Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Infant Mortality

Since Oklahoma is in the Bible Belt and since most folks around here profess great love for the unborn, you would think that we would have enormous concern and compassion for the going-to-be and newly born babies of our state. It is pathetic that our infant mortality is so atrocious. Not even at the level of so-called developed nations.

It's time that people put their piety into action, and not in the tsk-tsk-tsking form that it usually takes.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Rough Winter?

I noticed that the squirrels have been extra busy this year. My driveway is, as usual this time of year, littered with pecans. The big difference I have noticed this time is that all of them have been chewed by those cute little rats with fluffy tails. The squirrels are packing it in.

My mother reports similar observations with her Norman-based squirrels.

Do they know something we don't?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Do We Claim These Guys?

The Los Angeles Times is among many news organizations talking about the unqualified resumes of the leaders of FEMA, and unfortunately, about their Oklahoma ties:

"Both Allbaugh and Brown were Oklahoma natives involved in that state's Republican politics. FEMA's acting deputy chief of staff, Brooks Altshuler, also hails from Oklahoma."

Did any of these guys have anything to do with the response to the Murrah bombing? To the May 3rd tornadoes?

And now Time Magazine reports that Michael Brown appears to have padded his resume.

We are a state that has done disaster management, and, despite some problems, has done it pretty well. I hate any implication that incompetence in FEMA may be linked to being from Oklahoma.

I lived in California for a while and was shocked to hear it then. I can certainly hear Californians (and, I fear, others) now..."Dumb Okies!"

I know, this is a cras and paranoid concern at a time of national disaster. But I much prefer Frank Keating as the face of Oklahoma disaster response to Brown and Allbaugh. Any way we can disown them?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Anyone else feel like a vulture?

I am alone in this or were other people disgusted by the report in today's Oklahoman that the Ford Center may become temporary home to the New Orleans Hornets? The article says,

If the Hornets were to relocate to the Ford Center (capacity 18,567), even on a temporary basis, it would give Oklahoma City a unique opportunity to evaluate the feasibility of a major-pro franchise existing locally - and at no financial risk.

"We would get a chance to look at something we've always wanted to get a look at," said Tim Brasfield, president of the All Sports Association.

Nine potential conflicts exist because the Oklahoma City Blazers 2005-2006 hockey schedule already has been set. The Blazers are the Ford Center's primary tenant, but would agree to play in the myriad when there is a conflict.

It was quite a stunner to read such a mercenary-sounding article after just reading that the Astrodome is full, and more housing is needed for Hurricane Katrina's refugees. I had had hopes that our city would once again demonstrate the "Oklahoma Standard" and offer the Ford Center.

Don't you think the Blazers might be willing to move to the Myriad for devastated storm refugees, too?

The Oklahoman Disappoints

Today's editorials in The Oklahoman demonstrate an inexcusable attitude toward disaster relief efforts. To say that the response is just right, that some people may die, but in time the rest will be fine, we don't need to see any errors, improve any process, is infuriating.

I have been a disaster responder in several situations, including to the World Trade Center. One of the most important aspects of any disaster response is to notice and learn from mistakes so that the next response will be better. And there are always mistakes. When babies and old people are dying in New Orleans of dehydration and starvation and lack of basic care, that isn't good enough of a response. When people in Mississippi go for days and days without seeing a single soul there to help, that is not good enough.

One of the biggest hindrances to improving disaster response here in Oklahoma is the belief that we did just fine, just great with the response to the federal building bombing. That, too, was a bungled job in many respects, but it was a relatively small disaster, at least compared to 9/11 and Katrina. To have seen the errors and yet feel resistance to improvement because of the mistaken belief by policymakers and the public that there is no need to do better is infuriating and frustrating and maddening. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but only if you look.

The Oklahoman's comments seem a veiled apology for the government's inadequate action. What are a few lives here and there? In time, people will move on, they say. Well, you can say the same about the plague.

Anybody think we are ready for the plague here? A dirty bomb? A big anthrax or smallpox attack? If you do, just keep burying your head in the sand. We aren't ready for any of it.

"So far, so good"? So far, not nearly good enough.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Comment Spam

I have been really, really, really bad about posting anything on this site. I dropped by to see if anyone had visited and found the comment spam on my post about the trees. Hm... I guess the contagion was bound to spread to blogs. Any idea how to get rid of it?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Water the Trees!

One thing that just boggles my mind is how local and state government and various civic organizations can spend hundreds of dollars to plant trees, and then let them die for lack of water. Does this make any sense at all?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Farmer's Markets

Ceres from The Joker's Wife is asking for tips on the best OKC-area farmer's markets. Anyone with any suggestions? I'm sorry to say I've never been to one.

Here's the website for the OSU-OKC Farmers Market. Isn't there one in an old building on the southwest side of downtown, too? Just south of I-40?

And, as a new tomato farmer, I need to know how long to leave the dang things on the vine. Are they supposed to be completely ripe before you pick them?