start undermining it. As long as TPTB, including journalists, are hobnobbing with the big money, though, the greatest effects will happen undercover.

    Keep your chin up. They say the greatest evolution occurs on the margins, and I think there's more than a little truth to that.

    •  I blame myself, and I'm committed to changing (9+ / 0-)

      myself. Okay, I'm off to a pretty slow start, but after years and years of exclusively focusing my attention on US domestic and foreign policy, I'm reading the local newspaper and posting on its website with a handful of like-minded liberals and a whole lotta' others. And, I'm finally learning about how our local government is structured. (None too soon, I admit, after living here more than 60 years.) I've even joined the local Democratic party folks, but I've yet to make one of their regular meetings.

      Puddytat and other Kossacks in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Florida have inspired me, but the heavy-handed way the city council snatched the trash pickup system away from the great company that's handled it (close to perfectly) for the last 30 years brought it home to me. The contract was handed over to a group of insiders, the rates have gone way up, and the service way down. The city borrowed $15 million to buy two trash containers for everyone! The whole thing smelled like outright thievery to me, but I'm embarrassed that it took something like that to make me a better citizen of my city.

      One other thing that motivated me to pay more attention to local politics is my abject fear of the so-called religious right having any so much power in our government at the national level. If we're going to replace them, we're going to have to run credible candidates for state- and city-level offices, build their experience and name recognition, and get them ready. That's what the religious right began doing very deliberately in early 90s. Anyone who hasn't read this article from Playboy in 1993 and archived online at TheocracyWatch should do so  today: With God as their Co-Pilot.

      A snip:

      Although most Americans first noticed that a strangely authoritarian tone had reentered the nation's politics during the Republican convention in Houston last August, local Republican politicos in certain key states began to realize that their party was being taken over as early as the spring of 1992.

      For example, when the upright Republicans of suburban San Antonio, Texas got together to choose the delegates they would send to the 1992 Republican National Convention, they probably expected the usual staid and utterly predictable proceedings.  They had gone to sleep that beautiful spring night of the Texas presidential primary confident that all was well in their neat little world.  And why not?  Their president, the quintessential country-club Republican George Bush, had wupped Pat Buchanan badly and that was the end, wasn't it?

      Well, not quite.  At the delegate selection meetings, the party regulars began to notice a lot of unfamiliar faces. After that, it took only a few hours for the new activists of the Christian right to blow away the country-club GOP in that part of Texas.  With laser-beam precision, they elected new chairmen and passed resolutions against abortion, sex education, AIDS education and gay rights, and for the abolition of the National Endowment for the Arts.

      Here in Oklahoma, that's where we need to get busy.
      •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg, RJDixon74135, Puddytat

        Community NAACPs, John Hope Franklin Center, Bob Waldrop, on and on and on and on---even some of those walking on the fringes of local power brokers (almost all of whom come from money tinged with oil) are sympathetic and very frustrated---there are potential allies all over the state.

        The populus is so brainwashed (for lack of a better term), however, and TPTB have so much power and so much money that direct assaults are quickly knocked off. The key, I finally decided, is to go underground and gird those constituents with whom I share sentiments.

        I've been to some of the parties and get-togethers where influence is being peddled, and I've seen firsthand what really goes on here. And, unless you're a billionaire---well, okay, maybe a millionaire---and can present credible financial threat, you're out of luck.

        So gird the underground and go from there.

        Oh, and take back the schools!

        •  Also, this from another articled archived at (8+ / 0-)

          Theocracy Watch, this one from The Nation in 1993

          "They have acquired a very detailed and accurate understanding of how political parties are organized," says Craig Berkman, former chairman of the Republican Party in Oregon:

          Parties are very susceptible to being taken over by ideologues because lower party offices have no appeal to the vast majority of our citizenry. Many precincts are represented by no one. If you decide all of a sudden because it's your Christian duty to become a precinct representative, you only need a few votes to get elected. Increasingly, they have the key say so on who will be a delegate at the national convention, and who will write the party platform and nominate the presidential candidate. In a state like Oregon, with 600,000 registered Republicans, it is possible for 2000 or 3000 people to control the state party apparatus. If they are outvoted by one or two votes, parliamentary manipulations begin, and after two or three hours of discussion about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, the more reasonable people with other things to do leave, and in the wee hours of the morning, things are decided. That's how they achieve their objectives.

          I don't think we need to fight with other Dems like the Republicans are fighting with each other, but we do need to be armed to do whatever needs to be done. We need to acquire that detailed knowledge of how our local government works and be willing attend precinct meetings and to stay awake as long as necessary.
          •  Yes. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RJDixon74135, Puddytat, twigg

            Excellent, excellent quote.

            Sad but true, but one person said to me that, soon enough, all the toxic old people here would die and we could have the state back. That was before the Texans got here, however, and the fight for water in the state got started. So TPTB may be getting old and starting to fade, but they've got reinforcements. If we can take over from the ground up, though, we have a chance.

            The good stuff here isn't in Utica Square or Nichols Hills, or flying their private jet to football games with multimillionaire coaches.

      •  It's a rude awakening, isn't it (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        417els, twigg, indubitably

        The realities of how pay to play really works to get elected officials to reward the "investment" of campaign contributions.  And the "you scratch my back and I'll get yours" way of getting special things passed or added to ordinences or bills will make you reach for your barf bag over and over again.

        I think this is why people are so surprised at the rampant corruption of the system when it gets exposed - they haven't really seen it in operation day after day and getting worse until someone gets caught and goes to jail.  But the cloud covers the good and bad with voters throwing up their hands and declaring that the whole system is broke or getting so frustrated that they can't see how their input and their vote and their calls are important to change things.  They just tune out and watch Dancing with the Stars.

        At the end of the movie, The American President, a speech is given and the end, the part about America not being easy, should be viewed by everyone:

        It defines what's required of citizens in my opinion.

        There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

        by Puddytat on Fri May 24, 2013 at 08:16:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  What is a "colonized" mind? Is it the same as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      indubitably

      a "radicalized" mind?

      Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

      by hestal on Fri May 24, 2013 at 01:53:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why did the schools collapse? Not enough (11+ / 0-)

    prayers to hold up the walls I guess.

    That said, we are left wondering: did God save the puppy and kill the children, or did God save the puppy but let the children die, or did God just sit back and watch the tornado on the news like the rest of us?

    Now these are important questions going forward considering we have to know to what degree praying will help us contend with climate change.

    If the government can waste money on ice core samples and other boondoggle climate 'science', surely it can afford to spend money on the really important question - what is the power of prayer?

    Is it just strong enough to save a puppy, but not strong enough to protect a school filled with children?

    We must demand answers!

    /snark

    But in all seriousness, listening to these people talk about God, then having the news anchors falling all over themselves to follow suit drives me insane. It's enough to make me think humanity, facing ever greater threats, is sliding back into the comforting arms of mysticism to deal with the fear of the new-age unknown.

    Which I guess makes sense considering we'll be huddling in caves to survive soon enough.

    Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.
    (Facts brought to you by the Party of the Future - the GOP)

    by Pescadero Bill on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:26:18 PM PDT

  •  Did you hear Wolf Blitzer (5+ / 0-)

    ask that woman on TV if she "thanked the Lord" and she told him she was an atheist?

    I knew from seeing that that there is always a spark of hope, even in a red state like Oklahoma.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Fri May 24, 2013 at 12:57:28 PM PDT

  •  magnitude of the task (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, blueoasis, RUNDOWN, briefer, orlbucfan

    As you illustrate with the Beggs Event Center, designing to an EF-5 can be done. New ground-up construction of a windowless concrete dome certainly makes that a lot easier.

    People pose the question of Well why didn't they build it to resist an EF5?!?! and I'm not sure they appreciate what they are asking for. The fact that structures, or even parts of structures, aren't routinely built to this standard in vulnerable areas isn't run-of-the-mill fecklessness. Trying to achieve that is a really big deal.

    To give you a sense of scale, here are some relationships between 'regular' buildings and tornado-resistant ones:

    Basic code compliant building: 90mph design wind speed = 20 pounds/square foot wind pressure

    EF3 tornado: 150mph wind speed = 58 pounds/square foot

    EF4 tornado: 200 mph wind speed = 102 pounds/square foot

    1999 Moore EF5 tornado: 302 mph wind speed = 233 pounds/square foot

    The point I’m trying to get across is we aren’t talking about modest, common-sense upgrades to the building codes. It’s increasing the lateral resistance of buildings by 300% to 1000%. If you wanted to have whole structures that were resistant to an EF3, that’s certainly do-able. It’s roughly equivalent to new hurricane-resistant construction around the Gulf Coast and Florida, and it definitely includes a cost.

    For an EF4 or EF5? You’re basically building reinforced concrete bomb shelters. Is putting one of those in every building a rational risk management response? I don’t really know. If you wanted one in every school that could hold a couple hundred people, each is easily a $300,000 project.  

    Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

    by Joe Bob on Fri May 24, 2013 at 01:23:34 PM PDT

    •  The 300k figure (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RUNDOWN

      is rather higher than numbers I have heard for incorporation at build time ... It may be accurate for retro-fitting though.

      Even so, as a proportion of the cost of a new school, it is quite a small item, especially if there are Federal funds to help defray the cost.

      I agree, you are building a bomb shelter, but it's concrete and rebar, and you have to build walls and ceilings for hallways anyway.

      Many schools have long stretches of hallway that are already door and windowless, as they tend to group the doors in fours at opposite ends of classrooms ... strengthening the intermediate areas is really not that hard.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Fri May 24, 2013 at 01:35:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  $300,000.? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg

      That is a very cheap price to pay for children's lives.

      Just do it!

      In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

      by Sixty Something on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:17:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They shall scold you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    And tell you that tragedy is "gods will", and nothing you can do will guarantee 100% safety or success.

    So just do nothing, report "feel good" stories about heroic legislators saving as much money as possible while consuming hours of news time blathering about budget offsets ... and pray.

    Conservatism is an obsession with the past ... with little regard for the future.

    by RUNDOWN on Fri May 24, 2013 at 02:23:58 PM PDT

  •  So, I think it was Anderson Cooper who (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, Damnit Janet, wayoutinthestix

    interviewed one of the teachers and her husband who was at one of the schools and survived.

    I was gobsmacked to hear their story...

    The two were recounting how she was talking to her husband before the tornado hit on her cell phone and asked him if he thought that a storage closet next to the bathroom would be a safe place for her and the kids she was trying to get to a safe place.

    So, that doesn't sound like a totally strange conversation given the circumstances, but it seemed like she was not given a real plan.  Cooper didn't say, "Hey, wait, weren't their designated tornado safe areas in the school?  Why did you need to ask your husband?"

    Anyway, that story totally stood out for me.  

  •  So, for a State that won't pay a living wage to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    its teachers, and whose schools are crumbling and in general disrepair, and where teachers have to buy their own supplies, we are going to find the $$$ to retrofit 2000 Oklahoma public schools to withstand EF5 tornadoes, sufficient to protect 600,000 students?

    IF anyone, State or Federal, would come up with this many $Millions to pump into Oklahoma schools, as an Okie, I would vote to put it towards teacher pay and general building upkeep - not retrofitting for the ultra-rare EF5 tornado.

    "You can never sink so low in life that you can't be a bad example for somebody." - my dad

    by briefer on Fri May 24, 2013 at 03:41:05 PM PDT

    •  I would beg to disagree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg

      That kind of money it would take to provide safe havens in schools during tornadoes for children is a one time expenditure that will last for many years.

      Do it and be done with it, then take care of the ongoing needs to run school systems and pay teachers what they are worth.

      Will it cost money?  You bet it will.  It just depends on what a state/city/community decides their children are worth.

      Taxes are NOT sacred.  Raise them for heaven sake.

      In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

      by Sixty Something on Fri May 24, 2013 at 07:25:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      briefer

      But I think there are sufficient resources to do both.

      It's a matter of priorities, and in one of the richest states in the country in terms of natural resources, we are squandering them on private profits.

      We are sitting on hundreds of years worth of oil and natural gas. We have endless sunshine, and plenty of wind power yet we never have the money for any but the wealthiest.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:49:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but you know as well as I that NEITHER is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg

        going to get done. And if someone proposes pumping $Millions into Oklahoma schools for any reason, the priority should be teachers and basic infrastructure - not risk managing for Armageddon.

        Certainly, if new schools are built in Oklahoma (!!) it would be reasonable to make portions of the school hardened for tornadoes. But to diss Oklahoma, in general, for not retrofitting 2000 existing public schools is just foolish.

        "You can never sink so low in life that you can't be a bad example for somebody." - my dad

        by briefer on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:55:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Not all the children died in the schools (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN, twigg

    Seven third-graders died in their classroom, out of hundreds of children in the two schools.

    Two little ones, age 4 and 7 months, were at home with their mom and grandma, and got blown away. (CNN had an interview with dad who wasn't there at the time.) Apparently wherever they were in the house wasn't strong enough to withstand EF5. And one infant and its mother died in the 7-11, even though they went into the freezer hoping that would act like a safe room.

    Overall it's amazing to me that so few people died, given the extent of damage to buildings.

  •  Would one of the alternative newspapers, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    assuming you have them there in OK, where presumably all the leaders are OK, cover these stories in this manner?

    Or, you think there's a market for a decent blog paper that does? Presumably you would either need non-local advertising, donated subscriptions, and/or outright donations from (all the numerous, large) left-wing groups there in OK? May have to have free journalism or a workers co-op that agrees to subsist by dividing whatever net surplus there is after the bills are paid?

    Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Sat May 25, 2013 at 06:03:01 AM PDT

    •  There are plenty of Blogs, etc. (0+ / 0-)

      Indeed, Daily Kos is reachable in Oklahoma, and it is where I choose to write.

      This Diary will be forwarded to NewsOn6 ... hopefully it will just be a little "prod" in the right direction.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:52:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You answered your own question... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg, Damnit Janet, wayoutinthestix
    constrained from making any real efforts to either investigate issues thoroughly, or add any form of editorial view.
    Local news stations, pretty much all of them, are run by corporations. Those corporations ensure that the news covers anything that bleeds, gets blown down (or blown up), lost kitties, and the dregs of humanity. It's all about ratings.

    It's also about keeping people ignorant of what is going on around them. it's how the Kochs and other monied interests get to do what they do. While the TV Team is covering a drug bust, or car chase, or little boy reunited with his lost puppy, the Kochs are writing legislation to take over the nation, state by state.

    You mention the weather alerts on your TV are annoying. You know what is more annoying? The corporation takeover of our National Weather Service. Corporately funded The Weather Channel (which also bought Weather Underground) is our future. It is privatization of departments whose existence is for the public good. Sure, your local weather might have been better than those alerts, but they got much of their info from PUBLIC satellites. But not for long.

    As we "starve the beast", our satellites get older (hey, let private companies put their own orbs in space! Why should WE pay for it?). Further, departments like the weather service, FEMA and more will lack fund, Republicans and TeaBaggers (and Libertarians) will tell us the private sector can do better, and Americans will nod their heads in agreement.

    We have reached the point where we live under mostly fascist rule - the corporations run things. That there is anything like "We The People" is now a joke.

    Final note: my brother is one of those TV news anchors you see. he's been at it for a good long time (he just turned 60). Over the years he's seen budget cuts, corporate takeovers (he just went through another one) and the dumbing down of the news. He still does it, but he hates it.He grew up reading every news magazine that came into the house (and we had them all), watching every newscast every night and reading newspapers. He can write circles around anyone (and I mean anyone) and has nine Emmy awards, an Edward R. Murrow and an Iris. And yet he is stuck in a right wing Northwestern state, slaving for the corporate ownership - who have now demanded that ALL on-air personnel use Twitter, and who monitor those Tweets to ensure they don't go against company policy...and they are very right wing).

    If we really want news, to be informed, to be challenged to think and to challenge those in power, we need a free press. We need to break up the media monopolies.

    But people don't care enough.

    You're right. Journalism is dead. But it's not just in OK, it's everywhere (except for Amy Goodman, Bill Moyers and a few others).

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sat May 25, 2013 at 06:41:56 AM PDT

    •  Good points (0+ / 0-)

      NewsO6 is owned by Griffin Communications. They are a relatively small independent media company, one of the few remaining.

      I looked very hard to find political contributions by both the company and it's owners, and found very little or I would have included it in the Diary.

      What little I did find was suggested that the company contributions were small, and most went to Democrats.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Sat May 25, 2013 at 07:55:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They may be one of the good ones... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg

        in terms of their size and who they support. But they still ascribe to the "if it bleeds it leads" phenomenon - it's pervasive in the industry.
        My brother's previous owner was a little more of that bent. Now they've been bought by Sinclair. Probably going to slash staff, ad fancy graphics and ensure no real news is reported.
        Most of our media is owned by 5 corporations. Until that changes, real news won't be televised.

        Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

        by MA Liberal on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:55:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

          That is why everyone involved in this story is getting a copy of the Diary ... with a covering note.

          I want to encourage them to be better, not simply criticize.

          I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
          but I fear we will remain Democrats.

          Who is twigg?

          by twigg on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:00:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Take a look at their senators (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    and then you can really recognize halfwits or less.  

  •  Drills? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    twigg

    Just last week my daughters college did a did for if there was a shooter in the building.  

    When the did fire drills - the knew exactly where they were supposed to meet up at.  

    I always assumes that the people living in "Tornado Alley" had fire alarms as well as tornado drills.

    Guess they are too busy with transvaginal wand bills and attacking women's rights and being stocking up for the rapture?

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:55:42 AM PDT

    •  sorry for the types... cat helping me type... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      twigg

      "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

      by Damnit Janet on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:56:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The schools have plans and drills (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Damnit Janet

      As we saw in Moore, the schools know exactly what to do, and they do it very well.

      It is not the fault of the schools that their buildings fail, that is the fault of the politicians who refuse to mandate higher standards.

      I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
      but I fear we will remain Democrats.

      Who is twigg?

      by twigg on Sat May 25, 2013 at 08:58:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah got it :) Thanks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        twigg

        But we've known for some time that politicians, especially the Rs don't give a crap about high standards or our children.

        Thank you for the diary and info.

        "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

        by Damnit Janet on Sat May 25, 2013 at 09:02:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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